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Clooney’s roots

Fiona Clooney and Gabriel Murray working on the documentry in Morriseys Pub Abbeyleix

Fiona Clooney and Gabriel Murray working on the documentry in Morriseys Pub Abbeyleix

KILKENNY filmmaker Gabriel Murray will be premiering his documentary ‘George Clooney’s Irish Roots’ at the Dunamaise Arts Centre this Friday February 1 at 8pm.

Filmed on location in Laois, Kilkenny and Waterford, the film traces the emigration of George Clooney’s Irish ancestor Nicholas Clooney, from Kilkenny to Kentucky during the Great Famine of 1847. The documentary also involved an intensive search for George’s Irish links, as well as the discovery of his ancestral home.

Narrated by Mike Murphy, one of Ireland’s best renowned television presenters, the film includes interviews with George Clooney and Bono as well as local historians; Professor Walter Walsh, Joseph Kennedy, Mary Egan and Ned Egan.

The documentary focuses on Fiona Clooney from Abbeyleix and her search for her connection with the Kentucky Clooneys. Fiona originally made the initial contact with George’s father Nicholas in 2008, when he came to Ireland in search of his Irish roots. He was inspired to make this visit, because of letters from the 1930’s, between Fiona’s Gran-aunt Sarah Clooney and Rosemary Clooney.

Speaking to the Leinster Express, Fiona said that the year long experience was brilliant.

“It was really interesting and I met some lovely people. We also found that we had a Titanic connection - my great great grand aunt Sarah Clooney worked in the carpet factory in Abbeyleix which supplied the carpets for the Titanic. I didn’t know a lot of the stories before doing this”, she said.

Fiona said that she is nervous and excited about showing the premiere this weekend and is hoping for a big crowd to turn out on the night.

She also intends to send George Clooney’s parents a copy of the film in the coming months, as she is been regularly in touch with them to keep them updated on the story’s progress.

The documentary which was produced by Michael Watchorn, Pat Power and Andy Ring, contains several soundtracks featuring contributions from Rosemary Clooney, Finbarr and Roisín Clancy, The Corrigans, Abbeyfolk, Louise Florence, Peter Molly and The Fenians. Kilkenny actor Donie Ryan recites Dawn of the Irish Coast by John Locke and Director of McDonagh Junction, Donie Butler also explains the discovery of unmarked famine graves, where some of the Clooneys perished.

To add to the vast collection of research on the film, the director also includes material on Ireland’s most famous Clooney lookalikes Jeremy Kenny and David Glendon, the latter who received over one million hits on Google after he won a ‘George Clooney Lookalike Competition’.

In this documentary, an array of historical research and forgotten history has been uncovered featuring over 1500 files of video clips, maps and archives that have been lost for generations and link George Clooney to his lost ancestors. A sub-section in the story explores the Clooney family’s links with the Titanic, the Izod Estate and Captain Patrick Clooney, prominent in the 1798 Rebellion.

Tickets are priced at €10 and are available from the Dunamaise Arts Centre Box Office at 057 86 63355 or at www.dunamaise.ie.

 
 
 

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