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Picture perfect on Damian’s big night

Producer/director and writer Damian O’Callaghan (right) with Tim O’Connor, who played a Garda, in the film pictured at the premiere in a post posted online by Cinema Killarney

MOVIE magic was conjured up on Wednesday night as a packed Cinema Killarney hosted the world premiere of a fast-paced, engaging and often hilarious comedy drama that was filmed entirely in and around the town.

The full-length feature film Tradition, the work of local producer, director and writer Damian O’Callaghan, with Claire Corrigan, showcased Killarney at its breathtaking best with stunning footage of several local landmarks and a wonderful cast of Kerry performers.

They got to share the screen with household name personalities, including funny man Brendan Grace and GAA broadcasters Marty Morrissey and Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh.

The plot is centered on a legal dispute following a rigged club championship match and the alleged involvement of the referee in some shenanigans but a delay in the matter coming before the courts – the said match official was somewhat evasive – saw several other cases heard in Killarney Courthouse, some with hilarious storylines and punchlines.

Paul Ronan, Saoirse’s dad, is outstanding in the full-on lead role of Judge Seamus Moynihan – on his last day on the bench before retirement – with veteran actor Pascal Scott a convincing Garda inspector and James Daly, from Killarney, an absolute revelation in the role of the stressed and overworked defence counsel with a fondness for the hard stuff.

Full house: Cinema Killarney shared this audience snapshot on line

Other big performances are delivered by Brian Harty who plays the somewhat erratic but hilarious court clerk, Laura Reidy as the diligent legal eagle and Rob Moran as the local sergeant while the antics of boys in blue Tim O’Connor and Owen Roberts would put the Keystone Cops to shame.

Numerous locals also got to make their film debuts and, for Killarney audiences in particular, it is great fun spotting familiar faces in the courtroom, the people that you meet when you’re walking down the street coming to life on the big screen.

Among those featured are Mike Sheehan from Fossa who plays the no nonsense publican, Michael O’Mahony from Rathmore whose role was rib-tickling, Patrick star Brian Hickey as the traffic warden, former Kerry Rose Mary Hickey as one of the court reporters, Killarney singer Grace Foley who is one of the legal team and young Dion Marcus, from Killarney, who is accused of erratic driving at Dalton’s Avenue and gets to deliver possibly the funniest line in the film when asked what gear he was in.

The talented movie man behind the project, Damian O’Callaghan, got a rousing reception as the closing credits rolled and, afterwards, those that attended the premiere enjoyed a VIP after-show party in JM Reidy’s – which also featured in the film – with Killarney’s own Liam O’Connor and New York rock band, The Mad Hannans, providing the entertainment.

The premier was introduced by Kerry Film Festival Artistic Director, Maeve McGrath, and guest speaker, Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Norma Foley, said it is remarkable to think that what started out as a local festival 19 years ago has now become an award-winning international event that receives great acclaim around the world.

“With film and culture in Kerry we are always seeking to be better and to do better and why would we not given that we are a county of story makers and story tellers,” she said.

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