The Ashbourne Commemoration Committee have been featuring on a short RTE 1916 film.

New RTE arts programmes look at 1916 legacy

This spring a range of new television arts programming on RTÉ One will mark the legacy of the poets, artists, playwrights and novelists whose work inspired and transformed Ireland over a century ago, and will celebrate some of Ireland’s most inventive living cultural figures, who continue to break boundaries and inspire Irish society today.

As well as The Works Presents, which continues in its Thursday night slot, RTÉ One has commissioned nine new arts programmes that reflect in different ways on the legacy of the cultural revival, featuring Bob Geldof, Christy Moore, Camille O’Sullivan, Fiachna Ó Braonáin and Derbhle Crotty.

Channel Controller for RTÉ One, Adrian Lynch, said: ‘From the poets and artists of the revival to the cultural trailblazers of today, culture in its broadest sense has always played a dynamic role in defining our sense of identity, be it national or individual. RTÉ One, as the nation’s main television channel, strives to reflect that across our programming. Over 27 hours of dedicated arts programming will have been broadcast on the channel since last September, from documentaries such as Brent Pope: Inside Out to specialist arts series such as The Works Presents and our upcoming RTÉ 1916 Easter Sunday special, Centenary.”

The RTÉ One line-up this spring includes A Fanatic Heart: Geldof on Yeats. In this new two-part documentary, Bob Geldof contends that Yeats is one of Ireland’s greatest patriots, a poet and statesman who brought about immense change in Ireland without firing a bullet. Featuring performances of Yeats’ poems by a host of leading cultural figures, including Sting, Van Morrison, Edna O’Brien, Richard E. Grant, Olivia O’Leary, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Noel Gallagher, Anne Enright, and more.

In a two-part film for April, Christy Moore: Journey, Moore revisits the places and people that inspired some of his most powerful songs. He is an artist who has tirelessly documented the lives and stories of the oppressed and marginalised - and the people and events that made them so. From Bloody Sunday to Carnsore Point to the Stardust fire, Moore’s songs tell a story of Ireland in the second half of the century after independence.

In A Terrible Beauty – Culture and Revolution in Ireland, Professor Declan Kiberd looks at the role that artists and cultural leaders had in reinventing Ireland in the late nineteenth century, and asks whether the cultural revival really was the spark that ignited the flame of revolution.

Four-part series 'Fire in the Blood' sees four modern-day cultural leaders pay tribute to four trailblazers of the Celtic Revival: actor Derbhle Crotty celebrates the life and legacy of Lady Gregory; singer Camille O’ Sullivan takes us on a journey through the fantastical world of Harry Clarke; musician and broadcaster Fiachna Ó Braonáin casts a cold eye on Douglas Hyde; and GAA star Anna Geary celebrates the lasting legacy of the founder of the ‘Gaelic Athletic Association for the Preservation and Cultivation of National Pastimes’ Michael Cusack.

On Easter Sunday, as part of RTÉ 1916, 1,100 singers join the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Brophy for A Nations Voice, an open-air concert at Collins’ Barracks, which will include a major new work commissioned for the occasion by RTÉ from composer Shaun Davey and writer Paul Muldoon. A Nation’s Voice is presented by the Arts Council and RTÉ, in association with the National Museum of Ireland, the Association of Irish Choirs, Music Generation, and Ireland 2016.

And on Easter Monday, also as part of RTÉ 1916, Centenary, a cultural celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, will be broadcast live from the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on RTÉ One. Through live and pre-recorded performances from some of Ireland’s most popular artists, Centenary will tell the story of Ireland’s journey from the 1916 Rising to the country that we have become.

A new dedicated arts hub on the RTÉ Player will also be launched in the coming months.