The Camino Voyage is a feature documentary capturing the extraordinary voyage of a crew including a Writer, two Musicians, an Artist and a Stonemason, who embark on the Camino by sea. Travelling in a traditional boat that they built themselves, the film follows them on an inspiring and dangerous 2,500 km modern day Celtic odyssey all the way from Ireland to Northern Spain.
Cin É: How did it all come together?
Dónal Ó Céilleachair (Director): It has a complex production history. Originally I was hired by RTÉ. They'd heard about the guys going out and they thought that it would be a good idea to develop. That was the first year, but then they dropped in the second year so I took it over as a production. And I developed it from there as an independent production.
So the lads were doing to do the do the voyage anyway?
That's it. The lads were going to do the voyage. They probably weren't that crazy about the idea of somebody with a cameras following them. But they said "Ah sure, why not?". As long as it didn't interfere too much with the trip itself.
You then have some very tricky logistical challenges trying to keep track with them in the boat...
That was a big challenge, especially with a bunch of Kerrymen! [Laughs] I'm a Corkman so that added another logistical challenge to it! It was quite challenging. The first year we were on a support boat next to them, the 'Ar Seachrán' with Captain Paddy Barry and crew. That was great because we were alongside them most of the time. That poses its own challenges, because they could get into little nooks and crannies that the support boat couldn't get into. The second year we followed them mainly on land and then we hitched rides by boats along the way to be with them outside. Because so much of the story takes place on land. They come in everyday and they land and they camp, and they interact with the locals. Then by year 3 we did the same thing, we followed them on land and we would get a boat wherever we could to go out and film with them. The logistical challenges of filming with the Naomhóg are really difficult. They never know where they'll end up. They have a target of where they want to go, but depending on the way that the wind blows or which way the weather goes it might be much further than that or much closer than that. It's a real lesson in just going with the flow of the journey.
To take a Naomhóg, or a version of a curragh, that far is an act of madness is it not?
It's certainly an adventure! One thing I learned during this project, and i wasn't really aware of it before, was the very busy sea-routes that used to occur. I remember Danny was there when Tim Severin left Brandon Creek (Dingle, Co. Kerry) in 1976 to do The Brendan Voyage across the Atlantic in a medieval boat, and he remembered how some of the locals were looking at him heading off and saying that he'd be lucky to get Galway in that thing. But then the following year, after 6 weeks on and off the sea over a two-year period, when he finally got to Canada those same people were saying "I knew he'd get there".
The Irish have a very close relationship with Northern Spain, in terms of our ancestry. So there must have been a big amount of traffic between the two areas.
Definitely. In Irish mythology, the Celts of Ireland come from Galicia. That's our mythology. There's a very strong connection there. I made another film called The Song of the Amergin. The Amergin is one of the oldest poems that we know of in the Irish language. It tells the story of the arrival of the Milesians and the poet, bard, sorceror Amergin on board. So those are the Galician Celts who arrived to replace the Tuatha Dé Danann as
40 CinÉireann / February 2018
ADIFF PREVIEW: THE CAMINO VOYAGE
Words: Niall Murphy