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Farewell to Muintir na Mara

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Muin oysters

YouTube Preview ImageFarewell MUINTIR NA MARA


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.

Muintir na Mara Donegal

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Muintir na Mara is now in its sixth season. Master boat builder Pádraig Ó Duinnín has taken us on epic journeys along the coastlines of Cork, Kery, Clare, Galway, Mayo and Sligo. Director Martina Durac and Producer Vanessa Gildea have started filming our new series of Muintir na Mara and spent the last few days in Donegal meeting some great people who live their lives by the sea. We arrived into Bundoran in time to see surfers heading out into the wild Atlantic and spent the next day filming there, finding out how this town became the biggest tourist destination in the Northwest, complete with the sea, the waves and the inevitable amusement arcades! From there, we moved on to Ballyshannon and Tobar na Barchaile and Pádraig rowed in to meet meet Caoimhín Mac Aoidh who told him tales of the local fishermen from long ago and how they fought to protect their right to fish. In Smuggler’s Creek  overlooking the amazing sight of Rossnowlagh beach, Molly Reynolds, who was one one of the first female skippers in Ireland, told us how the local community of Creevy and beyond banded together to secure their future, setting up lots of local, environmentally friendly  schemes and building a beautiful collection of cottages to encourage visitors to stay. The next day, Pádraig went out in Donncha O Laighin’s boat, fishing and chatting about boat building around the spectacular Slieve League cliffs. Afterwards he moved on to Donegal Bay in the afternoon to meet Conor Reid and see his oyster farm. A great start to the filming. We go back up to Donegal tomorrow to join the sailing Regatta in Moville and much more…