Private Project


A wealth of information is in danger of being lost, as knowledge which has been passed down orally through the generations has never been recorded. This film tells the story of Brendan O’Sullivan Rath, the last person with this particular wisdom born and bred and still living in the townland of Rath, a small place in the mountains near Kenmare, Co. Kerry.
Chronicling the journey of Brendan through nearby fields and places where he spent time as a child, it focuses on the historical facts and tells his personal story. The film catalogues the names and locations where hedge schools took place, the site of an ancient milestone beside the road as well as spots with particular associations along the river and in certain fields. Many of these names are in Irish. The film highlights our interconnectedness with place and the value of our ancestry.
Music by Luka Bloom and traditional musicians and local singers adds a unique and very emotive soundtrack.

  • Mieke Vanmechelen
    The Bee & The Great Mother
  • Mieke Vanmechelen
  • Mieke Vanmechelen
  • Brendan O'Sullivan Rath
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 2 minutes 7 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 12, 2016
  • Country of Origin:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Dingle International Film Festival 2017
    March 23, 2017
    World Premiere
    Audience Choice Award for Best Feature
  • Kerry Film Festival 2017
    October 20, 2017
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Mieke Vanmechelen

Mieke Vanmechelen was born in Antwerp Belgium (1974), she lived in the polders of Zeeland, the westernmost province of the Netherlands until moving to Ireland with her family as a child. Vanmechelen is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, BA. (1996) and CIT Crawford College of Art & Design, MA. (2014).
With a background in painting, Vanmechelen increasingly works in film. Her works evolve from a combined affinity for the psychoanalytical and a deep sense of connectedness to the cycles of nature, the artist lives and farms on the Beara Peninsula. A sense of place pervades her practice and she draws on the imagery of cultural history and an inherent connection between living beings and the natural world.

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Director Statement

My immediate environment is a remote but rich microcosm and living in it is a unique individual. I have known Brendan O’Sullivan Rath from childhood and as his neighbour I felt ideally placed to undertake this project. The resulting film is a special collaboration involving friends and neighbours. By harnessing the strength of the past, I wanted to help preserve a personal legacy and also aspects of local heritage for younger generations.