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Glenafooka: Glen of the Ghost
A Film by Mary Sue Connolly
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film stillThis enchanting video examines the persistence in rural Ireland today of ancient beliefs in otherworld spirits, including fairies, ghosts, banshees and other supernatural forces.

We learn of the pantheon of pagan spirits who comprise the Fairly Kingdom of the Tuatha DeDannan, the folk traditions and superstitions (including cures and curses) still honored today, spooky accounts of encounters with the banshee (a ghostly female harbinger of death), how some pre-Christian figures have been adopted by the Catholic Church (including St. Brigid, a pagan goddess of spring), and key holidays in the pagan calendar, such as Beltaine (the Eve of Witchery) and Samhain (an old Celtic festival of the spirits that we observe as Halloween).

film still

The video blends poetic black-and-white and color imagery of rural Ireland with interviews with writers, historians, folklore scholars, members of the Catholic clergy, and elderly residents of County Waterford, whose comments reveal how such folklore helps to explain the often mysterious ways of the world and is thus deserving of greater understanding and respect.

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"Marvelous and moody… a rich film that brings out Irish beliefs in a visceral way. As an educational resource its strong point is the way that it demonstrates how religious belief is experiential rather than systematic."-Alexander Soucy, Studies in Religion

"An amusing, quirky, totally unselfconscious look at the folklore of the people of Ireland… an enchanting glimpse of Irish rural society. Highly Recommended."—Susanne Boatright, Educational Media Reviews Online

"Remarkable! Carefully reveals the intricately woven folk traditions and beliefs of rural Ireland and provides insight into how these traditions influence the daily lives of the people who preserve their memories. The powerful imagery portrayed throughout the film allows the viewer to encounter the hauntingly beautiful and mysterious landscape in which the fairies, or ghosts, continue to live today."—De Danann

"A highly impressionistic ramble through fairy lore, piseogs, curses, ghosts, and all those things supposedly banished by rural electrification… The Irish countryside can still be a very spooky place and Glenafooka's visually accentuated every lonely and curious aspect of it."—The Irish Business Post

"A delightful video…Most often we think of videos as a means of entertainment, but teachers know that videos, especially documentaries, can both entertain and educate. This video does both."—Judith Kappenman, SSJ, Catholic Library World

Bronze Award, Houston WorldFest

53 minutes / Color
Release: 2006
Copyright: 2000

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Anthropology, Christianity, Ireland, Nature, Religion

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