The Forgotten Irish


About this Item

'The Forgotten Irish' is a community of Irish people living over two thousand miles from Ireland in Newfoundland, Canada, whose ancestors left their home country six generations ago. 'Radharc' looks at a colony of Irish people for whom time has stood still.

  • Title
    The Forgotten Irish
  • 1st Broadcast
  • Contributor
    Aidan O'Hara (Reporter)
    Donal Wylde (Camera)
    Pat Hayes (Sound)
    Al O'Donnell (Music)
    Dermod McCarthy (Director)
  • Clip Duration
  • Material Type
  • Series title
  • Clip title
    The Forgotten Irish
  • Extended description

    They speak with Irish accents, use Gaelic phrases, sing Irish songs, use old Irish farming techniques and gut fish the way their ancestors did in the 18th century. Aidan O'Hara encounters this community of sixth generation Irish in Cape Shore, Newfoundland, Canada.

    On his journey Aidan speaks to Professor John Mannion, Memorial University of Newfoundland, who has carried out detailed research into the Irish story in Newfoundland. Prof. Mannion argues that the Irishness is largely due to isolation but sees that this isolation is becoming less and less and the Irish communities are becoming more and more open to influences from American and Canadian mainstream society. O'Hara also speaks to George Careen, Paddy Judge, Caroline Brennan, Alban Powers, and Mick Nash, who tell their stories of how their families came to live so far from Ireland and yet retain so many aspects of their Irishness.

    There are scenes of dancing and singing that would not be out of place in the rural or Gaeltacht Ireland of times gone by.

    Religion is central to community life and while the priests may be Canadian many of them have been trained in Ireland and maintain a strong Irish connection. At the funeral of Ignatius McGrath, it is evident that the traditional Irish wake continues. But will this tradition die with him? Fr. Charles Kelly believes that much of the folklore and oral traditions will be lost in everyday life and become purely a subject for academic study.

    The cultural isolation in which the Irish immigrants lived has meant the survival of Irish traditions, beliefs, superstitions, folklore and culture. However, new roads, electricity supplies, improved services and of course television are opening up the Cape Shore to outside influence.

  • Information

    'The Forgotten Irish' was first broadcast on 17 March, 1981 in celebration of the Irish living overseas on St. Patrick's Day.

    'Radharc', a series specialising in religious programming, was produced for RTÉ by Radharc, an independent production company run by Catholic priests and lay staff. 'Radharc' can be translated to English as 'view' or 'panorama'.

    Co-founders Fr Joe Dunn and Fr Desmond Forristal who had received training in television production in New York in 1959 gathered around them a team of like minded priests with creative talent.

    The 'Radharc' team made their first production in 1960 in Donegal, a short film about customs relating to St Brigid's Day. The first programme in the 'Radharc' series for RTÉ was broadcast on 12 January 1962.

    Between 1961 and 1996 the Radharc team would produce over 400 films in Ireland and 75 countries worldwide. The films dealt with human rights, injustice, faith, religion, persecution, struggles against oppressive regimes, famine, and Christian heritage.

    The popular series ended production in 1996 after the death of Fr Joe Dunn.

  • Local keywords
    Religion, Radharc, RTÉ, Canada, Newfoundland, Emigration, Diaspora, Immigration, Cape Shore
  • Geographical coverage
    Canada, Newfoundland
  • Topic
    Religion and Belief
  • Publisher Broadcaster
  • First broadcast channel
  • Production year
  • Country of production
  • Original identifier
  • IPR restrictions
    Rights Reserved - Free Access
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  • Item type
  • Item colour
  • Item sound
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  • Language used
    English (eng)
  • Original language
    English (eng)