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Máthair airs tonight at 9.30pm on TG4



Date Posted: March 18, 2020

‘The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world’ – every man who played a role in changing Ireland culturally or politically had mothers who directed and inspired them, who gave them the space and the confidence to fulfil their goals. Through dramatic reconstruction, archive footage and commentary from historians and relatives, this series tells the story of four women and explores key events in Irish history from the Great Famine to the 1981 Hunger Strike. Produced by Macha Media with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund, Máthair airs tonight, Wednesday 18th March, at 9.30pm on TG4.

These programmes examine periods in Irish history through the eyes of one woman and give a new personal insight into the events and personalities of the time. The programmes examine the relationships between Jane Wilde (Speranza) and her son Oscar, Maud Gonne and Seán MacBride, Kathleen and Brendan Behan and Alice and Thomas McElwee.

Programme one uncovers the story of Jane Wilde, or Speranza (her pen name). Jane was well known in Ireland and further afield long before crowds flocked to her son Oscar’s plays. She was a poet, a Nationalist and a celebrity on the Dublin social scene. She lived with her husband and children in Merrion Square where she would host literary ‘Salons’ which greatly influenced the young Oscar. Jane appeared in court many times in Dublin but this did not diminish the respect or affection which the public had for her. Yet when Oscar’s reputation was ruined, Jane’s reputation was also lost. She died in London while Oscar was imprisoned and was buried in a pauper’s grave. It could be argued that Jane and Oscar suffered more because they were famous, what happened to them would never happen in today’s Ireland.

The influence which Maud Gonne had on her son Seán MacBride is the subject of programme two. There was so much more to Maud Gonne than the woman who served as a muse to the poet WB Yeats. Historians and Gonne’s relatives tell of her Republican politics, her work for the disenfranchised and her lifelong support for the for rights of prisoners. It is no surprise that her son, Seán MacBride was chief of staff of the IRA and later the most distinguished barrister in Ireland. He also served as Minister for External Affairs when Ireland was made a Republic and was one of the founders of Amnesty International.

Kathleen Kearney was a messenger in 1916 and she was a socialist and a republican until the day she died. She had an unrivalled repertoire of folk songs and wrote her own versions of songs. Although she lived in a Dublin tenement she had a worldly knowledge thanks to her wide knowledge of literature and history. She would take her children on historical and literary tours of Dublin, telling them of important historical events and pointing out literary sites. This served as an education to Brendan Behan, writer socialist and republican. Programme Three explores the relationship between Kathleen and Brendan which survived the highs and lows of Brendan’s short life.

Programme Four tells the story of Alice McElwee. Alice was born in America but her family returned to Ireland when she was seven years old. She lived a quiet, happy life while battling the usual hardships of the Irish people of the 1930s to the 1960s. She married and raised a big family in south Derry. During the Troubles, as circumstances in her community worsened, two of her sons were imprisoned for IRA activities. In 1981 her son Thomas joined the Hunger Strike and Alice’s life changed forever. She did what she could to save her son but in the end, Thomas was the ninth hunger striker to die. This programme tells the story of the 1981 Hunger Strike through the eyes of a mother who had to suffer the death of her son.

Each programme in the series tells a different story, but each story is personal, true and heart-breaking. These women, whatever their beginnings in life, achieved many things and they influenced the society in which we live today. Director Méabh Fields said “These women’s lives are inspirational and revelatory. Their stories expose the importance and impact of the events which have happened in the

Máthair ar siúl anocht ar TG4 ag 9.30 i.n.

Is mór an tionchar a bhí ag mná ar chinniúint an domhain – na fir a d’athraigh scéal na tíre seo agus a chuaigh i bhfeidhm ar chúrsaí polaitíochta agus cultúrtha, bhí máithreacha ar a gcúl a chothaigh agus a stiúraigh iad agus a thug spreagadh, spás agus muinín dóibh a gcuid aidhmeanna a bhaint amach. Sa tsraith seo insitear scéal ceathrar ban fríd athcruthú drámaíochta, ábhar cartlainne agus tráchtaireacht ó shaineolaithe agus ó ghaolta. Tá scéal na hÉireann ón Ghorta Mór go dtí an Stailc Ocrais i 1981 a insint sa sráith seo. Beidh Máthair, atá léirithe ag Macha Media le tacaíocht ó Chiste Craoltóireachta Gaeilge, Scáileán Thuaisceart Éireann ar siúl anocht, Dé Céadaoin 18ú Márta, ag 9.30i.n. ar TG4.

Is bealach úr pearsanta é le hamharc ar an stair agus le léargas a fháil ar imeachtaí agus ar phearsaí móra trí shúile na mban. Déanann na cláir scrúdú ar na caidrimh idir Jane Wilde (Speranza) agus a mac Oscar, Maud Gonne agus Seán MacBride, Kathleen agus Brendan Behan agus Alice agus Thomas McElwee.

I gclár a haon instear scéal Jane Wilde, nó Speranza (an ainm cleite a bhí aici). Bhí Jane i mbéal an phobail in Éirinn agus ar fud an domhain i bhfad sula raibh na sluaite ag tarraignt ar na drámaí a scríobh a mac. Bhí sí ina fhile, ina náisiúntóir agus ina pearsa mór le rá i saol soisialta Bhaile Átha Cliath.  Bhí conaí uirthi lena fear céile Sir William Wilde i Merrion Square, áit a raibh ‘literary salons’ aici a chuaigh i bhfeidhm go mór ar Oscar óg. Bhí sí féin os comhair na cúirte faoi dhó ach ní dhearna sin dóchar ar bith don meas nó don dáimh a bhí ag an phobal uirthi. Ach nuair a chaill Oscar a dhea-chlú, tharla amhlaidh do Jane agus fuair sí bás i Londain le linn d’Oscar a bheith i ngéibheann agus cuireadh í in uaigh bhochtáin.  Ní tharlaíodh na rudaí na rudaí a tharla do Jane nó da mac in Éirinn in lae inniu.

Tá an tionchar a d’imir Maud Gonne ar a mac Seán MacBride faoi chaibidil i gclár a dó. Bhí i bhfad níos mó i gceist le Maud Gonne ná an bhean a spreag filíocht WB Yeats. Insíonn gaolta agus stairí faoin pholaitíocht poblachtanach s’aici, faoin obair a rinne sí do dhaoine a bhí faoi chois agus faoin agóidíocht a rinne sí do chearta prisiúnaithe. Ní ionadh ar bith é gur chothaigh sí mac, Seán MacBride, a bhí mar cheannasaí an IRA agus ar an abhcóide is mó clú in Éirinn. Chomh maith le sin bhí Seán MacBride mar Aire Gnóthaí Eachtracha nuair a rinneadh Poblacht de Saor Stát na hÉireann agus ar dhuine de bhunaitheoirí Amnesty International.

Bhí Kathleen Kearney mar theachtaire i 1916 agus bhí sí ina poblachtannach agus ina sóisialaí go lá a bás. Bhí stór mór amhrán aici agus chum sí a cuid amhráin féin. Bhí sí ag cuir fuithi i gcúlshráideanna Bhaile Átha Cliath, ach bhí eolas aici ar an domhan uilig fríd an léamh a rinne sí ar litríocht na linne. Ba ghnáth léi na páistí s’aici a thabhairt ar shiúlóidí thart ar chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath ag taispeáint áiteanna tabhachtacha stairúla agus láithreacha ón litríocht daofa. Sin a tógadh a bhí ag Brendan Behan, scríbhneoir, sóisialaí agus poblachtannach. Léiríonn clár a trí sa sráith seo an tionchar a bhí ag Kathleen ar Brendan agus an caidreamh a bhí eadarthu a mhair fríd an rath agus an meath le linn saol ghairid Brendan.

I gclár a ceathair insitear scéal Alice McElwee. Rugadh Alice sna Stáit Aontaithe ach d’fhil clann s’aici ar Éireann nuair a bhí sí seacht mbliana d’aois. Bhí saol sochair, sona aici cé go raibh an saol crua do chos mhuintir na hÉireann ag an am. Phós sí agus thóg sí clann mór i nDeisrceart Chondae Dhoire. Le teacht na dtroiblóidí, d’éirigh cúrsaí níos measa sa cheantair agus cuireadh beirt mhac s’aici a bhí ina mball den IRA sa phrisiúin. I 1981 chuaigh mac s’aici, Thomas McElwee, ar stailc ocrais agus d’athraigh saol Alice go deo. Rinne sí gach a thiocfadh léi le cuidiú lena mac ach sa deireadh ba é Thomas an naoiú duine a fuair bás ar an stailc. Insíonn an clár seo scéal na stailce fríd súile na máthar a raibh uirthi bás a mic a fhulaingt.

Tá scéal iomlán difriúl a insint i ngach clár ach is scéalta pearsanta, fíor agus coscracha iad uilig. Is iomaí rud a bhain na mná seo amach, idir uasal agus íseal, ach bhí tionchar acu ceathrar ar an sochaí ina bhfuil conaí orainn sa lá atá inniu ann. Deir an stiúrthóir, Méabh Fields, “Tá idir oscailt súl agus spreagadh le fáil i saoil na mná seo agus is léir ó scéalta s’acu a thabhachtaí agus a bhí na heachtraí a thit amach i stair na hÉireann le cead go leith bliain anuas.”

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