McGilloway's Way: Looking Back Part 1

McGilloway's Way: Looking Back Part 1

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Armagh, Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara, Derry, Donegal, Dunfanaghy, Foley, Galway, Londonderry




Production 06/10/1994


24min 49sec







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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ITV, Northland Films ltd

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This episode of McGilloway's Way looks towards several locations across Ireland beginning in Donegal, moving to Armagh, followed by Derry City and finishing up in Galway. The viewer is first introduced to Wilma Kitson in Dunfanaghy, County Donegal, who discusses with McGilloway the behaviour of foxes around humans, with her knowledge coming from two charming foxes who frequent her garden. One is referred to as a 'vixen fox', meaning female, and the other a 'dog fox', meaning male. However male foxes can also be known as 'tod'.

Following this, the show moves towards Foley in Count Armagh, where a ploughing competition is taking place. Here, Hugh O'Donnell speaks about horse use in the field. Such practices had previously fallen out of fashion and, whilst undergoing something of a resurgence, remain 'more of a novelty'. O'Donnell proceeds to tell the story about a famous local man, who still entered the ploughing competitions even after losing his arm in WWI, with the tradition then being carried on by his son, John.

The ploughing competition is judged on three key things: Firstly the straightness of the furrows. Secondly, that each furrow is of equal size and shape and, lastly, that the soil is firm. The main horse used for ploughing in the area is the Irish draught horse, which also happens to be the the national horse breed. Another breed found in the competition is the Clydesale, with donkeys also now being entered. There is mention of the Northern Ireland Horse competition in Limavady which, to this day, is still held there.

Next, the audience is brought to Derry City, where the issue of country living and city living resulting in wildlife road deaths is touched upon. The focus then moves to the sport of pigeon racing. Mickey Caocannon, a local pigeon fancier, explains how it all works, with the pigeon being brought to the club house on the day of the race, a numbered rubber ring attached to it, chosen at random, before 'anything between 20,000-30,000 birds are released'. However, birds of prey such as Peregrines have given the pigeon fanciers problems, with the amount of birds they have been killing. The show wraps up in Ballynahinch Castle, located in Connemara, County Galway, with friendly fox 'Freddy' stealing the show. 


McGilloway's Way stands as a precursor to Lesser Spotted Ulster with Joe Mahon.    

Oliver, or Olly McGilloway as he was widely known as, was the presenter of McGilloway's Way. The series was unexpectedly cut short due to McGilloway's untimely death in 1994. The programme was relaunched as Lesser Spotted Ulster with Joe Mahon as presenter and continues to be broadcast today.


Presented by Oliver McGilloway.



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