'Arise, You Gallant Sweeneys!' documents a road trip made in late summer 2008 by an unusual and memorable band of travellers.
At the core of this film lie the experiences of a group of Irish working men who travelled to the UK as very young men in the 1950s and 60s, and who never made it home. The documentary asks what happened to these men, who built the motorways of post-war Britain, when they reached the end of the road.
Older now and frailer, some have tramped a harsh life. We follow as they embark on a rambling, emotional and ultimately celebratory journey back to families, villages and dreams left behind a generation before. As they retrace their steps, new and long forgotten narratives begin to unfold.
However, this is not just a film about the men, it is a film by them. The film is unique in that the group retains directorial and collective ownership over all the material produced. Members of the Long Distance Gang (named in homage to a shared working history) have wide-ranging experiences; amongst them musicians, artists, film-makers, activists, survivors of orphanages, care systems, street homelessness, alcohol dependency, sectarian violence, domestic violence, and enduring mental health problems.
All proceeds from sales of this DVD go towards the Stor Mo Chroi fund which supports holidays and other social opportunities for older Irish people.