Willy Reilly and his Colleen Bawn is a remarkable historical epic and one of few surviving features from the silent era. Set in 18th-century Ireland, it tells the story of Willy Reilly, a Catholic gentleman in love with the daughter of the local Protestant squire. The film is a celebration of tolerance and of the triumph of love across the sectarian divide. Directed by John MacDonagh, brother of the executed 1916 leader Thomas MacDonagh, it was made at St. Enda’s School, Rathfarnham, where Thomas had taught alongside Patrick Pearse.
This summer, the film will be presented by the IFI in Berlin, Paris and Madrid as part of the International Culture Programme to celebrate Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union, with a magnificent new score composed and conducted by Bernard Reilly and performed live by the Irish Cine Theatre Ensemble. We are delighted to offer Dublin audiences a unique opportunity to attend a pre-tour Dress Rehearsal, introduced by Reilly, of the film and music.