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.
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
- Dublin Theatre Festival
- Origin 1st Irish Film Festival 2021
Remarkable drama documentary
…There’s no attempt here to romanticize the sometimes poetic, frequently loquacious Irish, no scene that feels manufactured. It’s as if we were observant flies on a backpack…