New RTE series breathes life into Ireland’s Civil War

A century after the conflict, Brendan Gleeson narrates a new look at the Civil War
New RTE series breathes life into Ireland’s Civil War

The Irish Free State Army takes over Collins Barracks after the Civil War in 1923

A CENTURY ago, Ireland was in the grip of a bloody Civil War, and even after all that passage of time, it remains a sensitive issue - even a minefield - for historians.

Now RTÉ is to get its teeth into the subject in a new three-part documentary series, The Irish Civil War, which tells the epic and often challenging story of the origins, conflict and legacy of the events that took place in Ireland in 1922 and 1923.

It starts on RTÉ1 tomorrow at 9.35pm and is narrated by Brendan Gleeson, and produced in partnership with University College Cork by RTÉ Cork as part of the Decade of Centenary commemorations, and based on UCC’s “mammoth and magnificent” Atlas of the Irish Revolution.

The series features extensive archive film footage, photographs and materials, interviews with leading academics, archive interviews with contemporary participants and witnesses, first-hand witness accounts read by actors, detailed and dynamic graphic maps based on those featured in Atlas of the Irish Revolution, and stunning cinematography of the locations where events took place.

The civil war is among the most controversial chapters in Irish history and has been a rarely told tale. Even today, tensions can run high at its mention.

The Split, the Four Courts, Beal na mBláth and Ballyseedy will ring bells for many. Few, however, will know the intricate details of what led to the war and how it played out across the country, nor will have heard the often tragic personal stories of those involved.

Written and directed by Ruán Magan, the series goes to the heart of this history, telling it straight, teasing out the nuances and complexities, and generating unprejudiced, compelling and challenging films that may serve as a suitable commemoration of those troubled years.

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