Documentary on One

Kicking The Bucket

A look at the lighter side of illness, death, dying and grief. A series of workshops called 'Kicking The Bucket' took place in Limerick and the aim was to make art work for an exhibition relating to death. A humorous, yet serious documentary (2016)

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4.3/5 (146 ratings)

Documentary Maker: Katie Verling

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Documentary-maker: Ronan Kelly

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Sarah Blake

Sarah is a multi-award winning documentary maker and producer.

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Kicking The Bucket

Kicking the Bucket looks at the lighter side of illness, death, dying and grief.  In early 2016, a series of workshops took place in Limerick at which participants decided to face death full-on and make something of it.

Many of those there had experienced serious loss in their lives and some were ill or had been recently seriously ill - but, all were curious.

They discussed ‘good' funerals and ‘bad' funerals,  euphemisms for death (“bought the farm”, “gone tits up!”)

The aim of the workshops was to make art work for an exhibition relating to death.  One woman made her own coffin, another made a veil for a corpse, another made traditional American ‘death cookies’ to be eaten at a funeral.

While not all of the group were artists, the exhibition included accomplished art work like, ‘life masks’ (death masks of people still alive),  skeletons dancing to the Bee Gees “Staying Alive” and a miniature model of an Italian egg-shaped coffin.

The "Kicking The Bucket” project was organised by Sinéad Dinneen and Katie Verling.   Sinéad is an artist whose work is about her experience of living with ovarian cancer.  Katie has worked in the arts for most of her life until a diagnosis of leukaemia and long-term health issues "put a stop to my gallop”. 

Sinead and Katie are friends.  Katie says, “we share a sense of humour, a passion for the arts and culture, and a commitment to explore the reality of illness, dying, death and grief”.  

Kicking the Bucket follows Sinéad, Katie and their fellow ‘bucket kickers’ through the four-month creative process culminating in the public exhibition of their work in May 2016.

Kicking the Bucket is a humorous, yet serious documentary with moments of searing honesty and lots of life- affirming laughter.

Produced by Katie Verling with Sarah Blake and Ronan Kelly

Additional recording: Patrick Lynch, Damian Coughlan and Brian Doyle.

Narrator: Ronan Kelly


First Broadcast Saturday November 26th at 2pm. 

Repeated Sunday 27th November 2016 at 7pm.


Kicking the Bucket Facebook page 

Sinead Dinneen Facebook page 

Katie Verling Facebook page 


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Some links that may be of help if you have been affected by issues touched upon in this documentary:

Irish Cancer Society

Irish Hospice Foundation

Barnardos Children's Bereavement Service

Milford Care Centre, Limerick

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An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries.

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