This HDTV documentary series explores some of the most beautiful and magical parts of Ireland, while experiencing the people, culture, and history of this enchanting country.
Episode 1: “The Emerald Isle” This first episode is a stunning introduction to the remarkable island economy of Ireland, which has progressed from one of Europe’s poorest to one with the second largest GNP in Europe. It begins in Dublin, and then explore’s Ireland’s canal system, which spans the country and is experiencing a rebirth as a tourist attraction for canal cruising. The rock of Cashel is home to one of the more spectacular castle ruins in Ireland, and also home to the performing dance troupe of Bru Boru, which keeps you on the edge of your seat with a stunning performance of historic dance and music. A historic village, Colonel is the base to enjoy and experience rural life in Southern Ireland, with horseback riding, and the ubiquitous Irish pub as the centerpiece of the story. Finally, we experience the last day of races in the coastal village of Tramore, and visit the famous stud farms of County Claire.
Episode 2: “Mystical Journey” The Irish celebrate and pursue a multitude of passions with vigor, namely their passion for music, which is evident through the plentiful music festivals scattered across the countryside. For four days each August, the village of Kilrush, along the northwest coast, comes alive as it holds an annual music festival. The Irish landscape is home to the passage tombs of Knowth, and Dowth, a group of such graves excavated to reveal archaeological intelligence dating back as early as 3500 BC. Newgrange, Ireland’s most famous megalithic mound, attracts a staggering two million visitors every year. Ireland’s proximity to the sea naturally led to an industry of commercial fishing, and eventually a progression to fishing for sport and recreation. The Moy River in Ballina, County Mayo, is one of the most famous salmon and sea trout rivers of Ireland. Sport fishing is a huge business in Ireland, and in addition to saltwater and sea run fish, fly fishing inland on small streams and rivers is also popular. If castles pique your curiosity, there are a wide variety of ancient medieval fortresses to explore, such as the Blarney Castle, home of the famous “Blarney Stone.” The city of Waterford, of Waterford Crystal fame, houses Reginald’s Tower, the largest of the six surviving towers of the wall that once enclosed medieval Waterford. Hospitality, friendliness, conversation, warmth, comfort, beauty, music, and history are all part and parcel through a mystical and magnificent journey through Ireland.
Episode 3: “A Celtic Treasure” On the northwest coast of Ireland, the cliffs of Moher draw over one million tourists every year. The coastal road that runs north from the cliffs of Moher to Galway passes through some of Ireland’s most rugged, barren and inhospitable country called the Burren. Inland, the village of Foxford tells the story of a determined young woman who created the Foxford Woolen Mill, which brought jobs, food, and self-respect to the village. The Bed and Breakfast establishments scattered across the country are thriving businesses, which welcome travelers, and supply them with accommodations, and more importantly, conversation and insight into Irish home life. The northwest coast of Ireland is rugged, beautiful, and relatively untamed, home to the ancient defense relic Grianan of Aileach, and the tribal seat of the Oniells of Ulster, which is one of he most remarkable of all Ireland’s antiquities. The gate that leads into the town of Londonderry, now alive, well and eager for tourism, encloses a history of violence and conflict. Dulunce castle, above the cliffs of the north coast, has a colorful and wild history. Bushmills distillery, the oldest in Ireland, dates back to the early 17th century, and is now one of the highlights of the north coast. Finally, the small village of Rath Cairn in County Meath is one of the only few places recognized as an official Gaelic area. Here they have made a life and a business of teaching traditional Irish language, music and tradition. The revelry and merrymaking has survived the passage of time, perhaps changing in form, but certainly not in enthusiasm.
Episode 4: “Castles & Historic Treasures” This 4th program in the “Discoveries… Ireland” series explores many of this island’s historic gems. There are so many heritage sites in Ireland that you’d probably need a lifetime just to scratch the surface of it’s spectacular history. Ireland’s turbulent past gave rise to many castles, abbeys, moats & fortified houses scattered throughout the country & truly paved the way for the island’s optimistic present & future. From world heritage ruins & passage tombs like Knowth, Dowth & Newgrange all built around 3000 B.C. To the Hill of Tara which was the seat of high kings in Ireland. To Medieval ecclesiastical castles like the Rock of Cashel & defensive fortresses like James Fort & the star fort of Charles Fort. There are ancient remnants like Mollough, Knock Graffen & Hore Abbeys some of which may be out in the middle of a farmer’s field, completely unguarded and open to anyone passing by to explore. There’s Blarney Castle with its famous Stone of Eloquence, Trim Castle which is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland and where the movie “Braveheart” was filmed, Dunluce Castle with it’s spectacular perch on the cliffs of the North Antrim coast and also beautifully restored Kilkenny Castle. There are even castle hotels, some of which are owned by original families, that open their ancestral homes to the public by offering fine accommodations, restaurants, golf & other activities as in Waterford & Markree Castles.
Episode 5: “Music & Dance, A Rich Culture” Irish traditions are celebrated with passion & energy in a land where music & dance is as much a part of the culture as shamrocks & leprecons. The pub lies at the heart of cultural, social & musical life in Ireland. Here you can contemplate the meaning of life, ruminate on politics, listen to a poetry reading, tap your feet to an impromptu session, feast on pub grub or just enjoy the quiet setting of a pint of Guinness in front of a warm fire. As early as the 10th Century B.C. there are documents referring to Irish music, which consisted mainly of the harp & small drums. Through the ages more instruments & styles became part of Irish music tradition. For many folks the only form of entertainment was what they could create for themselves. A group would gather in the kitchen (the usual gathering spot!) & using brooms, spoons, a piece of wood or skin drum & with their voices create lively entertainment of dancing, clogging & song. The residents of Raith Cairn Village in County Meath, one of the few remaining Irish language enclaves where people actually conduct their daily business in Irish, perform on stage to educate and keep the Gaelic traditions and native language alive. In Northwest Ireland, music festivals are everywhere! It’s an extraordinary way to spend the summer moving from one festival to another with a stop in a pub for a pint & more music. This 5th episode of Discoveries…Ireland begins in Kilrush at Mrs Crotty’s music festival then travels around the country to sample a wide variety of great Irish music & dance. From single players or small groups on the streets and cafes to scenic attractions like the Cliffs of Moher, to larger performances like Bru Boru who have given Irish traditional music, song & dance a whole new stature in the world of entertainment.
LENGTH: 5 x 60 Minutes
INTERNATIONAL TRACK: Yes
CLOSED CAPTIONS: No
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
PRODUCTION YEAR: 2001
RELEASE YEAR: 2001
SUPPLIER: Bennett Watt Entertainment
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
RIGHTS TERRITORY: Worldwide