To The Western World

Buy To The Western World on DVDThe travels of John Millington Synge & Jack B. Yeats in the West of Ireland in 1905

TO THE WESTERN WORLD is a dramatised documentary which reconstructs a journey made by two Irishmen across Connemara in 1905. John Millington Synge and Jack B. Yeats were sent by the Manchester Guardian to report on the “Congested Districts”, the barren, over-populated and most poverty-stricken parts of the West of Ireland.

Click here to watch a clip from To The Western World

After their publication, the original articles disappeared into the newspaper archives. This is the first dramatisation of these important writings from one of Ireland’s most influential playwrights. Synge’s best known works include “Playboy of the Western World” and “Riders to the Sea”, plays about Irish peasant life. Jack Yeats was Ireland’s greatest painter and this period produced some of the best examples of his early graphic work, as well as providing a unique record of rural Irish life at the turn of the century.

In the course of their journey, the two men took note of the economic conditions, dress, employment, live-stock, the relief works on the roads and the continuous emigration. Yeats went on to live another fifty years, but Synge died four years later at the age of only 35.  At the time, neither had yet received recognition of their work.

Today Connemara is empty and only ruins remain as evidence of the past population in the wild and beautiful landscape. The film was shot entirely on location in the West of Ireland with Irish actors and local inhabitants of Connemara.

Narrated by John Huston

Written and Directed by Margy Kinmonth

Produced by Brian Harding

Edited by John Fanner

Starring Niall Toibin, Patrick Laffan, Tom Hickey and Brendan Cauldwell

  • Winner European Community Award
  • Nominated Fiction Award Cork Film Festival
  • Shown London Film Festival

Available to buy on DVD

Press Quotes


Sunday Telegraph

Remarkable drama documentary

Sunday Times