Documentary: Hidden Treasures – Cot, Coracle and Currach

We’re delighted to bring you ‘Cot, Coracle and Currach’, the final episode of Anne O’Leary’s acclaimed four-part documentary series ‘Hidden Treasures’ which examines the history of Irish folklife. It explores trades, crafts and traditions widely practised in rural Ireland from the 1850s to the 1950s.

Each episode reveals how self-sufficient the rural Irish and crafts people were, and how they used natural materials to make vital objects for use in their daily lives.

The series is based on restored old 16mm archive, (produced by the National Museum of Ireland from the 1950s to the 1970s), with contemporary recordings of traditional rural crafts and rituals.

This powerful episode ‘Cot, Coracle and Currach’ focuses on Ireland’s traditional craft of boat-making, from small wicker coracles, to the sturdy wooden fishing cots, and the iconic black tar covered currach’s, a few of which are still being made in Ireland today.

The film shows how, throughout centuries, the lives of the fishing communities and the Island people, (on Inis Árainn, Inis Meáin  and Inis Oírr), depended entirely on the craft of curragh making and on the men who built and rode them. Not only was the curragh used for fishing, but it was also the only means of ferrying people from the islands to the mainland. It was used for the transportation of foods, sheep, cattle and furniture and it even carried pregnant women in labour, to and from the mainland.

The film features some extraordinary black and white footage and it is enhanced by Kila’s beautiful heart-pounding soundtrack, which captures the Island people’s intense relationship with the wild and often unforgiving Atlantic sea, tide and shore.

Made in 1998 Hidden Treasures was created and Directed by Anne O’Leary. Executive Producer Sé Merry Doyle. Music composed by KILA. The Series was produced by Loopline Films and is part of the Loopline Collection, housed at Irish Film Institute, Dublin.

The film is available to view here.