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Donegal News / Derry People
Déardaoin 7 Eanáir 2016

An Trucailín Donn is a new documentary which tells the intriguing story of how one of the most pivotal court cases in the history of the Irish language began over a stubborn farmer, an overenthusiastic policeman, and a little brown cart.

Niall Mac Giolla Bhríde was a committed Gaeilgeoir and language activist. His songs and compositions are popular in irish communities throughout the world, with "The Hills of Donegal", "Noreen Bawn" and "Mó Chró Beag ag Bun Cnoc a Tigh" capturing the deep attachment to place that is at the heart of the Irish experience.

But in 1905, he was just a cottier farmer who had dared to write his name in Irish on his cart. His conviction for not properly displaying his name and the subsequent legal challenge to the case set the stage for a court drama before the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. Before the case would end, it would involve the conviction and fining of hundreds of Irish speakers, the first appearance of Patrick Pearse in court, and a national campaign to change British government policies towards the Irish language.

An Trucailín Donn explorse the lasting impact this case had on the Irish language movement, while also unpicking the effect the case had on Mac Gioll Bhríde's life, the lives of Irish speakers throughout Ireland and the recently founded Conradh na Gaeilge. Imagine Media blends re-enactment, archive and expert commentary, archive and expert commentary to give a 360 degree portrait of not only the case but Mac Giolla Bhride himself.

Producer Sheila Friel said: "The range of historical experts we assembled really gives texture to the story we're trying to tell. However, something we're also very proud of is the testimonies and comments from members of Mac Giolla Bhríde's community. This story was of national interest, but it was also local, personal and specific and the documentary captures both those angles.

Director Mal marken said "The quick development of this case from a local incident to the subject of interest nationwide produces a really fascinating journey, a journey we were thrilled to have th opportunity to explore."

An Trucailín Donn reveals how the stance of one man came to have the impact it did - on Ireland, on history and on the Irish language itself.

The documentary was produced by Creeslough native Sheila Friel from Imagine Media, it is narrated by Rann na Feirste native, Niall Mac Eachmharcaigh, features interviews with Donegal people, Lillis Ó Laoire, Fiona Coyle (Falcaragh), Bríd Curran (Creesloug), Brendan Mac Suibhne and features music from Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde.

It will broadcast on Tuesday 12th January 2016 on TG4 at 9.30pm.

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