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RTÉ announces upcoming history programming dedicated to Decade of Centenaries
05 Apr 2023 : News Desk
RTÉ has announced programming about the Irish Civil War and the revolutionary period in Ireland that will be available across television, radio and online.

As part of its continuing commemoration of the Decade of Centenaries, RTÉ will mark significant moments in modern Irish history with broadcasts between April and June to reflect on Ireland’s past and how that past has shaped the country.

Coverage on RTÉ will include a new series featuring testimonies of family members of those involved in the Civil War, a documentary looking at the role of the GAA at the time, Michael Portillo examining the Civil War period through British State Papers and Tony Connelly’s personal family story of one of his grandfathers who served in the RIC. Coverage also includes a Nationwide special on the death of IRA leader Liam Lynch.

This programming begins today, Wednesday 5th April, with Nationwide looking at the killing of the IRA leader Liam Lynch. Donal Byrne reflects on the final days of the Civil War, the losses on both sides and how the trauma of that has endured for many families.

“For the last decade, RTÉ has delivered a full and varied slate of content to commemorate key moments in the history of our country,” said Jim Jennings, Director of Content RTÉ. “Working with a number of different partners, we are proud to now launch a further chapter in the telling of the complicated story of modern Ireland from numerous perspectives.”

On Easter Sunday 9th April, RTÉ News will cover the State Commemoration of the 1916 Rising live. The annual commemoration, which will be held in front of the GPO in O'Connell Street, Dublin, will involve military honours, prayers of remembrance, a reading of the Proclamation and the laying of a wreath by the President.

A two-part television documentary series, The Silent Civil War, will begin on RTÉ One and the RTÉ Player on Wednesday 26th April. Based on the testimonies of family members of 80 of those who were involved in the Civil War, the series is produced in association with the National Folklore Collection in UCD and RTÉ Archives.

Over two parts, a team of collectors, researchers and historians gather to record memories of the Civil War that were passed on through families and communities throughout Ireland. The group unexpectedly uncovers a trove of audio recordings with men and women central to the revolutionary period in Irish history; these tapes have remained buried in an attic in the United States for fifty years.

In Taking Sides: Britain and the Civil War, Michael Portillo returns with an authored documentary on Wednesday 10th May, that uses British state papers to shed fresh light on key events and personalities during the Civil War period in Ireland.

Ré Réabhlóide: CLG agus Cogadh na gCarad sees presenter Gráinne McElwain explore the role played by the Gaelic Athletic Association during the Civil War period in Ireland and is broadcast on Thursday 11th May. 

Tony Connelly: A Hidden History on Monday June 12th, RTÉ One is an intimate first-person account by RTÉ’s Europe Editor, Tony Connelly, that explores the life and career of one of his grandfathers, Michael Connelly, who served in both the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

A catalogue of history-based dramas and documentaries is available on RTÉ Player, among them the award-winning Bloody Sunday, 1920, Beyond the Bullets: Real Life During the Civil War, Treaty Live, Election ’18, The Irish Revolution narrated by Cillian Murphy, The Irish Civil War featuring Brendan Gleeson, Rebellion and Resistance.

The Silent Civil War, Beyond the Bullets: Real Life During the Civil War and the Civil War Project are supported by a partnership between RTÉ and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries Programme, 2012 - 2023.

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