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Disappointment in Achill as Banshees misses out on Oscar


RED CARPET Colin Farrell and his son Henry Tadeusz pictured with Brendan Gleeson and his wife Mary at the Oscars.

Edwin McGreal

After being nominated for nine Oscars, there was understandable disappointment on Achill Island when The Banshees of Inisherin failed to scoop any Oscars at the Academy Awards in Hollywood on Sunday night.
The Martin McDonagh directed movie was predominantly filmed on Achill in 2021 with scenes also shot on Inis Mór on the Aran Islands.
So everyone on Achill was keenly awaiting news from the Academy Awards.
But even before any results were known, there was a feeling the film could struggle with a lot of momentum behind Everything Everywhere All At Once, which took an incredible seven Oscars.
Chris McCarthy, Manager of Achill Tourism, admitted as much on Saturday and was proven right.
“It was looking good when the nominations were announced but last week when the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards were announced and it did not win any … that was a red flag that it had somehow lost momentum. Those awards are generally considered to be a very strong indicator of how the Oscars will go.
“So while it was disappointing the film did not win any Oscars, it was not that surprising as we had been alerted to it,” he told The Mayo News.
But while it is not an Oscar winning movie, The Banshees of Inisherin has and will likely continue to bring priceless exposure to Ireland’s largest island.
“My mission statement in Achill Tourism is to promote Achill as a must see visitor destination. God bless Martin McDonagh but he has made my job very easy this year and for years to come,” added McCarthy.
“Since the film was released we’ve had massive traction on all our social media platforms. We’re in the midst of researching the number of publications it has been mentioned in globally and we’re at over 80 already. There’s been lots in the US, in Europe and we’ve also featured in the Amman Times in Jordan and the Hindu Times in India,” he continued.
At the weekend, Achill was featured regularly on Sky News with their Irish correspondent Stephen McCarthy interviewing Chris McCarthy, movie extra Madeline Condell and publican Mick Lynch, who has the infamous shears from the movie on display in his bar, Lynott’s.
The package aired every two hours from Saturday and trouble at the BBC with Gary Lineker gave Achill an unexpected bounce.
“Stephen was telling us that because the story was about the BBC, people turned to Sky to hear about it rather than the BBC. That meant a surge in viewers and many people would have stayed watching and saw the scenery in Achill so we got much more traction than we might have.
“Businesses are saying already they are noticing a difference, that there’s levels of business in February and March which would typically only be present in May.
“We are still so fortunate to say an Oscar nominated movie was filmed in Achill,” added McCarthy.

My Sailor, My Love
The Banshees of Inisherin was one of two movies filmed in Achill in the summer of 2021. My Sailor, My Love was the second one and, coincidentally, that premiered in Mayo Movie World in Castlebar last Thursday.
“There was great feedback about how brilliant the community of Achill was in supporting them. It is a completely different story than the Banshees but it is the same stunning scenery and it looks magnificent on the big screen. There definitely seems to be talk about keeping Achill as a film location,” he said.
He added that Achill cannot be allowed to become over-developed with its increasing popularity.
“We are at pains to say this is our home, where we live and a place we love. As management of Achill Tourism we have a responsibility to pass onto the next generation Achill in the same pristine condition that attracted Martin McDonagh and My Sailor, My Love director Klaus Härö,” he said.