At the end of May, the Republic of Ireland Centre celebrated the late RTÉ producer/director Adrian Cronin’s documentary on the making of Ryan’s Daughter with the help of Godfrey Graham, who worked on Cronin’s film.
The arrival of Oscar-winning director David Lean – who had already made the revered epics The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia – in Dingle, Co Kerry in 1970 to make Ryan’s Daughter was big news.
The movie, set in the years after the Easter Rising, starred Robert Mitchum, Trevor Howard, John Mills and Sarah Miles, with an original screenplay from Robert Bolt and cinematography by Freddie Young.
Cronin got permission from Lean himself to shoot a documentary for RTÉ about the film. Graham was the lighting cameraman on the doc, which went behind the scenes to observe how the local community reacted to the arrival of the Hollywood stars and to talk to those with ringside seats at the biggest show in town.
Gay Byrne, the host of RTÉs The Late Late Show, described Cronin, a former RTÉ head of light entertainment, as the “best and sharpest and most tasteful director of a live show like The Late Late Show anywhere in the world”.
Cronin also directed the first of RTÉ’s seven Eurovision Song Contests, and profiled artists including the poet Austin Clarke and singer John McNally.
Graham’s book, Forty Years Behind the Lens at RTÉ, contains the story of the making of the documentary.