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In Search of Ancient Ireland
Home
Cartographer's Journey
Fortress Ireland
Religion
Culture and Commerce
Technology
About the Film
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Music From The Series

Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin's album "Templum" features the theme from In Search of Ancient Ireland.

The CD is available through Virgin Records.

Listen to the music clip

About The Film: Production Diaries
Memories of production

In this section:
Introduction
About the Episodes
Filmmaker Q & A
Production Diaries
Broadcast Schedule
Web and TV Credits
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Ireland is changing. IN SEARCH OF ANCIENT IRELAND was able to capture so many surviving customs, festivals, rituals, and ceremonies that have existed for centuries, if not millennia, but are dying out in the 21st century Celtic Tiger. We couldn't have made this series 10 years from now; too many of the traditions and customs of Ireland are vanishing before our eyes. Change is natural and what follows may ultimately be as rich as what went before, yet I can't help feeling regret for all those things the next generation of Irish children will never see.

Man walking across fieldCows in front of ruins


In County Kerry, Puck Fair is the last remaining cattle fair in the country. Today it's better known for drinking and music, with a goat crowned each year as King of the Fair. The streets stink of spilled beer and the pubs are open 24 hours a day. Yet when we were there, it was still possible to glimpse an older reality. Arriving at 6 a.m. for filming as the cattle were driven through the streets, I understood how important this fair -- and others like it -- once was to a rural population. It was both a market and a celebration, where people could blow off steam, do their business, find marriage partners, and re-establish a sense of community. The farmers at Puck Fair now say it's not worth bringing their cattle to market; buyers pay better prices at modern cattle auction yards. Puck Fair will continue for the benefit of tourists and party-goers; but when the last cows are gone, something very precious will go with them and the heart of Puck Fair will be lost.

Making a TV series like IN SEARCH OF ANCIENT IRELAND required months of 14-hour filming days in every sort of weather, followed by nighttime drives along narrow roads to reach the next day's locations without wasting a moment of valuable daylight. People assume Ireland is a small country, but it always seemed to take most of the night just to drive from place to place. There is a saying that Ireland often experiences "all four seasons in every one day." I've seen weather change from hail to blazing sunshine to violent gale-force winds, and ending with thick fog, all in a single six-hour period. There is a special quality to the Irish light, a vibrancy to the intense green of grass and trees. I hope we captured this on tape. Parts of Ireland are as beautiful as any place on the planet. For almost a year, my crew and I were welcomed into the lives and the hearts of hundreds of people in hundreds of locations across the country. Now that the TV series is finished, I find myself longing for an opportunity to go back and do it all again.

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