“You’re going to love this movie!”
There was no escaping my Mom’s enthusiasm. I had not even heard of “The Secret of Roan Inish”, but my mother is renowned for her exquisite taste in all things, so obviously I didn’t question her judgement.
I was born in Miramichi, New Brunswick. The salt and sand is in my blood. Many legends speak of those born near the water and if they find themselves landlocked, they experience an indescribable longing that lasts all their days. So understandably, I have always been drawn to any story that takes place near the water. Even a glimpse of that life is enough to sustain me, if only for a little while.
The Secret of Roan Inish is set on the West Coast of Ireland in the 1940’s. It follows a girl named Fiona who is sent to live with her Grandparents. She soon becomes privy to the whisperings in the Village concerning her family’s relationship with the Selkies of Roan Inish and the truth about the disappearance of her baby brother, swept out to sea in his cradle.
Selkies are a part of the Faerie Realm and can be found in Icelandic, Faroese, Scottish, and Irish legends. They live as seals but are able to shed their skins and live on land. If you find a Selkie’s skin and hide it from them, they are not able to return to their true form. Many fishermen have taken Selkie brides, but soon realize that human rules do not apply to these beautiful and mysterious creatures. Not much has been written about Selkie men, but I do know that they typically seek out women who are unhappy in their marriages. If a woman wants to call to a male Selkie, she must shed 7 tears into the sea. This love affair will be like no other, but be warned, the Selkies cannot stay. They must return to the sea, often leaving heartbreak in their wake.
My mother was right. “The Secret of Roan Inish” is a beautiful film and remains one of my favorites. I went on a girls weekend to Canmore, Alberta a few years ago and brought it for our movie night. As I was watching it, something occurred to me that hadn’t before. A “what if” question started to form and from that, a story was born. There’s nothing more exciting than diving deep into the myths and legends of the Faerie Realm. I am still in the research phase and look forward to seeing where this one takes me.
“The Secret of Roan Inish” is based on the novel “The Secret of Ron Mor Skerry” by Rosalie K Fry and newer editions of the book now boast the same title as the film.