Muintir na Mara

The fifth series of Muintir na Mara, produced by Loopline Film, is due to return to our screens on TG4 in the early New Year. The series, directed by Martina Durac, is presented by Pádraig Ó Duinnín, who continues on his voyage around the coast of Ireland over land and sea, in a currach, on a bicycle and in a van – this time embarking on a journey along the majestic coastline of Mayo and Sligo.

The soaring cliffs, beautiful beaches and wind-beaten islands provide a rich trail for Pádraig, a natural adventurer and boat-builder in his own right, as he makes his way from Silverstrand in Mayo to the island of Inishmurray off the coast of Sligo. Along the way he stops off at the harbours, quays, ports, towns and meets with the local people, Muintir na Mara.

For the story of the production, please visit here

Here’s the intro to last year’s series in beautiful Galway.

Muintir na Mara in Donegal

Project: Muintir na Mara
Muin Padriag Bloody Foreland

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Farewell to the last series of Muintir na Mara –  Episode 3 Sunday 8th April 9:30 TG4

 

In this final series Pádraig Ó Duinnín, a boat builder from Cork. travels by boat, bicycle and van around the stunning coast of Donegal.Pádraig has an action-packed time of it, on Sliabh League, and Glencolumbcille, Maghera and Ardara.

Pádraig starts the programme by rowing around Sliabh League, one of his favourite things to do. Then, after a ramble up the mountain he meets with Gene Eoghain O Churraighín. Gene tells him all about the Sliabh League cliffs and the Giants Desk and Chair, which is a short drive from his house. He tells the story of how fishing was poor before 1960 and how the landowner, Duffin, would not allow the fishers to leave from Teelin Peer. Gael Linn bought the land in 1960, and allowed fishermen to fish from the pier for a fee. Boom time for fishermen followed, until a land dispute in the 1970s  and fishing has fallen off since then.

Next Pádraig moves on to Glenncolumbcille where he meets with Merle Drost, her sisters  and their mother Connie in the local pub where they have come to play a session. Connie is from Germany, and is the widow of James Byrne, a famous fiddle player form Meenacross, near Gleann Colm Cille. The daughters all play the fiddle. They describe the unique style of fiddle playing in GCC. It’s a faster, more rapid style. It requires precision and a command of the instrument. The music is chiefly designed for dances. They remember their father fondly, talk a little about the annual James Byrne festival held there every year.

At the next point of his journey, Pádraig arrives onto the spectacular Maghera beach and runs into Hughie Gavigan who shows him the caves along the strand and the rocks. There’s an old legend that tells of people who were hiding out there in the 12th century during wartime. Hughie was born in the mountains. He was a farmer, they kept sheep and goats. He was also a weaver for McGees for 20 years, but sold his loom. He also had a quarry, and the rock from the area was in high demand, it was quartzite, very hard. The courtyard in Letterkenny is build with rock from his quarry. There is also a beautiful waterfall cascading over the rocks and running into the sea here,.

Pádraig finishes this leg of his journey by visiting Ardara. First, he visits young Eoin Breslin, one of the last surviving weavers keeping the tradition alive; still just a teenager but working hard to maintain this once thriving industry in the area. Later that night, Pádraig goes set dancing in Ardara and learns a thing or two from the locals about the steps.

 

 

 

Farewell to Muintir na Mara

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On Sunday 25th March at 9.30pm, the sixth and final series of Muintir na Mara, made by Loopline Film, will return to our screens on TG4. The series, directed by Martina Durac and produced by Vanessa Gildea, is presented by Pádraig Ó Duinnín, who continues on his voyage around the coast of Ireland over land and sea, in a currach, on a bicycle and in a van – this time traversing  the majestic coastline of Donegal.

The soaring cliffs, beautiful beaches and wind-beaten islands provide a rich trail for Pádraig, a natural adventurer and boat-builder in his own right, as he makes his way from Bundoran on the south coast of Donegal to the most northern part of Ireland – Malin Head and finally on to Moville and Culmore on the border with Derry. Along the way he stops off at the harbours, quays, ports, towns and meets with the local people, Muintir na Mara.

Padraig shows a natural empathy towards the people he encounters, being in awe of the sea himself and hugely interested in the people who live by it in all seasons. Whether conversing with fishermen, weavers, musicians, boat-builders, experts or novices, he has a natural flair for putting people at ease and a mischievous sense of humour. Pádraig has been involved in traditional boat building for over thirty years and has been instrumental in the preservation of the craft in Ireland. In 1994 he founded Meitheal Mara, a co-operative which builds and repairs traditional boats, located in the heart of Cork city.

Muintir na Mara is both a personal and spiritual voyage for him and he encounters many remarkable characters over the six programmes. He meets Easkey Britton, one of Ireland’s renowned pro surfers whose name hails from the sea as she competes in the European Surfing Championships in Bundoran. Local man Caoimhín Mac Aoidh regales him with folklore tales at  Tobar na Barchaile in Ballyshannon and the family of famous fiddler James Byrne start up a lively ‘seisiúin ceoil’ in Roarty’s pub Glencolmcille. Pádraig also meets Nora Flanagan, the first woman crew member in the 127 years of the RNLI on Arann Mór and watches a training exercise with Sligo helicopter Search and Rescue team. He tastes freshwater oysters on one of Donegal’s most prominent oyster farms, learns the skill and history of weaving at the Woollen Mills in Killybegs and rows around the majestic and mysterious Sliabh League cliffs. In keeping with the series, Pádraig visits the some of the enchanting Donegal islands meeting locals on Inis Caorach, Inisboffin and Tory Island.

It wouldn’t be a successful journey to Donegal for boat building aficionado Pádraig without a few encounters of the currach kind! Pádraig meets with well-known boat builders Jim Boyd and Donal Mac Polin to discuss the differences in the many Donegal currachs. He goes out rowing with members of the new community-made Currach Club in Downings, takes part in currach races with the many Donegal currach clubs in Magheroarty and rows into the Culmore sailing regatta. During this epic journey along the coast Pádraig also comes head to head with the contentious issues facing Ireland’s coastal towns these days, such as over-regulation of the fishing industry, the impact of multinationals on communities and the natural environment and the demise of the fishing community and traditions.

Pádraig Ó Duinnín is a man of the sea and his character is the driving force behind this series; his love and respect for the sea and sea-faring traditions shine through as he traverses this magnificent stretch of the Irish coast.

Pádraig’s journey comes to an end in Sligo

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This Sunday we see the last episode of Muintir na Mara season 5. Pádraig says goodbye to Sligo as he rows towards Donegal. He visits the megalithic sites at Carrowmore with Austin McTiernan, meets Michael Quirke in his wood carving shop on Wine Street, rows around the harbour at Rosses Point with Mairéad Nic Con Iomaire, spends some time with the wonderful Aengus Cantwell at Lough Gill and then travels out to Inishmurray for a picnic with Prannie Rhatigan and her family as well as a tour around the island’s ancient monastic settlement. Pádraig’s trip through Mayo and Sligo was, without a doubt, filled with beautiful landscapes and wonderful people. Until next year…….

 

Muintir na Mara on the move to Sligo

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Pádraig says a fond farewell to Mayo this week meeting with fisherman TJ Flannery in Ballycastle and surfing enthusiast Cillian Ó Mongáin in Killala Bay before he hits the road for Sligo.

The first port of call in Sligo is Kilcullen’s seaweed emporium where Pádraig takes a relaxing bath before driving to Dromore West to meet Cillian Rogers in a famine workhouse. The weeks journey ends with a unique sequence at the seal colony in Ballysadare with Oliver Ó Cadhla.

This is episode 5 of 6 so don’t forget to tune in. Sunday TG4 20.15.

catch up on any episodes missed on TG4 PLAYER