I wrote a TV se­ries for RTÉ, took my film to Can­nesand mourned my friend Tom Mur­phy: Mark O’Hal­lo­ran

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Cover Story -

Ac­tor and writer Mark O’Hal­lo­ran, from En­nis, Co Clare, wrote and starred in the award-win­ning film Adam and Paul in 2004. Since ap­pear­ing in The Ticket’s names to watch List 12 months ago, Mark has seen his TV se­ries Pros­per­ity gain huge rat­ing on RTÉ, and has won plau­dits and awards for his sec­ond fea­ture Garage. Mark also lost his friend and Adam and Paul co-star Tom Mur­phy, who died from can­cer in Oc­to­ber The past year has been a roller­coaster. There have been strange, ex­hil­a­rat­ing highs and then lows that I never want to ex­pe­ri­ence again. It was a year that I have cer­tainly learned a lot from, but not one that I’d will­ingly take on again. It be­gan in a frenzy of writ­ing. My television se­ries Pros­per­ity had been green-lit and I set­tled down on Jan­uary 1st to write the bulk of it. Four hours of television is a pretty big piece of work to take on and see­ing as we were plan­ning to shoot in early May, I had room for very lit­tle else in my life for the whole of spring.

There were other events of course. My sec­ond fea­ture film, Garage, was reach­ing the fi­nal stages of its com­ple­tion, and in mid-Fe­bru­ary, we dis­cov­ered that it had been ac­cepted into the Direc­tors’ Fort­night in Cannes. All dream-cometrue stuff. Great. Strange. Unimag­ined.

Then, in the sum­mer, I was free. I took to trav­el­ling a lit­tle. Al­ba­nia for a month (wild and funny). And then, in Au­gust, I felt I needed to get healthy. I de­cided to walk the Camino Frances across north­ern Spain to San­ti­ago de Com­postella and then fur­ther, to the sea at Finnesterre.

The walk had first been men­tioned to me by my friend Tom Mur­phy some time in the early 1990s, and it had oc­cu­pied my imag­i­na­tion ever since. And so, on Au­gust 18th, I headed off for four-and-a-half weeks and nearly 1,000km of blis­ter-filled, lifeen­hanc­ing agony. Lit­tle did I know then that within a week of my re­turn, my beloved friend Tom would be dead.

And so to the most im­por­tant event of the year. An event that makes all the oth­ers, all the film fes­ti­vals and pre­mieres and ca­reer stuff seem so triv­ial. The pass­ing of that great man. No one re­ally saw it com­ing.

He had been sick for so short a time and it sim­ply made no sense. It felt like he couldn’t die. It wasn’t right. He had too much to give and was too good a per­son to just leave us. But it did hap­pen, and it is a very dif­fer­ent world I live in now, know­ing that Tom is no longer here.

And though the pain of his loss has felt, at times, al­most un­bear­able, there was some­thing pos­i­tive I learned from it. That Tom had great friends and that I have great friends. Strong, car­ing, lovely peo­ple, and to­gether we share our loss and pain and grief and we help one an­other through. That gives me great courage for the fu­ture and it is some­thing I am go­ing to carry into the New Year with me,

fight­ing.

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