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An Biongó, 30th December 2016, TG4 at 8pm



Date Posted: December 16, 2016

An Biongó, a poignant yet entertaining look at the tradition of bingo nights in Ireland, airs Friday 30th December at 8pm on TG4.

An Biongó is an Imagine Media Production for TG4, with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish language Broadcast Fund.

As seen through the eyes of generations of bingo-goers around the country today, An Biongó also explores the evolution of the game, its initial popularity across America and Europe, its subsequent arrival to Irish shores in the 1950s and its place in Irish society today.

Through intimate observation, this one hour film looks at the tradition of bingo nights in Ireland, observing players’ love for the game and their motivation for playing. On the face of it, it is partaking in a game of chance, a harmless flutter that might win one a few extra Euro. But what is the real appeal for those attending week after week? Is it just for the sake of winning? Or does it function on a much deeper level – perhaps a way of combating loneliness and isolation in remote parts of the country? Is it a social occasion, a way to meet up with friends and make new ones? Is it a tradition in the family, passed down from parent to child? An Biongó takes a look at what is, for many, the focal point of their week, their main ‘release’ from their daily and weekly obligations.

An Biongó observes the lives of a number of bingo enthusiasts, of varying ages and from different parts of the country, who find their way to the parish halls, the GAA clubhouses and the commercial bingo centres week on week to mark their cards and cross their fingers. Máire Cáit Ní Mhurchú lives in the remote, wind-swept Gaeltacht of Ceathrú Thaidhg in Mayo. A bingo player for almost forty years, hers is a story of family and that period in life when a parent finds their children have flown the coop.

In Gaoth Dóbhair, mile-a-minute Marie Gillespie works part-time in the local supermarket, but with businesses closing all around, including the local nightclub, Marie has resorted to the bingo in the local GAA club as a way of getting out of the house. The bingo bug runs in the family however, and with her bingo-mad aunt Peggy Hazelton returning from the US on holiday, Marie’s bingo nights out are about to go into overdrive.

Driving is something of a prerequisite for Garda Sergeant O’Dwyer’s bingo in Baile Ghib, Co. Meath. Although he runs a regular bingo night in the area, it’s his drive-in bingo in a local field that really gets his motor running. Punters pull up and settle down, the sergeant’s daughter Sheryl Ní Dhuibhír assists with the chaos and when you’ve got a “Check!” you beep your horn!

Producer Sheila Friel said “We have spent many months sharing in the bingo lives of people from all over Ireland, in order to piece together the emotional connection they share with the bingo hall, whether it’s an ageing bachelor with a bingo obsession, a group of young women new to the game, or a recently widowed pensioner who plays seven nights in the week.

“We found a unique form of social interaction, where community and competition meet face to face in an addictive and ritualistic manner; and for its many players, escapism from the realities of Irish life for a few short hours. From mothers and daughters, brother and sisters, aunts and nieces and lifelong friends, An Biongó depicts their lives and their continuing love affair with the game. We have tried to capture the dynamics of their relationships and offer an endearing, humorous and sometimes affecting portrait of a whole cross section of Irish society who all happen to have one thing in common – bingo.”

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An Biongó, 30 Nollaig 2016, TG4 ar 20.00i.n.

Is clár é An Biongó a bhainfidh idir dheora agus gháire as an lucht féachana nó is amhlaidh a fhiosrófar traidisiún mór de chuid na hÉireann, mar atá oícheanta Biongó. Craolfar an clár ar an Aoine 30 Nollaig ag 8i.n. ar TG4.

Is léiriú de chuid Imagine Media é An Biongó a chraolfar ar TG4, clár a fuair tacaíocht ón Chiste Craoltóireachta Gaeilge, Scáileán Thuaisceart Éireann

Scrúdaítear an dóigh nár athraíodh an caitheamh aimsire seo riamh dar le roinnt daoine agus an chaoi ar oíche siamsaíochta nua-aimseartha é ag daoine eile. Sa chlár seo, léiríonn na glúnta éagsúla a imríonn biongó an bealach ar fhorbair an cluiche, cé chomh coitianta a bhí sé i Meiriceá agus san Eoraip; an bealach ar tháinig sé i dtír in Éirinn ina dhiaidh sin sna 1950í agus an tábhacht atá leis i sochaí na hÉireann sa lá ata inniu ann.

Sa scannán seo, a mhaireann uair an chloig, tugtar mionléargas ar an traidisiún a bhaineann le hoícheanta biongó agus ar an chaidreamh atá ag na himreoirí leis. Feictear fosta na rudaí a spreagann daoine lena imirt. De réir cosúlachta is cluiche é atá bunaithe ar dhul sa seans, is geall gan dochar é a d’fhéadfadh cúpla Euro sa bhreis a chur i bpóca an bhuaiteora. Ach cad é an fhíortharraingt a mheallann daoine chuig na hallaí biongó seachtain i ndiaidh seachtaine? An é go dtéann daoine ann ar mhaithe le hairgead a bhaint? Nó an bhfuil cúis níos doimhne taobh thiar de? An gníomhaíocht é leis an uaigneas agus leis an scoilt a mhaolú in áiteanna iargúlta na tíre? An ócáid shóisialta é, le deis a bheith ag daoine bualadh lena gcairde agus le cairdeas a dhéanamh le daoine úra? An oidhreacht teallaigh é a thagann anuas ó ghlúin go glúin? Is buaicphointe seachtainiúil ag daoine go leor é an cluiche agus fiosraíonn “An Biongó” an dóigh a n-úsáidtear é le healú ó ghnáthchúraimí an tsaoil.

Amharcann “An Biongó” ar shaol roinnt daoine a bhfuil an-dúil acu ann. Tá idir óg agus aosta sa chlár agus cé go dtagann siad as áiteanna éagsúla ar fud na tíre tá dluthcheangal eatarthu ar fad. Téann siad uilig chuig na hallaí paróiste, chuig clubanna CLG agus chuig na hionaid tráchtála biongó lena gcuid cártaí a mharcáil agus lena méara a chrosadh ar a chéile. Cónaíonn Máire Cáit Ní Mhurchú i nGaeltacht iargúlta Cheathrú Thaidhg i Maigh Eo. Tá sí ag imirt biongó le beagnach 40 bliain anuas agus baineann a scéal lena teaghlach agus leis an seal sin sa saol nuair a fhágtar bearna sa bhaile i ndiaidh imeacht na bpáistí.

I nGaoth Dobhair, oibríonn Marie Gillespie, bean a bhfuil an-spraoi agus an-fhuinneamh inti, go páirtaimseartha san ollmhargadh áitiúil. Tá comhlachtaí áitiúla ag druidim, club oíche an cheantair ina measc. Dá dheasca sin go léir, ní mór do Mharie dul go clubtheach CLG an pharóiste agus biongó a imirt ar mhaithe le hoíche amuigh a bheith aici. Is traidisiún teallaigh é mar tá an dúil chéanna ag a haintín, Peggy Hazelton, sa bhiongó agus nuair a thagann sí ar ais go hÉirinn ó shaoire i Meiriceá is a amhlaidh a bhíonn na hoícheanta ag an bhoingó lán craic agus spóirt.

Tá bua na tiomána riachtanach le freastal ar an seisiún biongó a shocraíonn an Garda-Sháirsint Ó Duibhir i mBaile Ghib, Co. na Mí. Cé go reáchtálann sé oíche bhiongó go rialta sa cheantar, is i gcarrbhiongó i bpáirc áitiúil is mó atá a chroí. Faigheann na custaiméirí áit pháirceála agus níl le déanamh acu ach séideadh ar an bhonnán le léiriú gur bhuaigh siad. Cuidíonn iníon an tSáirsint Sheryl Ní Dhuibhir leis an anord seo a stiúradh.

Arsa an léiritheoir, Sheila Friel, “Tá roinnt mhór míonna caite againn ag fiosrú na nósanna biongó atá ag daoine as gach cearn den tír ionas go dtiocfadh linn an comhchaidreamh atá acu leis an halla biongó a thaispeáint. Is cuma más baitsiléir atá ag dul in anonn in aois atá i gceist agus róspéis aige i mbiongó, nó más grúpa ban é nach bhfuil ach i ndiaidh teacht ar an chluiche den chéad uair, nó más bean a ndearnadh baintreach di ar na mallaibh a imríonn biongó seacht n-oíche sa tseachtain atá i gceist, is amhlaidh atá cónasc láidir eatarthu uilig.

“Tháinig muid ar chaidreamh sóisialta ar leith a chuireann an pobal agus an iomaíocht lena chéile mar dheasghnáth andúile. Is éalú é ag roinnt imreoirí ó fhírinne an tsaoil ar feadh seala. Déanann “An Biongó” cur síos ar an dlúthbhaint atá ag máithreacha, ag iníonacha, ag deartháireacha, ag deirfiúracha, ag aintíní, ag neachtanna agus ag seanchairde leis an chaitheamh aimsire áirithe seo. Rinne muid iarracht an caidreamh seo a chur in iúl agus tugann an clár seo léargas geanúil, greannmhar agus in amanna, corraitheach don lucht féachana ar ghrúpa ionadaíoch de shochaí na hÉireann a bhfuil dlúthcheangal eatarthu – an biongó.”

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