Movie Mogul of Misery Hill

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Leading a one-man crusade to transform Ringsend into Dublin’s answer to Hollywood is local film-maker Pat Larkin. He’s just wrapped his latest short, The Answer Machine, which he describes as, “a Hitchcock-style thriller, set in the seventies.”

The short film is adapted from one of the stories in Larkin’s book, The Misery Hill Murders, which features 11 tales based around fictional murders in the Ringsend area.

Larkin shoots all his movies in Ringsend, using a cast and crew of professionals working together as a co-operative. “I don’t get funding from anybody so have to produce them myself with the help of friends from the film business and the local community,” he says. “I write and direct them myself, and professionals fill all the other roles.”

A decade ago, Larkin began working in the Irish film industry, driving actors to film sets and locations. It was through this that he quickly developed an interest in film-making, and four years ago he established his production company, Misery Hill Films.

For the past five years, Larkin has been filming an ongoing project titled Memories of a Lifetime, which documents the lives of the elderly residents in Ringsend. “When locals reach their seventies I sit down with a camera and get their life stories, get them to go back as far as they can, to their parents and grandparents, and store it all as an archive,” he says. “That will go on permanently as long as I can do it and hopefully someone else will take over after me.”

So far, Larkin has documented the lives of 15 locals, including Paddy ‘Scissors’ Ryan, former film projectionist of Ringsend’s Regal cinema, famed for cutting the length of a film to allow him time for a pint after work, and Paddy Piggott, who spent years shovelling coal in the Gas Company furnaces.

“I get amazing stories off these people,” Larkin says. “Some people have great memories. They may not be able to tell you what happened in the last 10 years but they can go back to their childhood and tell you their headmaster’s name and where their father used to work.”

Larkin has these accounts preserved digitally and is in the process of submitting them to the archive of Pearse Street library so locals can access them freely. He also hopes to publish a book featuring those he’s interviewed and their fascinating stories.

Determined to spread his love of film to the area, Larkin regularly visits St Patrick’s Boys School, where he screens his films and lectures sixth class pupils on the film-making process.

With the recent advances in consumer grade equipment, Larkin believes film-making is now accessible to everyone. “Film-making was always out of people’s reach but now you can make a film with your phone,” he says. “You don’t really have to rent expensive equipment anymore to make a film; The Answer Machine was shot with a Canon 5, a stills camera that also has a perfect high-definition video recorder.”

Larkin is currently planning to interview the ancestors of fishermen who came from Torbay in England to settle in Ringsend. If you have any information, you can email him at

Pictured: Pat Larkin of Misery Hill Films with a collection of props and posters from his movies

By Eric Hillis