Sound mixer Dan Birch at Pigeon Hse carpark
During Ireland’s coldest January for 25 years the last sight local walkers expected to see was a film crew shooting in an exposed Dublin Bay car park. The four-week shoot for Parked kicked off with six days in the coastal car park in the centre of Dublin’s expansive, semicircular bay. The area is essentially industrial, dominated by the two tall chimneys of the electrical power station that are a distinctive landmark of the nation’s capital. Exposed to all of the elements – gale force onshore winds, rain and snow, sand and sleet – it makes for an inhospitable shooting environment, but one that suits the story perfectly.

The fiction debut of documentary director Darragh Byrne, Parked centres on Fred Daly, a man who returns to his hometown after spending many years away and has nowhere to live but the car he arrives in. Fred is played by Irish acting legend Colm Meaney. ‘Fred doesn’t like to be an outsider,’ comments Meaney. ‘He very much wants to blend in. He wants to be part of something but he is not quite sure how to do it.’ A proud man, whose life has shrunk to a series of mundane routines, Fred’s world is opened up by the arrival of Cathal, a chaotic, dope-smoking 21-year-old who also pulls up in the car park and makes it his home.

Producer Dominic Wright explains, ‘Parked reflects a very real way of life for many people. The global economic crisis means there are lot of people out there in a similar situation to Fred who find themselves suddenly with no job and no real home to speak of, looking for a way back into society. The “mobile homeless” is a very real phenomenon. Parked could be anyone’s story.’ Colm Meaney agrees, ‘This could take place anywhere. It’s a universal story. There are people living like this all over the world. I don’t think this is particularly an Irish reality.’