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Burren farmer, Patrick McCormack was the focus of an RTÉ One documentary this week.

The Silver Branch directed by Katrina Costello, tells the story of Patrick McCormack who farms in the Burren County Clare. His deeply seeded affinity to the beauty of the Burren brought tears to the eyes of audience members when the 2018 production made its debut tour in theatres around the country the very same year.

The award-winning piece, fetching a first prize at the Salem Film Fest in the U.S in 2019 for cinematography as well as winning best cultural film at the Banff Mountain Film Competition in 2018, is now being brought to the national broadcaster RTÉ, for all the nation to see.

Envisaged by Katerina Costello and produced by her husband Ken O’ Sullivan of Sea Fever Productions, life as seen through the philosophical lens of farmer-poet Patrick McCormack touches on a human story subjugated by a battle with the Supreme Courts in a bid to preserve his ancestral land.

A member of the Burren Action Group opposing the commercialisation of the Burren and the potential disruption to the natural landscape, Patrick eventually wins the right to have the Burren untouched by the rapacious claws of capitalism, a process that spanned more than 15 years. The fallout from the victory caused an immediate split within the community, where locals saw the destitution of a lack of development as detrimental to the lives of those looking to survive in North Clare.

The narrative encapsulates Patrick’s closeness to the natural world, where he emotes, “My decision was to walk the land, to be as close to nature as possible, that is my own humble pilgrimage, if you like.” Powerful cinematography, charisma and compassion put The Silver Branch on an international radar two years ago.

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