A Silent War - Storm of the Century (I.S.L.)



Belfast, University of Atypical





04min 01sec







Northern Ireland Screen's Digital Film Archive


Hands That Sign, Jane O'Brien, Ross Thompson

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Northern Ireland Screen, Ross Thompson

It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.


Storm of the Century by Ross Thompson, written during lockdown 2020

Remember ten years ago the country was hit,

      full force,

by a cold front so fierce that no amount of grit

      could thaw the ice.

No shovel could dig out the snowfall

and return the sucker-punched country to normal.

Well, just before the storm drew in, I was rushing

      through town,

trying to get to my car, pushing and shoving

       through crowds

to reach home before the police closed the motorway

and blocked safe passage and promises I had made.

Halfway to the bay, I stopped in the skirmish when

       I noticed

a family, dead still in the melee, staring

      like tourists

at a plateau of black cloud covering the tips

of spires and roofs, dropping down like a mothership,

unfurling wings of inky black and slate grey curls

       to reveal

further swirling folds of bitter cold to which we

       would soon yield.

In years to come, when someone asks me for the facts,

I will say: waiting for the virus felt like that. 


Storm of the Century by Ross Thompson 

ISL translation and performance by Jane O'Brien

Filmed in University of Atypical by Stuart Calvin

Produced by Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell for Northern Ireland Screen

A Silent War Creative Producers: Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell & Ann Donnelly

Funded by the Department for Communities through Northern Ireland Screen



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