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The Asylum

Director: Alan Gilsenan

Ireland. 2005| 52 minutes


St. Ita’s Mental Institution, commonly known as Portrane, has become a potent symbol for all mental asylums within the State. The name
‘Portrane’ evokes fear and loathing in the public imagination and yet we have very little real knowledge of what goes on behind the mythical
closed doors of the mental health service. For the first time, The Asylum takes intimate and frank look at life inside this famous institution.
We look closely at this foreboding building on its remote peninsula in North County Dublin, its diminishing and aging population of long-stay patients, some of whom who have been in Portrane for half a century; we experience the Assessment Unit, the coal face of its mental health treatment; and we consider the difficult road back from mental illness outside the confines of the Portrane, and what affect its closure is going to have. The Festival is delighted to screen in the final episode of The Asylum in advance of its broadcast on RTE.

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