Comic actor Ardal O’Hanlon, explores the Emerald Isle and Irish life as he goes off the beaten track around his beloved homeland.
Using a series of Victorian guidebooks written by Mr & Mrs S C Hall to tempt the English over to Ireland, Ardal meets the people who make the country the great nation it is. He roams from small towns to idiosyncratic attractions, detours from pulpit to pub and rejoices in the unique festivities and characters you can only find in Ireland.
Ireland with Ardal O’Hanlon unearths and reveals an Ireland you could only know by having grown up there.
Production Company – Big Mountain Productions
Series Producer/Director – Christopher Bruce
Executive Producers – Jane Kelly, Philip McGovern
Ardal spent five years playing a curate in Father Ted and knows better than most what makes an Irish stereotype and when it comes to Belief in Ireland there are a lot of pre-conceptions.
But what are they and why do they exist?
From Fairies and Leprechauns to Ghost Hunting and Tidy Towns, not to mention a deep reverence of the Church, Ardal is determined to find out if the people of Ireland are predisposed to fate and faith?
In County Clare he tracks down Ireland’s last great matchmaker, Willy Daly, responsible for over a hundred marriages but does he and his matchmaking book, handed down through generations, really have magical powers?
10% of the Irish population are redheads What does it mean to have fiery hair? Ardal meets members of the Red Head movement in Crosshaven village pub for a ceilidh – and to find out why they are certain the colour of their hair makes them different.
On a visit to a secret location, Ardal questions the power of unfaltering faith when he hears one woman’s story of how she believes a Holy relic saved her life.
And on his first ever visit to Blarney Castle, Ardal discovers that there may be a sting in the tail to the most famous Irish superstition of the lot.
Ardal joins a group of Irish Travellers for a rare visit inside one of their houses and pulls back the curtain on the lives and language of one of Ireland’s oldest and least understood groups of people.
As his searches for what makes the Irish – well Irish – he uncovers a new generation embracing the traditions of the past; joins the painting of a post box from green to red and green again to symbolise the 1916 uprising. A meeting with the mothers of young hurlers reveals how and why the sport, like horse racing, is engrained in the Irish psyche. Ardal’s journey concludes at one of Ireland’s most mysterious locations, a sous terrain and huge crater where Ardal is forced to confront his own sense of identity.
Ardal investigates how the Irish became such great storytellers and why they are so obsessed with myths and legends. His journey begins at one of the most remote locations in all of the country, a little known ancient ring fort accessible only by rowing boat. The spectacular setting makes him question why Irish folk tales are often so dark “no Lady Godivas or Dick Whittingtons here” he muses.
Travelling to Co. Louth, the smallest county in Ireland he uncover the nation’s oldest story but in Derry he reveals the origins of one of its newest – now famed around the world.
From the Dark Hedges of Stranocum, a natural phenomenon 240 hundred years old to the modern day docks of Belfast he follows the trail of Ireland’s biggest international story – ‘Game of Thrones’ and practices his self-defence skills . Ultimately he discovers that even in death the telling of the most important story of all is that of life.