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Film Maker Bob Quinn & the 'Atlantean' Docu, Part of Galway Film Fleadh’s Solstice Festival

24th December 2020
Filmmaker and Aosdána member Bob Quinn Filmmaker and Aosdána member Bob Quinn Photo: Kieran Slyne

Atlantean conjures up images of sea serpents, mythical peoples living under the sea and it is also the title of a fascinating project which Aosdána member and filmmaker Bob Quinn embarked on in the early 1980s.

The outcome was three documentaries, entitled Atlantean, which are now being screened as part of Galway Film Fleadh’s Solstice festival until January 21st.

Quinn also wrote a book entitled The Atlantean Irish published in 2005 by Lilliput Press which dismissed as myth the popular belief in “Celtic” origins.

He proposed instead that we are part of a common “Atlantean” culture extending from the western seaboard of Europe and North Africa and further east.

At the time, his theories were dismissed by academics, but the impact of global warming and climate breakdown on enforced migration and conflict now lends further weight to his research.

The filmmaker, photographer and author is due to be conferred with an honorary degree by NUI Galway in 2021 for his contribution to the artistic and cultural life of Galway and the Conamara Gaeltacht. 

Kinvara - Bob Quinn explores maritime links between Ireland and north Africa in the Atlantean projectKinvara - Bob Quinn explores maritime links between Ireland and North Africa in the Atlantean project

He has recently published a work of fiction which explores climate breakdown through the eyes of sailor Flannery, on the river Shannon.

Darwin on the Shannon is set in 2030 when the Arctic ice has finally melted and a tsunami is anticipated. 

Writer Christine Dwyer Hickey has described Quinn as “a writer who understands nature in all her beauty and savagery” and describes the book as a “ touching and compelling tale of survival”.

Film maker Bob Quinn who made three documentaries and wrote a book on the Atlantean project. The films are being shown as part of Galway Film Fleadh's online Solstice festival until January 21stFilm maker Bob Quinn who made three documentaries and wrote a book on the Atlantean project. The films are being shown as part of Galway Film Fleadh's online Solstice festival until January 21st

The Galway Film Fleadh, which he is a founder of, is running the online Solstice event to celebrate Ireland’s first wave of cinema from the late 1970s to the millennium.

Other films available to rent until January 21st include Quinn’s Poitin, Pat Murphy’s early Irish feminist masterwork Anne Devlin, Joe Comerford’s Reefer and the Model, Margo Harkin’s Hush-a-Bye Baby, Cathal Black’s Korea and Lelia Doolan’s documentary on Bernadette Devlin, Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey.

Full details on Solstice are here

Darwin and the Shannon is available in Charlie Byrne’s bookshop, Galway, and An Ceardlann in An Spidéal, and online here

Bob Quinn spoke to Wavelengths about Atlantean, recalling how it all started... 

Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

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