WATCH TRAILER: Story of a Newbridge bog oak sculptor told with superb vision

Daniel Balteanu reveals beauty of Kildare bogs and unique life of Conor Lane

Niamh O'Donoghue


Niamh O'Donoghue


WATCH TRAILER: Story of a Newbridge bog oak sculptor told with superb vision

Daniel Balteanu out filming

Living in Kildare, we may take the beauty of the bog for granted, or simply fail to grasp the real essence of this earthy landscape.

A new short documentary, Ancient Oak, which tells the story of a Newbridge bog oak sculptor, has blown that assumption to smithereens. The stunning overhead shots of the rich terrain are breathtaking.

Click here to see a trailer of the documentary.

So how did this photographer and filmmaker come to choose such a story? “For over 10 years, as a filmmaker and photographer, I had the privilege of travelling all over the country and I developed a huge interest in local traditions and crafts, especially in County Kildare, where I live,” said Daniel Balteanu.

”I wanted to do something interesting and artistic in this area. I did some research and contacted artists based in County Kildare that might be willing to share their story and craft. That’s how I met Conor Lane, a bog oak sculptor based in Roseberry, Newbridge.”

After meeting with him and discussing the project, Daniel was hooked on the subject of bog oak.

That was the start of the journey.

“It took just under a year to complete, quite a bit longer than I anticipated, due to lack of finance. The documentary is self-funded and I partnered with Danny, a friend and colleague, from Elevate Motion,” he explained.

Living in Sallins for ten years now, Daniel said he loves the area and the people.

“I was introduced to the whole experience of the bog by my wife, who is from Kildare. She told me lots of stories about cutting and stacking turf back in the day. We visited a lot of bog areas and I became captivated by them. I think they are unique places to Ireland and I always wanted to film something about them.”

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Daniel has worked on various documentaries, shorts and feature films for TV, such as the award-winning Congo: An Irish Affair, and he was the cinematographer on the recent film, The Limit Of, directed by Alan Mulligan.

“This has just been nominated for the Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) award for Best Supporting Actress,” he said.

“For the future, I would like to do more projects in County Kildare and promote what I think is a beautiful county.

“At the moment, I’m developing another video project, in connection with the Grand Canal in Kildare. It would be nice to have some funding this time.”

At the moment, he is also busy marketing the Ancient Oak documentary.

“So far, it has been officially selected at the Belfast and Bucharest Film Festivals. It’s also been nominated for Best Short Documentary at the Barcelona Film Festival.”

With such unique shots featuring the mist rolling over the rustic landscape and the varied hue dappled textured treescape, Kildare people certainly won’t have seen the bog from this kind of vantage point.

Conor’s story is also intriguing as he talks of his love of place and his artistic work. Slow motion action shots of him carving, are simply stunning.

Conor Lane describing his love of bog oak sculpting

An overhead shot of Roseberry bog and surrounding landscape