Monday 26 February 2018

Why 'Brooklyn' makers opted for Enniscorthy

Parallel Films locations manager Gordon Wycherley clocked up 10,000 kilometres around Ireland before bringing 'Brooklyn' home to Enniscorthy, he revealed on Thursday.

As the movie-makers left the town last week, the soft spoken Corkman spoke for an hour at the public library in Parnell Road about his behind the scenes role with the production. Just a short walk away from the boyhood home of 'Brooklyn' author Colm Tóibín in Parnell Avenue, he told how the decision to come to Enniscorthy was very much a last minute one.

But he voiced no regrets whatever about the choice of Wexford ahead of alternatives considered in both Munster and Ulster.

His only complaint in his efforts to re-create early 1950s Ireland was the satellite dishes and PVC windows and doors which have been added to old houses.

Gordon Wycherley told the library audience that it was as recently as early January, less than three months before the cameras began to roll, that he received the call from Parallel. He then embarked on a trawl of the island seeking a town of suitable size, armed with the script devised by Nick Hornby and his camera.

Most productions are keen to stay in the Dublin/Wicklow area because that is where most of the people involved live. But the backers of 'Brooklyn' – a combination of Canadian, Irish and English money – were prepared to venture beyond the Pale in search of authenticity. 'A 1950s market town is what we were looking for and I drove around Ireland for 10,000 kilometres,' the location manager with than 35 previous film projects to his credit recalled.

Castleblayney in County Monaghan was in the running, as was Buttevant in County Cork. Another Cork town, Bandon was under active consideration and Enniscorthy was 'on the back burner' as January ticked over into February. Wycherley was at a meeting with production personnel in Cork when he finally suggested that the cathedral town had some potential. They were all on their way to Dublin the next day when they pulled into Enniscorthy and stopped at the terraces of Court Street.

Director John Crowley was immediately interested. Not least in the town's favour was a classic ballroom in the vacant form of the Athenaeum, with an empty old bank on the opposite side of Castle Street ideal to make a post office.

Though the grounds of St. Aidan's cathedral were perfect, the modernised altar meant that the interior was not ideal for the wedding scene. But administrator Father Richard Lawless referred him to his predecessor Father Mathias Glynn in Tagoat and the problem was solved.

Enniscorthy Guardian

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