Glencree Founder’s Family Story


in Tile Media production, Tráma Teaghlaigh on TG4

30/5/23: On May 31st, TG4 debuts Tráma Teaghlaigh - an engrossing series that investigates the history of intergenerational trauma caused by the Irish Civil War on the descendants of those immediately impacted and on the Irish Nation as a whole.

Produced by Tile Media the series explores how the war impacted on both the history of the Irish state and subsequent generations of the families involved in the conflict.

Powerful storytelling forms the backbone of this compelling documentary series which looks at descendants of the Irish revolutionary period and explores the endured trauma and the reverberating effects of that trauma upon Irish citizens.

The story of Irish Justice Minister (1922-1927) Kevin O’Higgins and his assassination features in the first episode on 31 May at 9.30pm on TG4. His tragic death hugely traumatised his family and baby daughter Una O’Higgins O’Malley. When she grew up, she wanted to ensure no family would ever have to endure what her family had gone through, and so she went on to establish the Glencree Centre for

Peace and Reconciliation in Co. Wicklow in order to provide a safe space for peacebuilding dialogue during the Troubles in Northern Ireland from 1974 onwards.

For series writer/director Keith Farrell, the long term impact of these turbulent times on the families of those who took part has been overlooked, “Too often Irish history is shown through the eyes of major participants such as Michael Collins or Eamonn DeValera, we wanted to look at the long term impact of the Irish Revolutionary period on not so well known participants and how that impacted on subsequent generations, we wanted to address that in this series and show the human stories behind these major events.”

Centering on Irish revolutionary history and the experiences of citizens during and after 1913 - 1923, the programme looks at how this period of history has resonated through generations in terms of mental health and mental well-being. It also looks at the unfolding family histories since the war. This is a unique untouched subject of Irish history, heritage, family history and experiences associated with wartime Ireland.

“The project highlights the change in Irish cultural perception of trauma, comparing modern day knowledge of the effects of wartime trauma to what was understood in the early twentieth century” comments series producer Fiona Kinsella, Tile Media. “We see how individuals’ experiences were shaped by stressful events and subsequently how Irish society and culture was also shaped.”

This 3 x 60-minute original production featuring previously unseen archive interview footage promises a gripping and rare insight into this recent turbulent period in Irish history. Told through interviews with children and grandchildren, the trauma and tragedy of their family losses still resonates, and impacts lives a century later.

The series will broadcast weekly from Wednesday 31st May @ 9.30pm for 3 consecutive weeks as part of TG4’s Wednesday Documentary Season.

Click on the image to the right to view promotional video. You will see Kevin O’Malley’s daughter Iseult O’Malley speaking at 1.34.

Episodes 1-3

Episode 1 – Reprisal

The opening episode explores two separate atrocities: the murder of 8 Republican prisoners in Ballyseedy in March 1923, a war crime carried out by the Irish Free State Army and the assassination by Republicans of Kevin O'Higgins in 1927 gunned down in cold blood on his way to mass, four years after the Civil War ended. Both these events left a lasting legacy of bitterness on the Irish political landscape, but the murders had a profound impact on the families of the victims, leaving long standing trauma within the succeeding generations. Focusing on the three families: the Fullers, the O'Connors and the O'Higgins O'Malleys, this episode looks at the path for reconciliation for the families of the victims and how they were able to move beyond their trauma and use their experiences for the cause of peace.

Episode 2 – Division

This episode tells the story of Ryan family of Tomcoole in Wexford. The Ryans were one of the most significant families of the Irish Revolutionary period. Using the families own letters from the era, the film focuses on the Ryan sister who played a key part in 1916 and the War of Independence and how the treaty split the family into three parts, with two sisters choosing the pro-treaty side, four other siblings taking the anti-treaty side and the rest of the family choosing to remain neutral. The experiences of the Ryan family reflected that of many families across the country torn asunder by the civil war. After the Civil War, the family put aside their differences and came back together. This episode looks at how they were able to heal those divisions.

Episode 3 – Disillusionment

For many of those who took part in the Revolutionary period, the Ireland they hoped and fought for never materialised, as the promises made in the 1916 Proclamation where swept aside by successive governments. This episode looks at the failure of the Irish Revolution and the trauma and legacy that plagued both combatant and their families in the decades after the Revolution ended. It is a story of emigration, incarceration, mental illness, and bitterness that accompanied the end of the civil war and the creation of the new Irish State. It focuses on the experiences of the Briscoe, Dalton, Mallin and MacSwiney Families.

Tráma Teaghlaigh begins on Wednesday 31st May @ 9.30pm for 3 consecutive weeks on TG4.



TG4: | 086 267 5018

Glencree Media Contact: Valerie Ringrose Fitzsimons | 086 3771020 |