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Coup for Wexford town as Cillian Murphy to shoot movie based on ‘Small Things Like These' book

The hit Claire Keegan novel is set in New Ross in the 1980s and the movie will be shot on location

Cillian Murphy.

Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders.

Cathaoirleach Cllr Michael Sheehan on Quay Street.

Wicklow author Claire Keegan.

David LoobyNew Ross Standard

New Ross will be abuzz with a film crew in March when Hollywood star Cillian Murphy arrives to produce an atmospheric film based on Booker Prize nominated book, ‘Small Things Like These'.

The hit Claire Keegan novel is set in New Ross in the 1980s and Murphy, the location crew and the producers visited the town in October, identifying potential shoot locations.

It is understood the film has a budget of up to €10m and will be set in New Ross and Dublin, with auditions under way for parts.

Quay Street is set to be the main street to feature in the film, with the location team contacting business and home owners with a view to using the premises.

A snow scene is planned for the street and there is also strong consideration towards using The Tholsel building for some scenes.

The book is set during the weeks leading up to Christmas 1985 in New Ross and concerns Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man faces into his busiest season.

Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery which forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church.

St Mary's principal John Michael Porter was contacted by a production company in October, requesting permission to visit the school to scope out locations near the Good Shepherd convent premises beside it.

The scriptwriter was present too and a number of the production team. They had been in New Ross last week for an initial scoping exercise.

The book - which wowed Booker judges with its 116 page length and powerful storytelling – refers to a convent and a Magdalene Laundry.

The crew were unable to gain access to the old convent building which is earmarked for social housing, but were clearly so taken by the town that they decided to use it for a significant part of the film shoot.

Keegan gave a talk at the school in early December, adding to the excitement surrounding the likelihood of the film being shot, in part, in New Ross.

Two of the production crew discussed plans for the shoot with New Ross Municipal District outgoing manager Mick McCormack and current manager, Alan Fitzhenry in early January and discussions have continued as the start date for filming draws closer.

Murphy, who has had huge success on Peak Blinders, as well as in numerous Hollywood films, is not due to act in the film, but is said to be very involved in planning it and will likely make more appearances in the town over the coming weeks and months.

It is understood filming will take place in March and April, with cast and crew staying locally, providing a boost to the economy of New Ross and surrounding areas.

As the first major film production to be shot in the town it is expected to bring further positive attention to New Ross and Co Wexford, with an international release planned for 2024.

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