06: The Survivors

'The Survivors' was a 'special project' undertaken in the early years of Irish television to record personal accounts of the Easter Rising and the War of Independence.

In the early 1960s Telefís Éireann (RTÉ Television) began to record interviews with individuals who had taken part in the Rising and the War of Independence. 

Interviews were recorded under a working title of 'The Survivors'. The first of these interviews were organised by Jack White and recorded at the television studios in Donnybrook on 31 August 1964. Desmond Ryan, Cathal O'Shannon and M.W. O'Reilly were interviewed by Brian Farrell. The studio director was Burt Budin. Within RTÉ it was that the interviews would not make stand alone programmes. However Kevin McCourt the Director General of RTÉ was keen that the recording the memories of individuals continue.

Early in 1965 a group was established to plan how RTÉ would commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. A decision was taken not to broadcast 'The Survivors' recordings as a series. Interviews with men and women who had participated in the Easter Rising continued to be recorded under the working titles of 'Portraits 1916' and 'Seven Signatories'.  

Presented here are five of the existing interviews recorded under the title 'The Survivors' with Desmond Ryan, Cathal O'Shannon, Sean Nunan, Earnán de Blaghd and Denis McCullough.