Famous Irish American photograph to be recreated in Galway for new film
Documentary traces the lives of the men on the beam 850 feet in the sky
The most famous photograph of Irish America, 11 men having lunch sitting on a girder 850 feet high above New York, will be recreated in Galwaythis weekend.
The picture, taken by Charlies C Ebbets in 1932 and called “Lunch Atop A Skyscraper,” is world-famous.
The Galway Advertiser reports that two of the men have been identified as Galway natives.
At the extreme left and extreme right of the photo are Matty O’Shaughnessy and Patrick (Sonny) Glynn, who were both from Shanaglish, near Gort in the south of the county.
A new documentary, “Lon sa Speir” or “Lunch in the Sky,” tracing the lives of the men along with Native American John Charles Cook/Akwesasne, a Mohawk (pictured sitting fourth from the left),will have its world premiere shown at the Galway Film Fleadh or festival this weekend.
The photo shows the 11 workers having a lunch break on the 69th floor of the RCA Building (now the GE Building) in New York, during the final months of construction.
Most of the men have now been identified by family members. The man sitting fourth from the right is Francis Michael Rafferty and to his right is his lifelong best friend, Stretch Donahue. On the same day, Ebbets took another photo of the same workers called “Men Asleep on a Girder,” which shows the same workers asleep on the beam.
As part of the celebration, an attempt to recreate the iconic picture will take place.
The new film in Gaelic and English is narrated by actress Fionnula Flanagan, and directed by Eamonn Ó Cualáin, and “reveals the remarkable story behind the iconic image. For much of its 80 year history, the identity of the photographer and the workers remained a mystery, but over the last few years, their names and stories have begun to emerge.”
Sónta Company, which made the documentary, is attempting to recreate the photogrpah in Eyre Square in Galway this weekend.
To mark the world premiere of Lón sa Spéir at the fleadh and Galway’s connection with the workers on the beam, Sónta company, with the support of Coen Steel, will attempt to recreate the famous picture in Eyre Square, on Tuesday July 10 between 12.30pm and 2pm.
The film-makers are seeking 11 men or women to participate in the recreating of this photograph from construction workers, actors, students, or “anyone that feels that they can fill the part”.
Those wishing to take their place on the beam for the Galway version of the image should contact Sónta directly at 095 - 33933 or at email@example.com
For tickets, contact the film screening at the Town Hall by calling 091 - 569777. Lón sa Spéir will also be shown on TG4 in September.
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