A Sense of Tradition: The Famine

A Sense of Tradition: The Famine

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County Tyrone, Ulster, Ulster American Folk Park




September 1993


14min 40sec







Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

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An ITV schools programme.

Using the methods of reenactment, time markers, maps and by revisiting current day locations, presenter Oliver McGilloway tells the story of the Great Famine in Ireland.

A continuation of the previous episode, we move on from the time of the tenant farmer and the boom in population, to examine the catastrophic consequences of overworking the land. 

McGilloway tells the viewer of the Irish diaspora - emigration beginning on a large scale in the 18th Century, with many Irish going to America in hopes of finding a new life. The Ulster American Folk Park in County Tyrone allows visitors to experience something of these journeys, with exhibits posing questions such as; 'Why did they leave? Where did they go? and who exactly left?' What is evident, is that the Irish people who settled in America made an impression, with several descendants becoming Presidents. 

The next significant tranche of the population to emigrate did not leave with such high hopes. The Great Famine began in Ireland in 1845 and hit people particularly hard due to the failed potato crop - potatoes being a food staple which the majority of the population survived on. Those who left Ireland did so in desperation, emigration a means of survival, the irony beinf that so many died during the tranatlantic crossing. 


ITV Schools was the educational television service set up in 1957 by the Independent Television Authority, broadcasting learning programmes for children ages 5 to 18 across ITV-affiliated stations. It was an example of public service broadcasting on a commerical television network. ITV moved its schools programming to Channel 4 in 1987 although ITV continued to produce programmes and the service continued to use the ITV name for another six years.The last ITV Schools programme on Channel 4 aired on Monday 28th June 1993.



Presented by Oliver McGilloway. 

Facilities provided by Northland Films.

An Ulster Television Production. 



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