Sunday 27 May 2018

Town gripped by movie magic

On set of the movie, Brooklyn.
On set of the movie, Brooklyn.

David Medcalf

Enniscorthy has gone movie mad as filming of 'Brooklyn' started on time last Monday morning at the beginning of a week-long shoot.

The crew from Sunset Films was out at the crack of dawn covering up double yellow lines as they put the last touches to winding back the clock in Castle Street sixty years.

The attention to detail extended to removing the sign pointing to local tourist attractions outside the Church Institute, even as the temporary 'Post Office' sign went up on façade of the old Bank of Ireland next door.

With four shops on the street converted to 1950s style to make the street a film location, curious residents of the town were delighted to take photos during the weekend.

Then the cameras rolled in earnest on Monday, with good-humoured onlookers not having to wait long before clapping eyes on star, Saoirse Ronan.

Crowds watching from Castle Hill or Market Square had a clear view of the actor from Ardattin, near Tullow, in County Carlow. With the weather cloudy, though largely dry, she was kept warm between takes by as large black eiderdown jacket worn over her period costume of cream coloured cardigan, lacy white blouse and blue pencil skirt.

'Business As Usual' was the sign at the entrance to Castle Street where the doors of shops remained open to customers.

However, there was nothing usual about the activity outside as many of the 112 strong 'Brooklyn' team were present, carrying props or wielding cameras and microphones.

And they were joined on the set by scores of extras from among the hundreds who have been taken on for the week by the producers. Security company personnel made sure the public was kept out of sight and at a proper distance whenever the cameras were in action.

The only obvious hitch was when MI 7227, a vintage black Hillman car, refused to start on cue, just one of a fleet of ancient vehicles on call.

The production has spread its tentacles around town, with trucks of equipment parked in the grounds of Enniscorthy Castle. Changing facilities for the extras have been laid on at the former Gael Scoil campus on the Ross Road, complete with hairdressers and the wardrobe department, beside where the production has established a depot in the Showgrounds..

With more than 110 movie personnel staying in local hotel, bed-and-breakfast, apartment and house accommodation, the film is having a tonic effect on the Enniscorthy economy.

And the crew, from carpenters and hair dressers, to actors and sound technicians have all been welcomed with open arms.

The action is due to switch later in the week to the Court Street/John Street area as well as Friary Place. Also standing by to receive 'Brooklyn' over the coming days are Curracloe beach and Tagoat.

Meanwhile, Enniscorthy shopfronts transformed to present an early 1950s look attracted a stream of fascinated onlookers throughout the weekend. Four shops along Castle Street were re-branded for the movie under new names and the makers of 'Brooklyn' pulled out all the stops to make sure that everything looked authentic. Wilson's Siopa Bróg became Whelan's for the purposes of the drama, while photographer Ibar Carty is now trading as Stafford's. The façade of solicitor John Garahy's premises has become Hanlon's undertakers.

An old style post office has been installed inside the former Bank of Ireland without much impact on the street. However, John Kavanagh's (formerly Bourke Roche's department store) next door has been given a more obvious new role as Kelly's grocery, where the heroine of the book worked before emigrating to the USA.

Gorey Guardian