Spread The Wings

Directed by Alice McDowell / 2020 / 11 mins


Sisters Maggie and Nora are from the Irish Traveller community – an indigenous nomadic ethnic minority group. Although forced off the road in the 1980s with the introduction of anti-trespass legislation, Maggie and Nora still travel back to Connemara (West Galway, Ireland) every summer to rekindle their connection with the land.

With their caravans pulled up on the side of the road they recall a childhood spent in the area, lamenting the loss of loved ones, a close-knit community and the travelling way of life. However, their culture endures in nature and ritual; and the wings of their grand-nephew Connie.
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Director Statement

Maggie and Nora Delaney live on the Carrowbrowne ‘temporary’ halting site, on the Headford Road, next door to Barna Waste. Every summer they escape the toxic fumes and appalling living conditions for a few weeks by going back to Connemara – where they grew up as children.

Their transformation is unmistakable, but their reprieve is bittersweet. All the traditional stopping places have been blocked with boulders or barriers. Sadness and loneliness permeates, with the loss of a once-vibrant Travelling community. They are, in a way, the last of the Travellers.
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March 2020:

  • Catalyst International Film Festival, Limerick Ireland.

Awarded: Spirit Of The Festival.

July 2020:

  • Galway Film Fleadh

October 2020:

  • IndieCork Film Festival


Director: Alice McDowell

Producer: Alice McDowell

Key cast: Maggie Delaney, Nora Delaney, Connie O’Donoghue

Director Bio

Alice McDowell is a freelance documentary filmmaker working both locally and internationally on the subject of minority rights. Intertwining observation, collaboration and storytelling, Alice has created films with different cultural and community groups, including Mother & Baby home survivors, Muslim feminists, LGBTI activists, asylum seekers and the Traveller community. Alice is originally from Australia and now lives and works in Galway.

Director Alice McDowell.

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