Irish Film Institute -New Irish documentary Men at Lunch released from the 1st February

New Irish documentary Men at Lunch released from the 1st February



In cinemas 1 – 7 February

Sónta Films present IFTA 2013 award nominated Men at Lunch, a new feature length documentary at the IFI and on national release which unravels the mystery behind one of the most iconic images of the 20th century, Lunch Atop a Skyscraper, and links two of its elusive subjects to a remote Co. Galway village. 

Taken in 1932, Lunch Atop a Skyscraper is the famous image depicting eleven steel workers perched on a girder 850ft above Manhattan during construction of the Rockefeller Centre.                  

The photographer and subjects have remained unknown for the past 80 years, but in 2007 a chance discovery of a special framed copy of the photograph in Whelan’s pub, Shanaglish, led brothers Eamonn and Sean Ó Cualáin to tell the remarkable story of two of the men photographed on the beam.

Enquiring why it had pride of place on the wall, they learned from publican Michael Whelan that the photograph had come from a Boston-area man named Pat Glynn, who was convinced that his father and uncle were in the photograph. 

What was known for sure was that both men had emigrated from Shanaglish in the 1920’s, and that they had found construction work in New York’s burgeoning skyscraper industry.

Narrated by actress Fionnula Flanagan, Men at Lunch presents groundbreaking new research into the history of the photograph itself alongside the extraordinary story of two Irish emigrants who went to New York in search of work and became immortalised by the skyline they helped to build.

The film, which premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh in July 2012, is on track to become one of the most picked-up Irish releases of 2012/13 in the international festivals market. It enjoyed further success at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival and had sold out screenings at DOC NYC, New York’s documentary festival and Amsterdam’s IDFA, the largest documentary festival in the world. Men at Lunch will be presented at a number of major film festivals in the coming year. 

Leascheannasaí (Deputy Chief Executive) of TG4, Pádhraic Ó Ciardha says the channel was delighted to support the project from the outset. “All stories are local at first but a good storyteller can present it in a way that will appeal also to a much wider audience.  Irish language film-making has truly come of age, as this wonderful documentary will illustrate to those cinema audiences lucky enough to see it.”

Men at Lunch is funded by TG4, the Irish Film Board, and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

Both English and Irish language films will be shown at cinemas from 1st – 7th February. 


Narrator: Fionnula Flanagan Produced by Éamonn Ó Cualáin, Directed by Seán Ó Cualáin Executive Producer, Mícheál Ó Meallaigh Screenplay, Niall Murphy, Director of Photography: Réamonn Mac Donnacha, Music: Mike McGoldrick, Editor: Daithi Connaughton

With: Peter Quinn, Jim Rasenberger, Padraig O Flannabhra, Ric Burns, Una Ni Bhroimeil, Joe Woolhead

Listings information:

Dates: Friday 1  – Friday 7 February

Released at the IFI and selected cinemas nationwide.

Running time: 68 minutes

Press quotes:


“Men At Lunch is a fascinating film and Ó Cualáin’s photographic detective work is both evocative and eloquently effective.” Screen Daily

“A textbook example of a well-crafted feel-good doc… Men at Lunch is infectiously and unabashedly uplifting as it celebrates the American immigrant experience.” Variety


For media information, images, and interview requests contact: Kate Bowe  or Sarah Dee at Kate Bowe PR on 01 6520143; /


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