"Come Back"
by Kevin Hughes

  • Arrow Showing 24th - 26th Nov

Butler Gallery is pleased to present "Come Back", a film by Kevin Hughes showing in our Digital Gallery from Friday 24th November to Sunday 26th November.


“Come Back” is a short film set in Kilkenny just as the Irish Civil War is coming to an end. This film combines a number of true stories that took place in Kilkenny at that time into one story that follows a young boy cycling from his cottage home in the country to Kilkenny. He comes across two free state soldiers chasing and mortally wounding an IRA man on the run.

As the boy attempts to escape the horrific scene he just witnessed, he runs into another even more tragic event.

Press Release

“Come Back” is the final film in a trilogy of films made by Kevin Hughes over the last 3 years that explores local history through true stories set during the War of Independence in 1919 to 1921 and The Civil War between 1922 and 1923. All three films were supported by Kilkenny County Council and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht and Media.

Kevin explains “It’s amazing how historic events can ripple down to us through time. When you look back on history, you get a different perspective on the events that took place over a 100 years ago. Film has a way of exploring events and bringing them to life and when you do that, the human factor and the pain and suffering endured come into sharp focus and you see the legacy of war and violence and how it has shaped our nation and us as a people.”

“Come Back", made during the summer of 2023, utilised many local talent in the cast and crew. “Kilkenny is known as a creative hub. Many artists of various disciplines have congregated in this region and there is no shortage of untapped talent, just waiting for projects to come along to practice their skills,” adds Kevin.

He is very appreciative of Anna O’Sullivan, Director and Chief Curator in Butler Gallery and her fantastic team who have facilitated the showing of all three films. Kevin says “It’s so very important that a film gets exhibited in the area it is set in and Butler Gallery has been fantastic, they have allowed an audience in Kilkenny the opportunity to see these films. These are local stories so there is a direct connection to the people of Kilkenny.”

The film was shot over two days just outside Kilkenny City near the lake in Wallslough. The film's post production took place at Wallslough Studios.

“Making a period film like this has many challenges” Kevin explains, “Trying to find locations without modern infrastructure is difficult. You have to remember Ireland didn’t have telephones or electricity in 1923 so it was a challenge to find roads with no poles for the cycling scenes. At one stage we had to remove a telephone pole digitally in post. Another challenge was sourcing authentic costumes, especially in a film with a limited budget like we had. When you have guns on set, safety measures are very important and we collaborated with one of Ireland's leading special effects and stunts team to train our cast and crew and oversee scenes with guns.”

The film has some amazing music specially created by Marian Ingoldsby. Other music was played by local musician Billy Carrigan on uilleann pipes and low whistle and James Rice on piano.

Support to make the films came from the Decade of Centenaries Programme which was a nationwide initiative to support projects that commemorate a complex period of Irish history from 1912 to 1923.

Kevin's next major project is a feature-length film set in Kilkenny called “The Glass Girl” which he hopes to shoot in early 2024.

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