Northern Ireland

Villagers hope Oscar win will put Killough on tourist map

The pub landlord had to send for extra beer during the two-day Oscar party in the County Down village of Killough.

The marathon celebration followed the Oscars success of the short film - The Shore - part of which was shot inside the Anchor Bar in the coastal village, which is an hour's drive from Belfast.

Thousands of miles from the glittering ceremony in Los Angeles, bar staff rolled out a red carpet and decorated the pub with Hollywood signs and replicas of the Oscar statues.

The landlord, John Fitzsimmons, said: "The place is still buzzing. Everybody is talking about it. We met the local parish priest walking in the street. Even he's excited. He's walking around with a skipping rope, skipping up and down.

"What's more, I've had to send away for more beer."

There are hopes that the pub could soon be full of visitors, rather than villagers, and that the Oscar victory will put Killough on the tourist map.

Local people gathered on Sunday night to watch live coverage of the Oscars ceremony, and beforehand the pub presented a special screening of The Shore.

It was all filmed within a few miles of the bar, and featured the spectacular south Down scenery of the Mourne Mountains and Coney Island.

Image caption The film was based on a true story involving Tony George


Anyone who knows the music of Van Morrison will have heard of Coney Island. He wrote a song about it 20 years ago.

In the 30-minute film, the island is the scene of an emotional homecoming for a man who left Northern Ireland during the Troubles but came back to make peace with his past.

The short film was directed by Belfast-born Terry George, who has a holiday home on the island. It is based on a true story, involving his uncle Tony George.

There is humour in the story as well as love, romance and friendship - plus a little bit of politics.

The over-riding theme is reconciliation. Coincidentally, it comes at a time when politicians in Northern Ireland are struggling to work out how to deal with the past, and the legacy of 30 years of violence.

In a key part of The Shore, one of the characters says: "The past is the past. It's water under the bridge.

"Let's make the best of what we've got."

Maybe, the timing of the making of this film is not a coincidence after all.

You can follow Mark Simpson on Twitter: @BBCMarkSimpson

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