Return to roots for Wexford's Anne Doyle

By David tucker

Published 24/11/2015 | 00:00

Anne Doyle chatting to Ballindaggin native Seamus Rafter during the filming of the RTE series 'Ireland's Rising' in Ferns last month.
Anne Doyle chatting to Ballindaggin native Seamus Rafter during the filming of the RTE series 'Ireland's Rising' in Ferns last month.

FORMER RTE newsreader Wexford's Anne Doyle, is one of four household names returning to their home counties in Ireland's Rising, a new four-part series for RTÉ One.

The programme will explore the connections to their homes and ancestral counties to events in 1916, which Wexford featuring in the first episode which goes at 8.30 p.m. on Sunday, November 29.

Anne, Ryan Tubridy, Jim McGuinness and Fiona Shaw will travel to Wexford, Galway, Donegal and Cork to learn about their county's circumstances in 1916 and to discover how each county is planning to commemorate the centenary.

They will find out what was going on during that fateful week in April 100 years ago, how their own family lived at the time and will meet people who are commemorating the nation's turning point in diverse and creative ways.

Their assumptions will be challenged as they find out how the events of Easter week weren't just limited to Dublin and the GPO, hopefully prompting every county in the country to reflect on their own connections with 1916.

Hailing from Ferns, near Boolavogue and the Harrow, Anne was very aware of her county's rebel credentials but was interested to find out more about what transpired there on Easter week and why. Anne travelled to Enniscorthy where she learnt about how 300 rebels rose in Enniscorthy after receiving a direct order from the GPO which was delivered to them by their leader Peter Paul Galligan who travelled to Enniscorthy by bicycle under the cover of night. Anne meets with Colm Galligan, Peter Paul's son to find out more about his father's epic cycle.

Anne's own family were farm labourers in 1916. Her grandfather John was 35 when the Rising took place and would have been working long hours on the land when the Rising was being planned. Anne visits the farm where her grandfather worked and finds out more about the daily life of a farm labourer.

Anne spends time Ballinahallen Woods near Ferns to gain some insight into what it might have felt like for the Ferns Volunteers who waited there as confusion reined as to whether the Rising was going ahead or not.

She meets with local school children who are researching their ancestry as part of a short film that is being produced to commemorate 1916. She also meets with their elderly relatives in the 1916 museum and finds out about the research they are doing into their great grandparents or great great grandparents who rose during the Enniscorthy Rising. And Anne meets Felicity Hayes McCoy, a relative of one of the Cumann na mBan members who raised the tricolour over the Volunteer Headquarters, The Atheneum.

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