The Irish Way of Living and Dying: An interview with Aoife Kelleher

My interview with One Million Dubliners director Aoife Kelleher.

Aoife Kelleher’s debut feature-length documentary, One Million Dubliners, explores life at Glasnevin cemetery – the final resting place of some of Ireland’s greatest modern heroes.

Aoife Kelleher pictured second from left Aoife Kelleher pictured second from left. Picture courtesy of Aoife Kelleher

This wasn’t Aoife’s first time to explore the topic of death. Corrigan’s Funeral Home on Aungier Street was the subject of her first documentary as a film student in DIT.

“I’m sure it sounds incredibly macabre, but I always found that stuff interesting,” she says. “It’s an area that is present for everyone, but not really spoken about.”

Producer Rachel Lysaght – who thought it was interesting that Glasnevin cemetery had its own marketing department – first approached Aoife about the idea of making a film about the site. The two had previously worked on a number of projects together including a short film called Home for the Irish Film Board’s Reality Bites…

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‘One Million Dubliners’ Review

My review of ‘One Million Dubliners’ on Interview with the director, Aoife Kelleher, to follow.

Aoife Kelleher’s One Million Dubliners is a beautiful homage to the people of Glasnevin Cemetery – living and dead.

Resident historian Shane MacThomáis, the obvious star of the show, is our guide throughout the documentary.

With great wit, he tells the stories of Parnell, de Valera, Collins, Markievicz, Behan and the many other 19th and 20th century heroes buried here. He recalls the stories of ordinary Dubliners too, with equal charisma and passion.

There are more people under the ground at Glasnevin than walking the streets of Dublin today. That neat little sum is plugged throughout the film as proof that the cemetery serves as Ireland’s national burial grounds; modern Irish history can be mapped out simply by the names and ailments listed on the death register.

As we quickly learn, Michael Collins’ grave draws the most interest from visitors. He gets flowers for Valentine’s Day (while de…

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