Keepers of the Flame
Keepers of the Flame

#Festival: Dingle International Film Festival 18 to close with world premiere of Keepers of The Flame

The 12th Dingle International Film Festival, in partnership with Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, has announced that their Closing Night film will be the premiere of Keepers of the Flame, marking the feature directorial debut by Emmy Award winner, Nuala O’Connor. The South Wind Blows documentary, written by Diarmaid Ferriter and Nuala O’Connor, will be screened on Sunday, March 25th, 2018. Nuala O’Connor will be joined by cast and crew for a post screening Q&A.

South Wind Blows presents Keepers of the Flame, the new feature-length documentary by Emmy Award winner Nuala O’Connor, in her feature directorial debut. Keepers of the Flame tells the universal story of generations dealing with the consequences of war and civil war; of what is remembered and what is forgotten.

Keepers of the Flame delves into the archives of the Irish Military Service Pensions and what emerges is a truly personal retelling of a brutal and divisive period in the birth of a nation and the devastating legacy it left in its wake, for the individuals who took part and their families who suffered long after the fighting ended. More than 85,000 applied for the Irish Military Service Pension. Just over 18,000 received any payment.

The film brings to light the diverse experiences of some of the 85,000 ordinary Irish men and women who made pension or dependents allowance claims for having actively served during the violent revolutionary period from Easter 1916 to the end of the Civil War in 1921. Their stories lie in the Irish Military Pension Archives, stack upon stack of applications detailing involvement and actions, thousands of different interpretations of the same events lying side by side.

This remarkable documentary looks at the long-term impact of a great reluctance to talk about the events of the period, the lack of desire to relive actions and decisions, and the secrecy and silence that further isolated individuals and families. The film sheds light on the nation’s post-war psyche. Many of these men, women and their families felt that they were effectively abandoned by the state, their service unrecognised and in most cases, refuted. Families and communities torn apart by the Civil War were left destitute. Thousands were coping with physical and mental trauma for the rest of their lives, for which there was little support or understanding, unable to provide for their families or take care of themselves.

Keepers of the Flame examines the Irish journey in search of a collective courage to remember and acknowledge the deeds of the past, recognise the wrongs that were done, realise the context of the events and establish common ground to enable an understanding of who we are as a nation. It reveals just how problematic commemoration and remembrance can be – this is true of all wars but especially civil wars. The story is timely coming as it does in the run up to 100th anniversary of Ireland’s Civil War.

Keepers of the Flame is directed by Nuala O’Connor, from an original concept by Diarmaid Ferriter and written by Diarmaid Ferriter and Nuala O’Connor. Produced by Tina O’Reilly. Executive Producer Philip King. Director of Photography is Colm Hogan, Sound by Bob Brennan and Editor is Eoin McDonagh

Archive readings are performed by Mary Black, Aiden Gillen, Philip King, Aine Lawlor, Eoin McDonagh, Dermot McLoughlin, Aisling Ni Shúilleabháin, Joseph O’Connor, Olivia O’Leary, Iarla O’Lionaird and Marian Richardson. The soundtrack is composed by Colm Mac Con Iomaire. Keepers of the Flames is a South Wind Blows Production, made with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, in association with the Irish Film Board/ Bord Scannáin na hÉireann and RTÉ.

Dingle IFF are honoured to be screening the premiere of this fascinating insight into such an important part of Irish history.  Nuala O’ Connor has always been a great supporter of Dingle IFF, especially with her involvement in our Físín event. We are thrilled to be presenting Nuala’s directorial debut.
Maurice Galway, CEO – Dingle International Film Festival

I feel very honoured and so delighted to have Keepers of the Flame receive its premiere at Dingle International Film Festival, which is very close to my heart. I have lived and worked in the area for the past 20 years. Diarmaid Ferriter’s family roots are deep in West Kerry, which makes this is a huge privilege.
Nuala O’ Connor, Director and Co-Writer – Keepers of the Flame

Dingle International Film Festival is couched within the breathtaking town of Dingle on the beautiful Dingle Peninsula, part of The Wild Atlantic Way. The festival takes places annually in March. Dingle is home to many filmmakers, one of Ireland’s only independent cinemas, is a known film location (Ryan’s Daughter, Far and Away and Star Wars: The Last Jedi) and a major tourist destination making it the perfect home for our festival. Dingle IFF actively promotes and platforms Irish film, Irish filmmakers and Irish animation, whilst also playing host to major industry players both from Ireland and abroad. Dingle IFF is an established date on the film festival circuit and is now actively promoting Irish film and animation products in the world market.

Guests will be greeted with a drink reception, sponsored by Dingle Distillery. They can look forward to Dingle Gin and the famous Dingle Donkey.

Tickets can be purchased at