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New ILBF series Ar An Sliabh follows the lives of Ireland’s mountain communities



Date Posted: September 3, 2021

A new Irish Language Broadcast Fund six-part observational documentary series, Ar An Sliabh, is a portrait of life in four of Ireland’s mountain communities during one extraordinary year. A Strident production, the series airs on Monday 6th September at 7:30pm on RTÉ One. Ar An Sliabh is a co-production between RTÉ and BBC.

The audience has a fly-on-the-wall view of the everyday struggles and triumphs of these mountain dwellers. Themes such as love and loss, coping with family illness and celebrating life’s milestones, growing up and growing old, self-love and nurturing others are gently explored through the prism of the people who have chosen to live in the most rugged regions of Ireland.

We meet twelve-year-old businessman Cérill, who, cut off from his friends finds solace in his beloved animals and the nature around him. Sheep farmer Séamus contemplates a lonely rural existence amidst the beauty of the foothills of the Mournes.

The Glenmalure Lodge in the heart of the Wicklow mountains closed its doors for the first time during Covid-19 and now the Dowling family who run the hotel wonder when they will ever be able to open again.

Cider maker Seán keeps a close eye on his growing apple crop on the sunny side of Slieve Gullion and bee-keeper John Ross tries to avoid getting stung as he harvests his Mourne Mountains honey.

Student Niamh struggles with the college experience that is now confined to her kitchen table while school principal Pól tries to keep his students and staff motivated until he can finally welcome his pupils back to school.

The mountains also loom large as characters in this series, providing a breath-taking backdrop to the Ar An Sliabh narratives. Each geographical area is very distinct. Slieve Gullion is home to a tight-knit South Armagh community, nestled close to one another within the protection of the Ring of Gullion. The Slieve Aughty community is more dispersed over the sprawling mountain and lakes region of East Galway, bordering on counties Clare and Tipperary. The spectacular Wicklow Mountains provide a rural retreat on the fringes of the capital city for those that dwell there. Several rural and coastal communities nestle in the Mountains of Mourne which rise spectacularly from the sea.

The series was produced, directed and filmed by Sinéad Ingoldsby. It was Executive Produced by Mairéad Ní Nuadháin and Kelda Crawford McCann for Strident, Karen Kirby for BBC Northern Ireland, Niamh Ní Churnáin and Brian Páircéir for RTÉ and Áine Walsh for ILBF.

Sinéad Ingoldsby said: “It was a fascinating time to film this series as the Covid pandemic raged in the community. We witnessed the fear, despair, joy and hope of our contributors as life locked down and gradually opened up again for them all.”


Scéal na bpobal a mhaireann i measc na sléibhte in Éirinn atá in Ar An Sliabh sraith nua atá maoinithe ag an Chiste Craoltóireachta Gaeilge. Rinneadh an tsraith ar an mhodh breathnaitheach i rith na bliana 2021 agus díríonn sé ar na daoine a mhaireann i gceithre cinn de cheantair sléibhe. Bliain eisceachtúil a bhí inti. Craolfar clár a haon ag 7.30i.n Dé Luain 6 Meán Fómhair ar RTÉ One. Léiriú de chuid Strident is ea Ar An Sliabh agus is comhléiriú idir RTÉ agus BBC NI.

Beidh an lucht féachana ag leanacht na ndaoine seo i gcaitheamh na bliana – ag coinneáil súil orthu agus iad ag maireachtáil le grá agus gruaim, cúraimí an tsaoil, cúraimí feirme agus clainne, fás agus foghlaim, gach duine acu ag maireachtáil i réigiúin éagsúla atá sceirdiúil agus scoite amach.

Leaid óg 12 bhliain is ea Cérill. Tá sé gearrtha amach óna chairde, ach níl uaigneas air i measc na n-ainmhithe agus an nádúir. Feirmeoir caorach is ea Séamus agus é scoite amach leis féin féin faoi scáth na mBeanna Boirche.

Den chéad uair riamh, dúnadh doirse an Glenmalure Lodge i gcroílar Shléibhte Chill Mhantáin, le linn Covid. Níl a fhios ag Muintir Dowling, ar leo é, an n-osclóidh siad arís go brách.

Ar thaobh na gréine i Sliabh gCuillinn tá úllord breá ag Seán. Tá sé ag súil ceirtlis a dhéanamh as sa bhfómhar. Tugann John Ross aire mhaith dá chuid beacha agus déanann sé mil sna Beanna Boirche.

Ag strachailt le hobair ón mbaile atá an t-ábhar oide Niamh agus an Príomhoide Pól. Tá seisean ag súil go mór leis an lá a bhfailteoidh sé ar ais roimh a chuid daltaí scoile.

Is caraictéirí iad na sléibhte sa tsraith seo freisin. Feicimid iad ó shéasúr go séasúr agus iad ina gcúlphictiúr maorga ar leith ag gach pobal. Ceithre phobal atá sa tsraith – pobal teann Ard Mhacha Theas i Sliabh gCuillinn agus iad teanntaithe ag Fáinne Cnoc Shliabh gCuillinn; pobal scaipthe Shliabh Eachtaí in oirthear na Gaillimhe agus iad gar don Chlár agus Tiobraid Árainn; muintir Chill Mhantáin sna sléibhte gar don phríomhchathair ach atá fós amuigh faoin tuath; agus pobal na mBeanna Boirche a mhaireann cois cósta agus i measc na sléibhte is áille agus is iontaí ar fad.

Sinéad Ingoldsby a stiúraigh, a léirigh agus a rinne scannánú ar an tsraith. Is iad na Léiritheoirí Feidhmiúcháin ná: Kelda Crawford-McCann agus Mairéad Ní Nuadháin do Strident, Niamh Ní Churnáin agus Brian Páircéir do RTÉ, Karen Kirby do BBCNI agus Áine Walsh don ILBF.

‘Bhí sé thar a bheith suimiúil a bheith ag obair ar an tsraith seo le linn na paindéime Covid,’ a dúirt Sinéad Ingoldsby. ‘Bhíomar in éineacht leis na pobail éagsúla seo agus iad glasáilte síos,  ó bhriseadh croí agus faitíos go dóchas agus sonas, nuair a athosclaíodh an saol arís.’

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