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Dublin Bay eco-system series An Cuan begins on TG4 this Wednesday at 9.30pm
09 Nov 2021 : Nathan Griffin
Narrator Eoin Warner (Credit: Julia Dunin)
Dublin has a population tipping 1.5 million, and contains one of Europe’s busiest ports, yet it is also home to one of the most important wildlife conservation projects in the country.

An Cuan is a four-part series from Oddboy Media for TG4 that takes a year-long look at the fascinating and unique eco-systems that is Dublin Bay.

Teeming with life, both wild and human, the bay faces many challenges both natural and manmade. An Cuan  explores this unique urban area where nature and humanity at times live in harmony and at others battle to co-exist.

Ahead of the series debuting on TG4 this Wednesday at 9:30pm, we spoke with exec producer Dara Tallon, who told us that the lack of awareness around the delicate eco-system found around Dublin Bay was one of the main reason they pursued this series.

“The original idea came from a one-off documentary treatment we were developing about Bull Island,” Tallon told IFTN. “Once we started looking at the Dublin Bay Biosphere Project and the marathon work being carried out to protect the wildlife of the bay, the idea just grew.”

“Our mission then became - how do we best capture this very fragile eco-system across a full year, filming from the ground, the air and from below the water?” Tallon added.

As seen in the trailer below, the production have done an incredible job at capturing the wildlife and aim to take audiences on a journey through this beloved part of Ireland’s coastline to show it in a way rarely seen before. The series looks to showcase the natural beauty of Irish wildlife against the backdrop of the country’s urban centre.

This nature and environment series is an entertaining, intriguing and educational exploration of one of the most surprising natural areas in Ireland. Along the way, the series will meet and follow the animal and human characters to whom Dublin Bay and its surrounding locale is not just home, but a beacon for how man and nature can and must co-exist to survive. 

Filmed over a year, each episode will follow the life of Dublin Bay across a season. Starting with Spring, An Cuan shines a light on the multitudes of animal life that make up Dublin Bay, the many environmental issues that we need to address and looks at how the industry and people of the bay are learning to co-exist with the wildlife. The show follows naturalists and activists as they fight to maintain the capital’s fragile eco-system and celebrate the joys and beauty of life by the sea up and down its shores.

One of the big issues that struck us all, whilst filming, is the level of plastic waste still making its way into the bay,” Tallon told IFTN. “We see how damaging this is for the wildlife, especially the marine life and it is heart breaking.”

“We also spent some time in the incinerator at Poolbeg and the big shock was the lack of ‘correct’ recycling the people of Dublin actually do,” Tallon explained. “So much material is going to landfill when it could easily be recycled if we paid a bit more attention to how we manage our bins at home.”

An Cuan is beautifully narrated by Eoin Warner with stirring musical compositions and striking footage from land, air, and sea - filmed by Irish cinematographers Keith Pendred & JJ Rolfe.

This captivating footage is something that Tallon explained is not always easy to capture, when filming nature: “Filming nature comes with a wide variety of challenges, you can’t ask nesting Brent Geese or Swallows to go back to their first positions!” Tallon joked. “For us the key was in the planning and getting as much advice and engagement as we could from both the state agencies and conservation groups protecting, and monitoring the wildlife of the bay.”

“We were extremely lucky to have two amazing DOP’s on this project (Keith Pendred & JJ Rolfe), along with an incredible support crew, all of whom were as passionate as we were about “getting the right shot,” added Tallon.

When asked what the production team behind An Cuan would most like audiences to take from the show, Tallon said: “Dublin Bay’s eco-system is both fragile and finite and it is the duty of all Dubliners to help protect it.  Be that, bringing your rubbish home from the beach or park and recycling it properly or joining in with beach cleans to help create awareness of the massive damage climate change is doing to the nature on our doorsteps, let alone our planet.”

The first episode of An Cuan debuts on TG4 this Wednesday at 9:30pm.

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