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Our Friends in the North – Mondays at 7.30pm on RTÉ One

Date Posted: April 15, 2013

Northern Ireland comedian Kevin McAleer is back with a bang in Our Friends in the North. With money pouring into “Ulster-Scots” culture and language in the north, he wonders just who these people are and what their culture is like. In four programmes we watch as Kevin goes on a road trip – North Antrim, Donegal, Monaghan and parts of County Down. This new series begins tonight, Monday 15th April, at 7.30pm on RTE One.

McAleer discovers many who feel more at home in Scotland than Ireland, people who wear the kilt and listen to Scottish music, and people who use the “Hamely Tongue”. But with a “Mc” in his surname is it possible that Kevin himself might even have some Scottish blood in his own system?

This is a unique journey of fun and friendship, bringing together different traditions. It is also an emotive journey of discovery for Kevin – raised in Ulster but largely oblivious to this culture so different to his own – thus introducing Kevin and the RTE audience to new places and faces.

In trying to find out more about this “tribe” he has heard of but knows nothing about Kevin meets a variety of people who talk about how much their Scottish ancestry means to them. Kevin learns the basics of Scottish folk dancing, has a go at the bagpipes, and even attends the world’s first ever competitive fashion show for sheep. He dons a kilt, and wonders about his own ancestry.

His final act is to perform stand-up comedy to an audience of Ulster-Scots. Will Kevin’s humour and deadpan delivery transcend cultural differences?

This is a heart-warming series perfectly in tune with the spirit of our times, a gentle introduction to our neighbours in the highways and byways of Ulster.

Our Friends in the North is produced for RTE by Tern Television in Belfast with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund.

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