Portrait of Eoin MacNeill lands History prize
A programme on the life and legacy of one of the central characters in the 1916 Rising has taken the History award at the Celtic Media Festival 2017 in Douglas, Isle of Man this evening. Eoin Mac Néill: Fear Dearmadta 1916 won the Award for its portrayal of the controversial figure whose writings and actions played a central role in the founding of the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and the attempted cancellation of the Easter Rising 1916.
The documentary also examines MacNeill’s reasons for that most controversial decision – when, as Chief of Staff of the Volunteers, he issued a countermanding order that attempted to stop the 1916 Easter Rising. Pivotal moments in this seminal phase of our history are brought to life through dramatic reconstruction, access to MacNeill’s unpublished memoir, interviews with key historians and the personal account of MacNeill’s grandson, former Tánaiste Michael McDowell.
The documentary was produced by independent company Doubleband Films, with financial support from the Northern Ireland Irish Language Broadcast Fund, TG4 and BBC Northern Ireland.
The Celtic Media Festival (CMF) is one of the most prestigious and long-established TV, radio and media festivals in these islands. It combines a three-day media conference that attracts 300 broadcasters, producers, media and students with a content competition across the full range of content genres. Entries first go through a national pre-selection phase in each country with the winners advancing to the international Festival. (www.celticmediafestival.co.uk). This year’s Festival, is taking place in the Isle of Man for the first time in its 38 year history.
TG4 Ardstiúrthóir Alan Esslemont, congratulated the winning entry, saying that it was a substantial re-appraisal of an often neglected central character in the Gaelic revival, the Rising and the founding of the Free State. “This is public service content of the highest quality,” he said “and we are gratified, but not surprised at this latest accolade from our peers in the Celtic media industries.”