New six-part series about Ireland’s greatest love stories on TG4
Scéalta Grá na hÉireann explores the most iconic love stories throughout the history of our land. These stories echo through time and each one has played a major part in the formation of modern Ireland. From the stormy passion of the 'Pirate Queen', Grace O'Malley, to Oscar Wilde's scandalous affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, Ireland's Greatest Loves reveals the greatest romances of the most iconic people ever to shape our nation's remarkable history.
The series will premiere with Ireland’s greatest and most tragic love story, the love triangle between Michael Collins, Kitty Kiernan and Collins’ best friend Harry Boland. Collins and Kiernan kept their love alive through the 300 letters they exchanged between 1919 and 1922, correspondence which offers a stunning insight into a tragic love story that took place during a period of great violence, upheaval and change for the nation from the War of Independence through the Treaty negotiations and the Irish Civil War.
These letters, captured in high definition, are seen as never before in this series. The letters are lovingly preserved in the Cork Public Museum in Cork city.
“It’s an extraordinary archive; there’s nothing else like it in relation to a love story between such a well-known politician and his love,” commented Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of History, UCD.
The first programme airs on Wednesday, January 13, at 8.30 p.m.
Programme two examines the doomed love affair between the Irish patriot Robert Emmet and Sarah Curran that took place during the Irish rebellion of 1803. Emmet's fight for a free Ireland brought destruction to himself and to his beloved. He gifted Sarah a delicate brooch in the shape of a harp, a lasting symbol of his love for Ireland and his sweetheart. The brooch can still be seen today in the Cork Public Museum.
Oscar Wilde's illicit love affair with Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas in Victorian London cost him his family, his livelihood, his fame and his life. It will feature in week three of the series.
Wilde threw every caution to the wind in this reckless relationship. At the height of his fame as a playwright and as the world's first international celebrity, Wilde drew the wrath of Bosie's father, the Marquess of Queensbury, who set out to utterly destroy Wilde and his reputation forever.
The tragic tale of the greatest poem ever composed in the Irish oral tradition is examined in week four. 'Caoineadh Art Uí Laoghaire' is a lament composed by Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonail, the aunt of the Liberator, Daniel O'Connell, which outlines the life and murder of the great love of her life, Art O'Laoghaire, an Irish Catholic who fought with the Hungarian Huzzars and returned home to stand up to the Protestant Penal Laws in Ireland.
The unrequited love story between W.B. Yeats and Maud Gonne features in the fifth programme of the series. The feminist icon and Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne was W.B. Yeats' great muse and the love of his life, inspiring some of his finest poetry, including 'No Second Troy' – a prime example of the enduring nature of troubled love stories. Their powerful personalities had a lasting impact on each other and on the history, literature and politics of Ireland.
An epic love story that takes place during a time of great change and upheaval in 16th century Gaelic Ireland features in the last programme of the series. Grace O'Malley forged a path to power and leadership by land and by sea in the west of Ireland with her husband, Richard in Iron Bourke. Their castle, Rockfleet, still stands today on the northern shore of Clew Bay, a testament to the exploits of Ireland's Pirate Queen and her great love, Richard in Iron.
Scéalta Grá na hÉireann is a Bo Media Production for TG4, made with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.