My film of the year was an easy choice, not only for the film but for the circumstances surrounding the film and where we saw it.
Because of our move to Galway this summer we missed on some holidays and decided to take a few days down in Dingle and west Cork.
On our first night in Dingle we dandered back to the hostel after some food and thought we would get a drink.
In that particular part of the street we where on stood two old looking pubs, one that looking a bit like a local place for local people and another which looked even more so. They both happened to be the types of old pubs that also served/had served as shops.
We decided to risk one and walked into another world, a big counter on one side with some hardware supplies, a snug in the corner and a bar on the other with a few beer taps and none of your fancy craft beers.
As it wasn’t busy we ended up talked a little to the bar man. He mentioned that there was a film showing in the local cinema that featured the pub we where sitting in. And so the next night we found ourselves sitting in the ramshackle cinema in Dingle watching ‘The Irish Pub’
After the film ended we walked a minute up the road and went back to the pub we had been sitting in the night before and had been watching on the big screen. The owner (the first gentleman talking on the Youtube clip) was in the pub and we ended up talking to him about what he had made about the documentary from his point of view, local stories about life in the Dingle and the pub, how the fishing industry was dying, how tourist buses often pass by his pub as it is in the wrong side of town. He proudly displayed a bent iron bar which had been on the pub door the time the ‘Black and Tans’ had rammed the door.
I found the film and experience very melancholic (my new word) and with a strange parallel with churches. Do you keep these places maintained with their traditions and customs, their way of doing things or do you have to move with the times? My experience with church and Christianity was that we should have nothing to do with pubs. I have never set foot in my local pub in Cookstown. Yet as the pub owner and bar man mentioned in Dingle these are often places of community and friendship for people (especially the elderly) who now sit at home by themselves at night as their local pub struggles to make ends meet.
So I found the film sad, yet also beautiful. As it is a documentary the film maker will have put his own slant on things. I’m not sure if the pub owner in was necessarily happy with how things were portrayed. Anyway, that was my film of the year.