For the past few weeks, the 1930’s period film “Jimmy’s Hall” about socialist Jimmy Gralton has been filming in Sligo.
The Independent quoted producer Rebecca O’Brien who said, “It’s a period piece. We needed some place we could dress up and that would be like 1932.”
Set in 1932, the film tells the story of Leitrim socialist Jimmy Gralton who was the only person deported for his views by the Irish government.
Ken Laoch directed some of the film’s final scenes last week. The film was shot at a number of locations in Sligo and Leitrim. A cattle drive scene was filmed at the Temple House near Ballymote. Other locations include Dromahair and the Methodist Church on Wine Street in Sligo.
For one of the actors, filming on location was just like coming home. Sligo native Conor McDermottroe stars in the film. Barry Ward plays the title role and Simone Kirby and "Sherlock’s" Andrew Scott play supporting roles.
The screenplay is by Loach and Paul Laverty who previously worked together on the period film “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” about the Irish Civil War. That film won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.
Born in 1886, Gralton emigrated to the United States and became a citizen in 1909. He returned to Ireland to fight in the Irish War of Independence. He ran a dance hall where he would lecture about his political views at free events. His dance hall and opinions proved unpopular with several local groups, including conservative members of the Irish Republican Army who misinterpreted Gralton’s remarks as an attack on Christianity. Quoted in the Irish Examiner, University College Cork Donal O Drisceoil said, “Gralton was unfortunate. The reason it happened was that Gralton made lots of local enemies.”
An attempt to blow up Gralton’s hall up by landmine failed, but later shots rang out when people gathered for a dance. Gralton was arrested and deported to America on the basis that he was an alien. He lived the rest of his life in New York.
“Jimmy’s Hall” is expected to be released early summer 2014.