Last weekend the Cork Film Festival closed after 11 days of screenings showcased over 300 films from 63 countries and attracted an audience of around 20,000 people.
This was a considerable social and cultural achievement for a regional city on the very edge of Europe — and it has been for the last 64 years.
The festival hangs it hat on the idea of bringing film that might not otherwise reach city screens but, just like all the other deeply appreciated festivals in the city and across the country, it is as much about participation, about meeting friends as it it is about film.
Cinema may be the conduit but conviviality is the context.
Persistent attendance numbers despite ever-greater options around online home viewing seem to confirm this comforting reality.
The festival seems a weather vane for an increasingly confident Ireland.
Some decades ago, when Hollywood sent its minor stars to swan the city it was hopelessly starstruck.
No longer. Fawning has been replaced by respect and appreciation — reasons enough to sustain such a valuable festival.