Radharc Programme 15
(reconstructed 2015)


Country: Ireland
1st Broadcast: 19th February 1963
Duration: 27’49”

The Bell Commemorating a successful sea-rescue in 1907 by the curragh sailors of Quilty, Co. Clare, the local church still rings the lost French ship’s bell at its masses. Features an eye-witness account of the events and their aftermath.

The Little Ark In the mid-1800s, the village of Kilbaha Co. Clare defied efforts by the local landlord’s agent to wipe out Catholic practice at every turn. Finally the parish priest Fr Michael Meehan resorted to the construction of a tiny wooden chapel on wheels to be brought to the seashore, where no one owned the land beneath and crowds could safely gather to receive communion while the priest said Mass within the hut – a scene that became famous, leading to public condemnation of the situation and ultimately the granting of a site for a Catholic church.

Fr Theobald Mathew A biography of the internationally renowned ‘Apostle of Temperance’ who campaigned for total abstinence from alcohol in the mid-1800s as a response to the degradation he saw amongst the poor of Cork City. His movement became a hugely successful exercise in popular engagement, both in its recruitment methods and its efforts to provide attractive social alternatives to pub life through locally organised brass bands, banquets and other events. The horrors of the Irish potato famine then intervened and his priority became to feed the starving. Eventually Fr Mathew accepted invitations to bring his movement to America. Returning to Cork after his successes abroad, he found the social devastations of the Famine had extended to the collapse of his temperance movement at home. This segment features photographs of many archive materials including early stills, event paraphernalia and period engravings; the 35mm negatives for these were digitally scanned as part of the 2015 project and remain preserved by the Radharc Trust.

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