Nets of Memory
Born on Inishark off the west coast of Ireland, Festus O'Halloran emigrated to America in 1902. For 42 years he made nets in his backyard in Clinton, Massachusetts where they simply hung and decayed. This film explores the historical and contemporary personal challenges of Irish emigration and memory. To Irish emigrants living in American cities and towns, a fishing net or currach was not just an economic tool, or object, or asset; rather it provided an entry into the emotional landscape of memory, belonging, and place. Drawing together historical research and contemporary interviews, Nets of Memory explores how 19th to 21th century islanders from northwestern Connemara, Ireland, engaged in making traditional fishing nets and currachs when they moved overseas. This film provides insight into the contemporary personal challenges of global Irish migration, and historically how islanders moving to America adjusted to foreign urban spaces as they balanced economic necessity, the futures of their children, and the personal sacrifice of leaving Ireland, their traditional homes and the Sea.