Experiencing Interruptions?

The Ferry

Aoife searches for her birth mother and unveils a past that entangles two other women in town.

  • Niall McKay
    The Bass Player: A Song For Dad
  • Niall McKay
    The Bass Player: A Song For Dad
  • Marissa Aroy
    The Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the United Farm Workers
  • Roisin Kearney
    We Have Each Other
  • Clodagh Bowyer
  • Aoife Duffin
    Key Cast
    Moone Boy
  • Deirdre Donnelly
    Key Cast
  • Clodagh Bowyer
    Key Cast
  • Rosaleen Linehan
    Key Cast
    "Mrs. O'Toole"
  • Gus McDonagh
    Key Cast
    "Michael Cole"
  • Eva Bartley
    Key Cast
    "Cathleen Cole"
  • John Olohan
    Key Cast
    "Sergeant O'Connell"
  • Rachel Rath
    Key Cast
  • Gina Costigan
    Key Cast
    "Garda Costigan"
  • Project Type:
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  • Runtime:
    24 minutes 59 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 30, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    30,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Galway Film Fleadh
    July 12, 2019
    World Premiere
    Special Jury Mention “For a well-executed and emotional resolution to an important story.”
Director Biography - Niall McKay

Niall McKay is an Emmy award-winning independent writer and director. He has directed documentaries for PBS and RTÉ (Irish TV), commercials for Lego, educational soap operas for Canal Cl@se (Venezuelan TV) and interactive augmented reality games featuring Bill Nye (The Science Guy) for Chabot Space and Science Museum. As a former science and technology journalist, McKay’s articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Irish Times, Wired Magazine and The Economist. His radio work has aired on NPR, BBC World Service and RTÉ and he also reported on air for PBS’ Frontline World on the Northern Ireland peace process.

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Director Statement

The Ferry is a darkly comic mystery thriller with an unexpected twist. Told from the perspective of three women, of three generations, as they search for a mother, a child, and atonement for sins of the past.
The Film examines the issue of the forced adoption culture in Ireland which has come under much scrutiny in recent months.


Set in Ireland it mirrors the stories of women all over the world. Similar accounts of the institutionalisation of women and forced adoption of their children come from far and wide including the US, Canada, UK, Poland, and Australia.

Director’s statement: Niall Mc Kay
*It was the 9 th of September 1974. I was 7-years of age. I awoke in the middle of the night. All the doors and windows were open. There was a trail of blood from my mum’s bedroom to the bathroom, the door was locked and the water was running. I called out to my mother but there was no answer. It was her second suicide attempt in as many days. Luckily, she survived.
It was established early on that my mother was incapable of looking after me. “So what was to become of the boy Niall?”, a letter between my parent’s lawyers asked.
At that time in Ireland fathers were seen as unsuitable guardians for young children. My father consulted a family friend Father Desmond Williams who worked at the Bishops office who recommended that I be placed at an orphanage in Dublin called the O’Brien Institute.
“I shall ask the (Brother) Superior to give the application his immediate attention and I take that the decision can be obtained from the trustees for the beginning of the school year,” he wrote in a letter to my father.
Two weeks later I was accepted. Happy days. Father Desmond became Bishop Desmond Williams and in 1987 failed to report priests accused of sexual abuse to the police. Corruption within the church (and Irish State) was widespread and systematic but I was one of the lucky ones.

The Ferry was born out of both personal experience and the recurring question that is still left unanswered ‘where were the men?’ When contemplating how to tell a story of loss, abandonment and the unholy conspiracy between church and state, I kept getting drawn back to that question.

Magdalene laundries (sometimes called Magdalen Asylum for Penitent Females), the illegal adoption industry and the punishment of the most vulnerable within our society for a perceived moral infraction, be that the victim of rape, incest or simply being born of an unwed mother, was the secret known by all. It was the threat used to keep children in line and fear in young women.

Bertha, Clodagh, and Aoife. Three women, three generations, connected by loss and guilt. Unknown to each other until they collide in the search for answers about their respective pasts. They are the human faces of a vitriolic past which still haunts so many in Ireland and around the world.

*An extract from - Is the Catholic Church Finished in Ireland? Abuse of Women and Children by the Catholic Church and The State is driving even the faithful away. - By Niall McKay