15 October 2015

A lion roams in Fairview

Bill Stephens
... and we don't mean Bill Whelan from Fairview, Dublin, doyen of old-time banjo in this island. Bill, however, is the co-producer (with Lorraine Kennedy and director Joe Lee) of the 76-minute colour documentary film Fortune's wheel, which began showing at the Irish Film Institute in Dublin in June, won the Dublin Film Critics Circle Award for Best Irish Documentary at the Jameson Dublin Film Festival this year, and will be shown at the Cork Film Festival on 11 November.

The film tells the story of another Fairview man, Bill Stephens (photo), who made his name as a lion tamer. One of his lions escaped in Fairview in November 1951, causing great public excitement, and had to be shot when Stephens was bitten while trying to recover it. Fourteen months later, he was killed by another lion. Many Fairview residents share their memories on film; and Bill Whelan can be seen in the trailer on YouTube. More details of the film (which has its own Facebook) are on the Irish Film Institute website.

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