Landmark documentary series on Irish Civil War produced in partnership with UCC

Narrated by Brendan Gleeson and produced in partnership with UCC, the three-part documentary series ‘The Irish Civil War’ tells the epic and often challenging story of the origins, conflict and legacy of the civil war that took place in Ireland in 1922 and 1923.
Landmark documentary series on Irish Civil War produced in partnership with UCC

Armed anti-Treaty members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Grafton Street, Dublin during the Irish Civil War. (Photo by Walshe/Getty Images). Produced by RTE in partnership with UCC, three-part documentary series THE IRISH CIVIL WAR tells the epic and often challenging story of the origins, conflict and legacy of the civil war that took place in Ireland in 1922 and 1923. 1 December 2022.

A landmark documentary on the Irish Civil War is set to air on RTÉ next week, based on groundbreaking research by University College Cork into the events of a century ago.

Narrated by Brendan Gleeson and produced in partnership with UCC, the three-part documentary series ‘The Irish Civil War’ tells the epic and often challenging story of the origins, conflict and legacy of the civil war that took place in Ireland in 1922 and 1923.

Broadcast on RTÉ One across three consecutive nights (Sunday 11th, Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th December), the series features extensive archive materials, interviews with leading academics, archive interviews with contemporary participants and witnesses, and first hand witness accounts read by actors - including Peter Coonan, Tim Creed, Marty Rae and Orla Wherly.

It will also include detailed and dynamic graphic maps based on those featured in UCC’s “mammoth and magnificent” Atlas of the Irish Revolution, and stunning cinematography of the locations where events took place, to the sounds of an original soundtrack composed by Natasa Paulberg and recorded live by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

Writer and Director Ruán Magan said that the whole team “has been so proud to have the opportunity to tell this complex story in partnership with RTÉ and UCC.” 

“The Irish Civil War has always been the elephant in the room when it came to the Irish Revolution, an inconvenient series of events that tainted Ireland’s origin story, its details often skipped over or ignored. Perhaps now a century on it is time to face what happened,” he said.

Narrator Brendan Gleeson said that the series has gone to great lengths to try to present “all sides of the story with equal emphasis.” 

“It's uncomfortable because we don't like to see ourselves in a savage light but everybody has savagery in them and we have to address it because it's never that far away from the surface. When we were in school, we weren't taught about it because it was still extraordinarily raw and extraordinarily inflammatory even now, I find myself being infuriated on both sides,” he added.

John Fitzgerald of UCC said that the series draws on the “ground-breaking academic research of the award-winning Cork University Press Atlas of the Irish Revolution, adopting a new perspective on arguably Ireland’s most pivotal historical period”.  

“Over three episodes, the series re-examines the causes and the terrible events of the Civil War, using leading experts and adopting the perspective of the ordinary person, to ask: Why did this war happen? Who did it really impact? What is its legacy?,” he said.

‘The Irish Civil War’ continues the documentary strand produced by RTÉ in partnership with UCC that includes ‘The Irish Revolution’ narrated by Cillian Murphy and ‘The Hunger’ narrated by Liam Neeson.

Produced in collaboration with UCC for RTÉ Cork by Tyrone Productions/Create One Production, with Irish Film Industry supports provided by the Government of Ireland, the series will air on Sunday 11th, Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th December at 21.35 on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player.

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