St. Patrick’s Day 2017

This March HISTORY has curated an extensive selection of the best programmes in commemoration of St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland’s rich history.

Journey back to a heroic age of timeless legends, of mighty warriors and immortal rulers.

In Search of Ancient Ireland

Episode 1: We begin with a look at the” heroic age,” before the advent of written communication. We succeed in separating fact from fiction in the timeless legends of mighty warriors and immortal rulers.

Episode 2: Discover the rise and development of Christianity in Ireland between the fifth and ninth centuries AD. Missionaries spread the faith, creating compelling and powerful scholarship, theology and art.

Episode 3: Chronicle the centuries of war leading up to the Norman invasion – an era defined by power-hungry Vikings, Irish kings preoccupied with their own dynastic battles, and corrupt practices within the Celtic Church.


Tales of Irish Castles

Tales Of Irish Castles explores the great stories, legends and characters associated with the most beautiful, notorious and historical castles across Ireland.


Secrets of the Stone

Ireland is unique. Isolated on the fringe of the Atlantic it was the last place in Europe to be inhabited. Yet with 150,000 ancient monuments, it holds an unprecedented record of its prehistoric past – a record that has been largely obliterated elsewhere in Europe. Now, cutting edge science is slowly peeling away layers of the secrets lost in time and rewriting Ireland’s ancient story. The truth about our distant past is finally emerging. There are gaps in our history that have never been explained. Can extraordinary new discoveries shine light on Ireland’s dark ages and finally give us some answers? The questions themselves are remarkable: were we almost wiped out 4000 years ago in a climate change event? Why did Ireland, unlike Europe, become Christian so quickly and change religion so peacefully? Have we discovered remains of a new structure on the hill of Tara so vast that it rivals Croke Park in its footprint size? Are the religious symbols carved on the great mounds Knowth and Dowth proof that Ireland was at the centre of a great ancient European religion? By answering these questions we will hopefully help redefine our views of Ireland’s ancient societies, reshaping our knowledge of the past.


Treasure From The Bog

Treasure from the Bog is a documentary about a unique archaeological find in County Tipperary which revealed potential links between Irish Christianity and the Coptic Church of the Middle East.

On July 20th 2006, a remarkable archaeological find was uncovered in a remote bog at Faddan More in north Tipperary, close to the town of Birr. Local man Eddie Fogarty was cutting peat with a mechanical digger when he spotted something unusual that looked “like some sort of book”.
The find – which has become known as the Faddan More Psalter – was a fragmented illuminated vellum manuscript encased in an unusual leather binding, a book of psalms dating back to the late eighth century. This unprecedented find, the first manuscript to be found in a water-logged state in a bog, posed unique and profound difficulties for the Conservation Department at the National Museum.

This documentary offers exclusive access to the National Museum’s team as they embarked upon this dramatic and pain-staking journey of recovery and discovery. It follows leading Irish book conservator John Gillis as he set about preserving and conserving this unique find.
As the process reached its conclusion, fragments of papyrus were dramatically discovered in the lining of the Egyptian-style leather binding. This potentially represents the first tangible connection between early Irish Christianity and the Middle Eastern Coptic Church. It is a finding that asks many questions and has confounded some of the accepted theories about the history of early Christianity in Ireland.
The documentary also travels across Europe and to the deserts of Egypt in an effort to uncover the story behind this perplexing and mysterious discovery.


The Irish in Australia

Writer, actress and comedian Fiona O’Loughlin, mother of five and third generation Australian, was conscious of her Irish heritage but not sure what it meant.  Her eight great grandparents migrated from Ireland in the closing decades of the Nineteenth  Century, but what influence has that fact had on Fiona?  More broadly, what influence has Irish migration had on Australia’s way of life?  As Fiona puts it on her journey from coast to coast: what have the Irish ever done for us?  A question she asks of writers, comedians, historians, nuns and bushmen as she discovers the stories of Settlers, Survivors, Saints, Squatters, Sportstars, Storytellers, Sermonisers, Sinners and Scoundrels – the Irish in Australia.


The Irish Pub

Already a surprise festival and theatrical hit internationally, this acclaimed film is a celebration of one of the greatest institutions in Irish society, the public house, or more specifically the traditional Irish publicans who run them.


Titanic: Born in Belfast

The definitive story of the building of this magnificent ship includes interviews with people who saw the great vessel being built and launched and whose lives it has touched in different ways. It also revisits the slipway at the Harland & Wolff shipyard where, in 1911, 15000 shipbuilders worked on the construction of Titanic and her sister ship Olympic.

It features an interview with Belfast-born film director Bill MacQuitty whose 1950 film A Night to Remember, first told the epic story of the Titanic disaster. Clips from this film are also included in this absorbing documentary about the ill-fated Titanic and the city where it was built. The legacy of failure that haunted Belfast for the past century, following the Titanic disaster, has finally given way to a much more positive mentality where the achievement of actually building such an engineering marvel is being recognised and celebrated.