Wollen Mills by Leo O'Brien.
piece in the PPP.
Press. Saturday 12th October 1935.
O'Brien. (with picture of Mill, proprietor, his assistant, Father
Swayne and Father Campion)
ever taken photographs in Clonegal"
"No I can't
say I have ever visited that district, Father," I replied.
It was the
curate of Graiguecullen who had addressed me, the Rev. Fr. Campion,
an enthusiastic champion of the old and forgotten industries of the
along and see the place" he said, I can promise you more than
beautiful scenery; there is a very ancient woollen mill there which
is still working, and you'll find that your camera won't be idle."
aroused, I procured my apparatus, and after we had picked up the
Rector of Knockbeg College, Fr. Peader Swayne, we started out for
the spot, some fourteen miles to the South-East of Carlow.
confess at the outset I was a little sceptical as to Clonegal living
up to the picturesque description I had received.
Nevertheless, I was not very long in doubt, for the mellow October
sunlight seemed to add more enchantment to the view of hills and
woodlands on all sides.
eventually alighted from our car and wended our way down the banks
of the Slaney --"There", said Father Campion pointing down the
valley," are the woollen mills."
certainly a picture," I exclaimed, for there, tucked away amid the
hills, was a forgotten or at least an unknown industry working
quietly for centuries aided by the waters of the Slaney which flowed
down the valley past the little grey old shack.
time-worn mill I found the sixty-years old proprietor and his only
assistant, equally as old as himself, working away at one of the
old man told me his people were in possession of the place for over
three hundred years, making rugs and blankets. I made an inspection
of these products and found them equally as fine as those
manufactured in the more up-to-date establishments.
"Do you get
a good trade" I enquired.
he said, "we don't.
nobody in the outside world knows we are here, for we haven't any
money to advertise. You see", he added, "have to turn our hands to a
bit of farming and fishing on the Slaney to make ends meet".
any family", I asked, "I'm afraid I'm an ould bachelor" at the same
time looking away down the river.
subsequently found out that he had built his own house adjacent to
the mill and had lived for many years with his bachelor assistant,
both running the home and mill accordingly.
make butter again anyhow," said he to me, and I've only an ould dash
churn at that," "What about the bread", I further questioned -- "Oh,
I can see to that too," he laughed.
The sun by
this time was low on the western horizon, the valley was now in a
deep shadow which made this little homestead and industries look all
the more silent and forgotten.
dwell two men almost away from the world's hum quite hopeful and
content with their lot, eking out a livelihood thus amid the hills
of Clonegal and carrying on an old Irish industry that was born
three long centuries ago. I leave them to their world and you.
and Leinster Times.
On The Silver Screen.
local's praiseworthy show.
consider as a very interesting and praiseworthy movie show was
screened in Carlow Town Hall on Monday and Tuesday night by Leo O'
Brien, of Carlow.
matter of slides and lantern was this, but a full blooded programme
consisting of a fine talking feature film and, what is of much more
interest to Carlovians , a scenic documentation of life and sport in
had told me a long time ago his hope of launching from his career as
a first class photographer, which he is, into the realm of movies,
and this is no mean task when the
involved is considered.
confident that in going fully into this motion picture business on
his own that he will capture the imagination of and the support of
those who already know him and his excellent work.
first had refusals from film renters who are virtually
vested-interests in England and over here, Mr. O'Brien has finally
made a composite film of his "shots" and during the week he gave
what might be termed a one man performance, which entirely surpassed
the expectations of the numerous people who attended.
Hall is not admirably suited for sound projection, but in the
circumstances everybody enjoyed the show tremendously and look
forward eagerly to the next one.
film was received with great applause.
the daily round of life in the streets and left them to tell their
portrayed the sport of the county including football played at the
Dr. Cullen Memorial Park, hurling, tennis (with shots in slow
Golf Club, Links and players were
as were also other scenes, which captivated the audience.
people who had never before seen a motion picture before came to see
Carlow on the silver screen.
As to the
documentary film, I would say that there is a great future for such
evidenced by the large number of "News Theatres" all over the
continent which show nothing but nature pictures, sport and news
programmes last about an hour or two and draw a large number of
clients who never go to other motion pictures.
that people in the district will give this new venture of Leo
O'Brien a good "break".
The missing "talkies" movies / pictures of Leo O'Brien from Carlow.
events he filmed on movie film in 1937 - 39 were:
Camogie Match ,Carlow vs Westmeath.
Leinster Junior Championship GAA , Carlow vs Kilkenny.
Tinryland vs Milford in the O' Derrig Cup.
Cinderella Dance in the Town Hall.
Variety Entertainment in Parochial Hall, Graiguecullen includes
interview with Mary White and Tommy Meighan.
of Carlow Agriculture Committee.
of Carlow Voc. Committee.
of Carlow Health Board.
Choir singing in C.B.S. Hall.
Leos and Presentation schools.
Carlow and Graiguecullen, Tullow St. Dublin St. Browne St. Bridewell
Lane, Burrin St. Church St. Maryborugh St. new houses in Pollerton,
National Ploughing Championships held in Oak Park, includes
interview with Mr. Bruen of Oak Park, and presentation of trophies
by Mr. Ed. Duggan.
Drawing of Tickets in the Mansion House for the Irish Sweep in
1937 plus a short tour of Dublin.
Corcoran's Mineral and Boot factory.
Carlow's Sugar Industry and Beet growers.
Slater's and Kehoe's Poultry Yards.
were said to be "in part colour with some scenes filmed in a
wonderful pageant of colour".
one can of O'Brien film in the PPP containing eroded film, I brought
it to the Film Institute in Dublin but it was beyond repair.
at least 30 other cans, have any of them survived?
several viewings of his films throughout Carlow, I have never being
able to find out much about him, any information on Leo or his
brother "Laz" would be welcome.