Ireland: A Neverland for Forever-Youngs on a Roadtrip

Thanks to St.Patrick and the resilient Celtic spirit: no lockdown or global pandemic ever broke the chain of Irish film screenings held in Ireland itself and other countries gravitated into the Irish cultural space. In terms of filmmaking the wasted 2020 brought up new styles and techniques of creative process: people had to use limited room for their ideas, they had to combine skills of a director, a sound master, a cameraman, a screenwriter and make their movies entirely themselves. Limited resource gave the floor to unlimited flow of creative energy that should have been shared with the audience. While Galway Film Fleadh, Kerry International Film Festival, Cork International Film Festival and their sister fests in Australia went online in 2020, 2021 opened the doors of cinemas in Russia, so all Irish-at-hearts could see freshly released films and shorts from Ireland in Moscow and St.Petersburg. This year I voted all in for the road-movie Poster Boys (2020) – we all need being outside on the road again, and it`s better to be on a road trip in Ireland than anywhere else.

A big soft hearted dramedy set less in Dublin, more in Kilkenny and mainly on wheels tells the story of a thirty-something man Al (Trevor O`Connell) who is – just look back at yourself – sick and tired of endless deadlines, a job he doesn`t actually like, and a bunch of ‘adult’ responsibilities. He lives a life of a hamster in the spinning wheel when suddenly faces the fact that he has to sit his nephew Carl (Ryan Minogue-Lee) – a smart cheeky boy who acts way more reasonable than Al. They need to get along with each other and spend a week together, Carl has to go to school, to do homework and to play football, while Al has a job to do, so what can go wrong? Anyway it all ended up on an adventurous ride around Ireland`s picturesque south. Tell you what, I`ve seen many directorial debutes, and been to Ireland countless times, yet Dave Minogue`s film surprised me both ways: I`ve discovered a newly emerged Irish director and passionate storyteller, and got hints for future travel spots in Kerry, Tipperary and Cork.

©Photo Credit: Poster Boy Films

Poster Boys are the cinematic mirror for Irish everyday life: increasing rent, freelance, family interconnections and sometimes misconnections, pub quizzes, local shops, sleepy river towns, weird parties, street urchins, junk food, but loads of laughter and smiles, even if through tears. After years of working on shorts and TV-pilots, Dave Minogue learned everything about the filmmaking process and wisely invested his professional skills into the story he made up himself, with a winning personal touch. A Kilkenny-native, the director has shown his hometown the best way the camera could provide: long-shots and close-ups of the Kilkenny Castle, views of St.Canice`s Cathedral with its proto-industrial looking round tower, ye olde Tholsel, the weekend Market Square at the Parade that looks like a never-ending St.Paddy`s Day. And for sure, there is no Ireland views without bus stops and sport grounds: there are ones in Poster Boys, like the actual football field on Kells Road.

©Photo Credit: Poster Boy Films

Being a lifelike comedy, Poster Boys still deal with tougher matters of mental sustainability, harmony with one`s self, keeping family ties afloat, challenging freelance and making a choice. The right symbol was chosen to depict main character`s hesitation, doubt and pathfinding – a bridge. The old John`s Bridge in Kilkenny downtown becomes the chance meeting place for two old friends, and Medieval solidity of the bridge confirms that both have no significant changes in their lives to share: everything is stable and stuck. Then a wavy carpet of bridges takes uncle and nephew on a trip, they cross them one by one as making further steps towards knowing each other better and overcoming obstacles together. More towns, more teamwork – more bridges. Then, as a sign of the future full of both challenges and opportunities, the new Kilkenny bridge appears. Same as other highways, it has no touch of personality, but its dimmed lights hide a threat and a solution.

©Photo Credit: Poster Boy Films

Having a budget of 25.000€, cast hired via e-mail and a skeleton crew, the guys made a heart-warming and globally understandable film that still stays very Irish at heart. By the way, most actors share their real names with their characters on screen. Actress Amy Hughes (teacher Miss Hughes) is well-known for Kubrick by Candlelight short (Irish Film Fest 2019)  and TV series, same with Norma Sheahan, Joe Rooney and Aoife Spratt.

©Photo Credit: Poster Boy Films

Actors got the script ready two weeks prior to filming, and so the movie began its way from Dublin to Kilkenny and down the road to the south to resume shooting in just three weeks. Dublin is shown in its morning lights and, as a contrast, in its chaotic nightlife. Kilkenny, ever sunny, colorful and joyful, appears in warm palette of summer haze. Further locations illustrate Ireland`s diversity: green plains and emerald mountains, tiny towns and picturesque roads. The duo crosses a number of Irish landlocked and southern counties: Offaly (now a tourist attraction for Barack Obama`s Irish roots), Tipperary (with its famous Rock of Cashel), then seaside Cork and Kerry. Ring of Kerry, twitching through hilly lands and lakes, leads them to Killarney and Tralee, and each traveller should hashtag an amazing site for oneself: Blennerville Windmill, standing right by the bay. Windmills are less common for Ireland than castles, churches and lighthouses, so this one looks even more impressive against the ocean.

©Photo Credit: Poster Boy Films

To see the Poster Boys locations and way more, just set off from Dublin down the road southbound: you can rather rent a car or take a bus to Kilkenny (DublinCoach from Burgh Quay or J.J.Kavanagh&Sons from the airport). Getting from Kilkenny to Cork or Kerry by public transport might be a trickier task, yet no trip to Ireland goes without adventures! First take the same DublinCoach bus from Kilkenny to Cork, then use BusEireann from Cork Parnell Place to Tralee. There are also Irish Rail routes for each of laps mentioned above, but they might be more expensive. Wish this advice be useful soon.

©Photo Credit: Poster Boy Films, Galway Film Fleadh 2020

But while we all keep waiting for better times, meet Poster Boys director and actors online and watch the 32nd Galway Film Fleadh Q&A with Dave Minogue, Trevor O’Connell and Ryan Minogue-Lee sharing the story of making the movie. Uncles are people too.




  1. Diletant
    April 10th, 2021 | 10:53 am

    My applauds to kot_pofigist!
    Another vintage review, this time with the Irish twist.
    It is all in there – Ireland, Kilkenny Castle, rivers and bridges, sleepy river towns, the Irish and their way of life, Irish filmmaking and of course the film per se – the plot, atmosphere, the director, actors and characters, colorful locations.
    Written with real spirit of affection to Irish and Ireland.
    And the author’s own style and language make this review the piece of art in itself.
    Definitely ‘must see’ and I will do it as soon as possible.



  2. August 26th, 2021 | 4:53 am

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