Pilgrimage to Pallasgreen at Easter for Passion 2014

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

Crown of thorns: the cast of the Passion 2014 includes Garry Fraher, who has taken over the role of Jesus, are rehearsing five nights a week and, below, are leaving no stone unturned to make it as realistic as possible. Pictures: Michael O'Riordan
Christmas is just over and a new year begun but all thoughts in Pallasgreen are on Easter.

Christmas is just over and a new year begun but all thoughts in Pallasgreen are on Easter.

After much research the organisers of Passion 2014 in Nicker believe it is a world first.

Over 24 hours they will recreate the Passion of Our Lord from the “agony at Gethsemane to his final crucifixion”. It will include the flogging of Jesus, a crown of thorns placed upon his head and being put up on the cross.

Garry Fraher, who takes on the role of Jesus, will actually spend time on a cross and all night in a grotto. The attention to detail is shown by the powerful photograph by Michael O’Riordan. They commissioned Cappamore artist, blacksmith Eric O’Neill to specially make the nails.

Since they launched their plans last November, joint PRO with Mike Gleeson, Ger O’Connell said there has been a huge reaction - locally and globally.

“We believe this will be a special moment for Limerick. Already it has grabbed the imagination of so many, including groups from Great Britain, France, USA and Denmark, as well as many parts of Ireland.

“For example, a group of monks from Donegal are making it their pilgrimage,” said Mr O’Connell.

It will take place from Holy Thursday to Good Friday, April 17 and 18, and follow the timeline as accurately as they possibly can.

“Passion 2014 will be depicted in real time and in an unequalled interactive fashion.

“This event is a world first and the unique location lends itself perfectly to the most dramatic story ever told,” said Mr O’Connell, who adds that “no stone has been left unturned” and it is a “big team effort”.

A number of costumes have been purchased in America and they have even imported six oil lamps from Nazareth in Israel. You can’t get more authentic than that. As well as making or buying the best props they can find the group of around 35 have been working on costumes, photographs, sound, lighting and promotions since November.

The dedicated cast are currently rehearsing five nights a week. You can even spot the male members of the cast as they go about their daily lives as their beards are growing and their hair is getting longer

“You’ll come to live this, walk in his footsteps, feel his pain,” say organisers. The project is produced and directed by RTE award winning actor Eamonn Harty, whose passion for the Passion has to be seen to believed.

“People are used to curtains opening and closing; there will be no curtains closing, no exact times. We want the audience to live every moment with us.

“They will not see everything, they will not hear everything but our challenge is to make them feel everything,” said Mr Harty.

This reporter was lucky enough to get a sneak preview on a dark and wet November Eve. With no care for his personal safety Mr Harty falls to the ground, stares into your eyes and proclaims to the heavens.

“We are going to grab them and we are going to hold them,” he says.

They have already received tremendous support but with such a major undertaking the project group are seeking support from people who may like to get involved.

“As a sponsor, helper etc, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with the promotions team,” said Mr O’Connell.

Email germoconnell@gmail.com or passion2014pallasgreen@gmail.com or ring 086-2148675; 086-8224996.

They are also holding a corporate night in the Woodlands at 8pm on Monday, January 20 where guests will get a 30 minute preview of what the crowds can expect to see on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

“We firmly believe this project will be something people will still be talking about many years from now as the cast and crew are determined to produce something that will be truly memorable,” he said.