16 Nov 2014
10th November, 14:00

The Lord’s Burning Rain

Director: Maurice O'Callaghan
Producer: Maud O’Callaghan
Country: Ireland
Colour: Colour & Black and White

West Cork, the 1960s. Donnchadh Diarmuid, a 16-year-old, sets out for the day with his father and uncles to buy a horse. The bargain struck, the adults drive home leaving the boy to ride the horse. On his journey, Donnchadh Diarmuid has a series of encounters, each one in their own way nudge him closer to adult- and selfhood.

But, even more so in The Lord’s Burning Rain, it is the past and how we reconcile ourselves to it that truly defines who we are.



Director Maurice O’Callaghan has written the article below, to explain the classical references in the Lord’s Burning Rain



Nineteen years after Maureen O’Hara launched my last international feature film, Broken Harvest, at Cork, I’m delighted to return with my latest feature, The Lord’s Burning Rain.

This is a reworking of the legend of the young Telemachus from Homer’s Odyssey setting out on horseback to find his father Odysseus, one of the great heroes of the Trojan War: transposed to the Irish War of Independence, when the young Donnchadh Diarmuid rides a newly purchased horse home in the 1960′s through the West Cork mountains.

On his way he has many strange encounters including meeting the seductive tinker woman Sarsi (played by Caroline Morahan) who tries to steal his horse. Sarsi is a wordplay on the name Circe, the sorceress who seduces both Odysseus and later his son Telemachus. She turns their warriors into swine and tries to prevent both men leaving her lair.


Donnchadh Diarmuid encounters  Protestant farmer, Sweetmount (played by Jonathan Ryan) who gives him poteen and reveals that his father was shot as an informer. Sweetmount has echoes of the old Greek warrior Nestor whom Telemachus meets on his journey to find his father and Nestor reveals the great exploits of Odysseus to his son, including how he created the Trojan Horse to fool the Trojans into opening the gates of Troy, bringing about their eventual destruction.


Donnchadh Diarmuid then meets the ghostly figure dressed in black based on the blind prophet Tiresius from the Odyssey (played by Jon Kenny) who leads him through the land of the dead where Donnchadh Diarmuid will see images of his father fighting the Black and Tans and see images of his dead mother being assaulted by British soldiers and conversing with his father as a young man.

He sees the ghosts of the past including his dead mother and imagines he rides in a hallucinatory episode through a number of battles  in 1921.


Adapted from my 2005 short story of the same name, the Lord’s Burning Rain explores many relevant issues of today including the uneasy alliance between Catholics and Protestants  (recently highlighted by the Archbishop of Dublin Rev. Dr. Michael Jackson Archbishop of Dublin)  the formation of  the nation of Ireland and the continuing legacies of the Civil War.


The long final narrative scene by Uncle Richie (Christy O’Sullivan is a deliberate conceit to bring the Homeric style of storytelling to a cinematic format and subvert the traditional Hollywood method of having a climactic action packed conclusion to a film. In other words we tell, not show as has been the norm with more mainstream and audience friendly styles of filmmaking. The style is more akin to what an audience is forced to do in opera, ie  listen and concentrate.

The film has strong performances from Harry O’Callaghan, Jon Kenny, Jonathan Ryan, Caroline Morahan and a strong supporting cast. Filmed over nine months in West Cork and Co Laois with stunning cinematography by Mario Bortas and a luscious score by John Lynch of the RTE Synphony Orchestra and Ciaran O’Gealbháin of Danú.

The film is produced by my daughter Maud aged only 21 and written and directed by myself,


I’ve been away from filmmaking concentrating on writing for the last while but I have returned with last year’s Oscar qualified short, A Day For The Fire and now my new feature LBR. Cork is an ideal platform because it has a very sophisticated cinema-going audience who will appreciate the perhaps  highbrow allegorical classical references. This is very much an arthouse type film made in the tradition of Bergman or Bunuel using ensemble casting. Even the long narrative final scene is a deliberate  ( we used many of the same actors in A Day For The Fire and all the plots derive from my 2005 eponymously titled book of short stories, including Broken Harvest.


Film festivals are vitally important for this type of film as the public and the critics get a chance to see films that may not be widely released on the commercial circuit until word of mouth builds. Broken Harvest started this way at the Dublin Film Festival in 1994 and went on to worldwide commercial release in all media the following year including long cinema runs in New York, LA and all major American cities, released by Buena Vista.

The producers wish to state that in the foregoing piece there was a reference for a number of days, which reference is since deleted, to the photography of Seamus Deasy which gave the incorrect and misleading impression that Mr. Deasy was the main cinematographer on the film, when in fact he was not.  The producers wish to clarify that Mr. Deasy’s involvement with the film was in connection with the filming of some archive footage shot in County Laois in 1984, which is used by way of flashback in the film. The cinematographer of all principal photography in the film is Mario Bortas and he is credited as such.

With kind regards and thanks for your interest. See enclosures with some stills and profiles  and link to press release and further link therein to trailer..

Maurice O’Callaghan


Next in the Schedule

Cork next