Searching for Memories of Westmeath’s ‘Big Houses’ for New Documentary

Work begins on a documentary video that will present memories of life in and around the ‘big houses’ of Westmeath.

Producers are looking for people to come into contact with family memories of life in and around these ‘Grandes Maisons’. They are keen to capture the memories of resident families as well as those of people who worked or had other connections with these homes.

The documentary will focus on the years 1913-1923. It is produced by Bailey and Blake Productions, in conjunction with Westmeath County Council, supported by funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture, the Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media as part of their Decade program of Centenaries.

“We would love to hear, and maybe record, anyone’s stories of family memories from the past 100 years in and around the Big Houses. Did your grandfather or grandmother work in any of the houses? Did they have any connection with the household supply as a butcher, baker or candle maker? Do their parents? Did they tell you those stories, if so, we’d love to hear them, “said filmmaker Oliver Fallen of Blake and Bailey Production.

“We are also looking forward to seeing old photographs of these grand houses, old family photographs from the time that could capture life in and around the region during the first decades of the 19th century would also be welcome,” adds he does.

Oliver goes on to say that they hope to tour on location in and around the Great Houses, wherever they are granted permission to do so.

The “big houses” were the houses of the local owners and were often part of large estates.

“We are delighted to be working with Blake and Bailey Production on this project to collect memories of life in and around the ‘Big Houses’. We will also establish links with our historians in residence on this project, ”said Melanie McQuade, Heritage Officer.

Blake and Bailey ( is an award-winning production company. One of their many productions ‘The Blacksmith of Moydrum’ was released during Heritage Week last year:

If you would like to share your family memories (whether on camera or voice recording) or if you have any old photographs that you would like to share with the project, contact Oliver Fallen: [email protected] or send your name and number by SMS to 087 2539010 and he will answer you.

The photographs will be scanned and returned to the owners. Alternatively, for people who would rather not post their photographs, Oliver Fallen can meet up with you and capture those old photographs on camera.

For more details on the project, contact [email protected] or 087 6074496.

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