2015 Press Releases

Cinema release gives A Doctor’s Sword the edge

5 Aug 2015
Pictured: Dr Aidan MacCarthy, standing third from left during his UCC days

UCC will host a gala screening of A Doctor’s Sword, which centres on the extraordinary life of graduate Dr Aidan MacCarthy, on 6 August ahead of the film's cinema release.

A Doctor’s Sword tells the incredible story of Aidan MacCarthy - a UCC-trained medic from West Cork who survived some of the most harrowing episodes of World War II (including the atomic bombing of Nagasaki) - and his family’s search to uncover the origin of a Japanese Samurai sword, which now resides in MacCarthy’s Bar in Castletownbere, Co. Cork.

The gala screening in honour of Dr MacCarthy will be attended by the filmmakers, Gary Lennon and Bob Jackson, and Dr MacCarthy’s family, as well as dignitaries including the Japanese Cultural Attaché Mr Yuichi Yamada, the Deputy Head of Mission Mr Kojiro Uchiyama and Senior Defence Official Lt Col Sean Cosden, who will attend on behalf of the American Embassy.

Speaking about the event, Dr Michael Murphy, President of UCC said:

“University College Cork is proud to play its part in honouring the indomitable spirit of Dr Aidan MacCarthy, a UCC medicine graduate. His incredible sacrifices, capacity for empathy and legacy continue to inspire UCC and non-UCC students alike as they make their way in the world. The release of this documentary will only serve to further heighten public awareness nationally and internationally of the story of a courageous young doctor from West Cork who personified resilience and reconciliation.”

Dr Aidan MacCarthy's experience stands out as one of the most remarkable survival stories of World War II. He lived through Dunkirk and was later captured by the Japanese in Java. He spent four years as a prisoner of war and was just a few hundred metres away from the detonation of the atomic bomb in Nagasaki. He was the first non-Japanese doctor to assist in the relief effort after the bombing, which happened 70 years ago next month.

From the ashes of Nagasaki Aidan MacCarthy was given a sword by a Japanese officer, but its provenance was shrouded in mystery. Embarking on a trip to Japan, Aidan’s daughter Niki attempts to find the Japanese officer that gave Dr MacCarthy his ancestral sword. On her journey she discovers much more about her father's life, and gains a greater understanding of the war from both the Allied and Japanese sides. Recreated through animation, this is a story of survival, forgiveness and how humanity can scale the highest heights.

A Doctor’s Sword premiered at the Cork Film Festival last November to a sold-out crowd, prompting a second screening and earning rave reviews ('Incredible’ - Newstalk). The film also garnered much buzz when it screened last week at the Galway Film Fleadh, where the Irish Time’s Donald Clarke commended the story.

The film was produced by Bob Jackson with funding from the BAI, IFB, UCC, Cork City Council and Cork County Council Arts Office.

The Gala screening will take place on Thursday, 6 August in UCC.

A Doctor’s Sword will be released in cinemas in Cork and Dublin by Wildcard Distribution on Friday, 7 August, with more screens to follow.

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF