The Newfoundland Irish

The Forgotten Irish Documentaries

Programme cover for RTÉ's submission to the 1981 Golden Harp Festival: The Forgotten Irish.

Funded by the Archbishop of Dublin, the Radharc documentary film series was broadcast by Ireland’s public broadcaster RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) between 1962 and 1996. It includes over 400 films dealing with issues of human rights, injustice, faith, religion, persecution, famine, Christian heritage, and struggles against oppressive regimes.

In August 1980, Aidan O’Hara returned to Newfoundland in the company of a Radharc film crew. Together the created three documentaries about the historical, religious, and cultural links between Ireland and Newfoundland. The first two documentaries, Westward Ho from Waterford and In the Wake of St Brendan, focused mainly on the fisheries, emigration, and sectarian tensions in Newfoundland.

The third documentary, though, took Aidan O’Hara back to the Cape Shore and provided viewers in Ireland with a chance to witness first-hand how shared traditions and repertoires have been preserved, but also adapted into a unique Newfoundland-Irish heritage. The Forgotten Irish television documentary first broadcast on 17 March 1981 and was RTÉ’s nomination for the 1981 Golden Harp Festival.

With the generous support of RTÉ and the Radharc Trust, this gallery features video clips and still images from the Forgotten Irish. To view the entire documentary, visit the RTÉ Archives Radharc Exhibition.

A Grand Time - Online Archive

Visit the extensive archive project - A Grand Time on the Irish Traditional Music Archive website. Aidan O'Hara made most of the recordings featured in A Grand Time, but in 1978 he returned to the Cape Shore with the assistance of a Canada Council grant, folklorist and song scholar Kenneth S Goldstein, and a young folklore student Hugh "Hoodie" Rowlings. Together they retraced Aidan O'Hara's path around the Cape Shore. They also encountered a few new voices along the way.

Listen to songs, music & stories. View photos of the people & places. Meet the singers & musicians from Ship Cove, Patrick’s Cove, St Bride’s, and Branch. This website is a great way to start navigating your way around the outports of this short stretch of Newfoundland’s coastline.

"Aidan O’Hara is a tremendous ambassador for Newfoundland and promoter of the links between the two big islands." John Bruton, former Taoiseach of Ireland

Na Gaeil i dTalamh an Éisc

Aidan O’Hara’s award-winning book about the Irish in Newfoundland. It traces the history of migration and settlement of mainly southeast-Irish to Newfoundland during the pre-famine era, addressing issues of cultural retention and adaptation with particular emphasis on the persistence of Irish language words in Newfoundland dialect. The second part of the book focuses on the music and culture of the Cape Shore, drawing on the same source materials that are featured in ‘A Grand Time.’ Na Gaeil i dTalamh an Éisc won the Oireachtas ‘97 literary award for a work in prose, and was nominated for The Irish Times Literature Prize in 1999 for a work in the Irish language.