27 September 2022 The Irish Film & Television Network
Sideline's 'Revolting Ireland' Airs on Virgin Media One – Tuesday, October 2nd
02 Oct 2018 : Nathan Griffin
Revolting Ireland is a brand new social history series exploring the recent decades of street marches, riots, occupations, major strikes and mass protest movements as huge changes in Irish society were won and lost.

Episode one debuts on Tuesday October 2nd at 10 pm on Virgin Media One.

Produced by Sideline Productions, ‘Revolting Ireland’ is an engaging and entertaining 4 part series as presenter Simon Delaney (‘Tales of Irish Castles’, ‘The Good Wife’, ‘The Snapper’) takes VM1 viewers on a journey to explore how modern Ireland emerged and developed socially, politically and culturally. 

The series begins with 3 English Suffragettes going on hunger strike in Dublin in 1912 and ends with the last ditch battle between the Repeal the 8th YES and NO voters more than a hundred years later. The series was originally planned to air at the start of 2018 but the announced Repeal the 8th vote for May 25th was too much of an opportunity - not only to wrap up a century of the battle for civil and human rights for women, but also marked the significant fact that the Catholic Church today is a fading force amongst a more confident, compassionate and critical population.  

With over 40 varied stories of heroism, defiance and sometimes tragedy, all the stories are brought to life with a host of brilliant guests. Two seasoned activists Mairin de Burca and Sam Nolan offer eye witness accounts of the first ever protests in Ireland against unemployment and the housing shortage in Dublin. Add to that the battle for civil rights in Northern Ireland and human rights for Irish men and women as restrictions on contraception, homosexuality, divorce, same sex marriage and abortion were gradually opposed and eventually removed by a public vote.  The environment too was a major battle ground as the fight against the destruction of the Wood Quay in Viking Dublin; the building of the Corrib pipe line in Mayo and a nuclear plant at Carnsore Point, Wexford plus the eco-warrior siege of the Glen O’Downs forest in Wicklow took centre stage. Throughout the 4 part series the influence of music, satire and broadcast media also feature as Ireland dragged itself screaming into the 21st century.

Speaking about the new series, Creator Billy McGrath told IFTN:

“Now and again a passion project takes over and for me this was it. I always had respect for like-minded people who actively get up off their arse and do something about an issue they felt strongly about. I think the list of great guests who wanted to be part of the show reflects how important protest was to breaking down social and cultural barriers in Irish society. But nobody predicted in late 2016 - when we first talked to Andrew Byrne in (then) TV3 and later pitched to a supportive BAI in early 2017 that the world of protest would emerge as such a huge topic in 2018. Or that same-sex marriage or abortion would be legalised.”

“Virgin Media One's timing couldn't have been better. My personal and everlasting memory of the 4 hours are the faces and voices of Nell McCafferty and Eamon McCann at the end of Episode 1 as they recount their own eye-witness experiences of seeing their unarmed neighbours shot down dead on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972. And then the days after when I marched and watched the British Embassy burn on Merion Square. It's crazy to think there are viewers in their 30s & 40's who have no idea what Ireland was like back then. But we do hope Revolting Ireland puts some context into the last 50 or 60 years and as the series progresses we get into Punk, KRAM, Reclaim the Streets, Shell to Sea, The Crash, the Occupy Movement, the Water Charges and end on Repeal the 8th. It's a rollercoaster watch with over 40 stories in a fast-moving and entertaining format. All the crew and production team had nicknames for the series - mine was Reeling in The Church!”

Guests in episode 1 include Bob Geldof, Marian Finucane, Jim Lockhart, Sam Nolan, Nell McCafferty, Eamon McCann, Billy Bragg, Joe Duffy, Sen David Norris, Mairin De Burca, Charlie Bird, Ruairi Quinn - along with historians Diarmaid Ferriter, Leanne Lane and Donal Fallon who add context to the narrative as Ireland emerged from civil war politics into the 1950’s and 60’s to embrace new social and political ideas.

To look at Ireland from the 1970’s onwards Stephanie Preissner, Fiona Looney, Blindboy Boat Club, Betty Purcell, Mario Rosenstock, Billy Bragg, Arthur Matthews, Lise Hand, Tonie Walsh, Terri Hooley, Damian O'Neill, Sindy Joyce, the Dunne’s Stores Strikers, Colm Roddy, Adrienne Murphy, Luke Ming Flanagan, Clare Daly, Joe Higgins, Rory Hearne, Gerry O'Carroll, Susan Daly, Mark Malone, Paul Murphy, Brendan Ogle, Henry McKean, Willie Frazer and more all contribute in an honest and often surprising exchange of ideas, opinions and viewpoints. 

‘Revolting Ireland’ is majority funded by The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with support from the Irish tax incentive for Film and TV production.  The full series and format will be presented at MIPCOM in Cannes in mid-October with interest already in international versions Revolting Britain and Revolting America.

Created by series producer/director Billy McGrath: Producer & Archive Director Eoin Sweeney. Assistant Producer / Digital Producer Michaela Walsh. Head of Production Claire Power. Associate Producer & Senior Researcher Matthew Stapleton. Production Trainees Clara Doyle & Adam O’Gorman.  Editors - Sarah Armstrong & Michael O’Sullivan.  DoP - Ken O’Mahony. Location sound & stills - Gregory Dunn.  Graphics - Marc Sherwin.  Post-Production Hi Wire. Online Editor/Colourist - Mark Quinn. Post-Production Supervisor - Mike Manweiler Quinn. Post-Production Sound - Killian Fitzgerald (Avatar Audio). Exec Prods - Aoife Stokes and Frank Agnew (VMTV). Writers/Directors - Billy McGrath & Luke McManus.

Episode one debuts on Tuesday October 2nd at 10 pm on Virgin Media One.

“I quite like the challenge of writing characters without handles, for an audience to hold on to, you have to really work at keeping pace with them and go on the journey;“ Writer/director Antonia Campbell-Hughes discusses It Is In Us All
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