Don chéad uair riamh thug criu de chuid RTÉ cuairt ar an gCóire Thuaidh

For the first time, an RTÉ film crew spend a fortnight in Democratic People's Republic of North Korea. They accompany a group of traditional musicians, singers and dancers from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann invited by the North Korean ambassador to Denmark to spend the annual spring music festival in the capital city Pyongyang.

Cúrsaí hope to be given leeway to film a report on the political situation under leader Kim Il-sung and his totalitareain Maxist-Lenisist Korean Workers Party. Reporter Cynthia Ní Mhurchú is briefed on how the North Korean government operates and how the people are organised. She visits a cement factory and talks to some young men and women building an apartment as part of their military service.

Cynthia Ní Mhurchú is escorted around Pyongyang by a government official and a translator. She discovers the Pyongyang metro is spotless. She visits Kim Il-sung Square home to the Mansudae Assembly Hall, the seat of the Supreme People's Assembly, and the Juche Tower, honouring the North Korean philosophy of Juche, unveiled in 1982 to mark Kim Il-sung's 70th birthday.

The 'Day of the Sun’, Kim Il-sung’s birthday on 15 April, is celebrated every year as a public holiday and people pay their respects to him by bringing flowers to Kim Il-sung Square.

While in Pyongyang, Cynthia Ní Mhurchú is impressed by the 105-storey Ryugyong Hotel and the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium built after the 1988 Summer Olympics were awarded to Seoul in South Korea. 

Taking a train south to visit the heavily guarded Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea. Major Kang Som Nang explains the tensions in the area saying there is a constant danger of war.

Both sides are levelling guns at each other they are ready to fire at any moment, if they pull the trigger the war starts.

He is unhappy with the presence of the United States (US) in the south and believes talks for reunification can only begin when South Korea rids itself or US troops and nuclear weapons.

Cynthia Ní Mhurchú is invited to look through binoculars to see the concrete wall dividing North and South Korea but she is not sure what she is looking at and its existence remains in question. 

This episode of ‘Cúrsaí’ was broadcast on 24 April 1990. The reporter is Cynthia Ní Mhurchú.