Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Seán Crosson
19th International AEDEI Conference: Silences and Inconvenient Truths in Irish Culture and Society
“A self-interested silence”: Silences Identified and Broken in Peter Lennon’s Rocky Road to Dublin (1967)
University of Vigo, Spain
Conference Organising Committee Chairperson
Optional Fields
For much of the twentieth century, Ireland on screen was defined to an overwhelming extent by foreign directors and perspectives. Within the oppressive context of early twentieth Ireland, film was viewed with suspicion by the establishment, evident in the restrictive Censorship of Films Act enacted in 1923, one of the first pieces of legislation passed by the newly independent Dáil Éireann (parliament) of the Irish Free State. As a result, the employment of film as a critical tool to examine Irish society and culture was slow to develop. Rather, film was an important part of the popular cultural context that sustained prevailing conceptions of Irishness and the position of moral authorities (above all the Catholic Church) within Irish society, evident in particular in the sympathetic portrayals found repeatedly of the Irish priest, one of the most recognisable Irish stereotypes in the cinema. This paper examines Irish cinema in the first half of the twentieth century in light of the existence of Ireland’s ‘architecture of containment’ (Smith 2001) and framed with regard to Antonio Gramsci’s conception of hegemony and “common sense”. It considers Peter Lennon’s 1968 documentary Rocky Road to Dublin as a key text in identifying the “self-interested silence” that prevailed with regard to clerical control in Ireland, the structures that maintained that silence, and the film’s important role in providing one of the first forums for that silence to be broken.
Publication Themes
Humanities in Context