Setting off from the Inishowen peninsula, traditonal singer and prodcuer Macdara Yeates meets with singer and local historian Grace and Colm Toland to learn of their grandfather who was interned in Wales for his involvement in the Irish rebellion. While there, the Tolands share their grandfather's prison diaries and letters home during internment and also sing a selection of songs from the revolutionary period.
In Wales, Macdara travels to the site of Frongoch prison camp near Bala in rural Wales. Nicknamed the ‘University of Revolution’ by Irish internees, Frongoch became an accidental breeding ground for leaders such as Michael Collins to plan revolutionary activity, with Welsh guards allowing the captured men to hold regular meetings, play Gaelic football, and conduct regular Irish language classes. While there, Macdara meets with Gwilym Bowen Rhys, an accomplished Welsh language folk singer steeped in the songs of the region, and Alwyn Wilson, the retired farmer currently living on the site where the prison camp once stood who has dedicated much of his life to the commemoration of the camp's history.
Following the screening, Grace Toland and Gwilym Bowen Rhys will take part in a discussion and performance.
ABAIR is an annual multimedia project exploring the oral traditions of Ireland taking place as part of the St. Patrick’s Festival. Now in its fourth year, the 2022 programme looks to our closest neighbours in Scotland, Wales, France and Spain to examine their place in Irish song and story.
Directed by Bob Gallagher
Produced and Curated by Macdara Yeates