Limerick Passion 2014 launched to public acclaim

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

The crown of thorns lies beside Jesus, played by Garry Fraher, at the end of the performance at the official launch of Passion 2014 in Ballykisteen Hotel. Picture: Mike O'Riordan
WHEN JESUS was lowered from a cross six feet high in the air and mourned on the floor by Mary a lady in the audience blessed herself.

WHEN JESUS was lowered from a cross six feet high in the air and mourned on the floor by Mary a lady in the audience blessed herself.

This was the reaction the organisers and cast of Passion 2014 wanted at their official launch. They gave a crowd of over 250 in the Ballykisteen Hotel a sense of what to expect when the Passion of Our Lord will be recreated over 24 hours in Nicker, Pallasgreen on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, April 17 and 18.

A large turnout witnessed a 90 minute excerpt on Friday night which left the attendance speechless. It opened with Jesus, acted by Garry Fraher, walking through the crowd in the hotel foyer and into the Garden of Gethsemane. He prays and is tempted by Satan, Martin Cosgrave. Judas, Keith Ryan, approaches with the temple guards and betrays Jesus with a kiss on the cheek.

After Jesus is arrested, Caiaphas, played Brian O’Neill, holds trial with his fellow priests. Jesus is condemned to death for blasphemy.

As Jesus has the crown of thorns placed upon his head, the blood flows down his face. Remember this is an ‘amateur’ production but the level of detail is professional standard.

Jesus is strung up in the air by a pulley system. With incredible strength Gary stands barefoot on a piece of wood for minutes before he is lowered to the floor. The photo shows his body is caressed as cries of anguish reverberated around the room.

“Powerful” and “moving” were the most common words uttered by the crowd as they left. Producer and director, Eamonn Harty, was exhausted but immensely proud.

“That would be an understatement. It was unbelievable. I hope it was unbelievable. We had to try and leave ye punch drunk tonight to prove to people.

“Everybody that came into the room felt something I hope. It was beautiful. I am delighted for them that it went so well. Every single person connected to it is putting their heart and soul into it,” said Eamonn, who wished to make special mention of three people.

“Susan Kelly and Dara Fraher - the amount of groundwork they have done is magnificent,” said Eamonn.

The other person he singled out was Ger O’Connell of the media promotion team.

“He is a goldmine for our parish and any parish would be lucky to have him. He is the reason we are getting the word out so well, he is incredible. Those three people I want to pick out especially and the whole group won’t mind - they have worked their back sides off,” said Eamonn.

Mike Gleeson, of the media promotions team, said at the end: “Jesus has started his walk towards his crucifixion, we want you to walk with him”. To continue their fundraising drive an event called Fashion for the Passion takes place in the Strand Hotel on Thursday, March 27. Tickets, €20, selling fast - 0868147485.