St. Joseph’s Presentation Secondary School, Castleisland was one of just six schools in the south of Ireland chosen to take part in the North / South History Initiative late last year.
The initiative is run as part of a joint collaboration between The Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) and the School Development Service (SDS) and in co-operation with the Institute of Art, Design & Technology (IADT) and Armagh Multi Media Access (AMMA).
The project is titled Different Lenses and its focus is Exploring History Narratives on the island of Ireland Through the Medium of Digital Literacy.
It invited the school to explore the history of the local area and find hidden gems which could be re-told through the use of digital media and suitable to produce a short film.
Back in November three teachers, Padraig Kelliher, Noreen O’Shea and Katie O’Reilly travelled to Dublin to learn more about the project and to train in the skills needed to carry out the project.
On their return they brought the project to the second year students and set out on a month of exploration into the different stories and history of the area.
The second year class started investigating many different subjects, to make the short film on, such as, ‘Why the streets are so wide in Castleisland’, ‘The Castle’ and ‘The Railway’.
Focus on Bob Finn
However, they decided to focus on one man in particular. Bob Finn, whose name has been on a plaque on the corner of Church Street for many years, became their centre of attention.
An investigation into his life and times led them to the fascinating tale of a group which originated in Castleisland. The group was known as The Moonlighters and Bob Finn as Captain Moonlight.
The Moonlighters formed in the 1880’s with the aim of putting an end to ‘Land Grabbing’ by the English and their agents in the Castleisland area and to increase the rights and powers of tenant farmers and to diminish that of the landlord.
Many weeks were spent in investigation and preparation for the filming of the story – and the filming took place on February, 15th and 16th.
Fantastic Time Filming
“The students had a fantastic time during the filming of this short story. It was an educational experience not only from a historical point of view but also in the areas of research, film, media, narration and all the different things that go into a production like this,” said teacher Katie O’Reilly.
“These two days were jam packed with costume changes, running around the convent grounds with a shot gun.
As part of an act, and for one scene they even ended up in Scartaglin for filming.
Thanks to those who Helped
“The teachers and students of Presentation Secondary school would like to thank the people of Castleisland for their interest and involvement in this production.
“We would also like to thank the O’Sullivan family in Gortacapall, Scartaglin for the use of their beautiful old style cottage for one of the scenes.
“We would also like to thank the Presentation Sisters in Castleisland for the use of the convent grounds and also The Maine Valley Post for help with research for this project,” said Ms. O’Reilly.
The Moonlighters can be seen with a click on the link here: https://player.vimeo.com/video/211637536
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