James Nesbitt’s Ireland
Published: Mon 15 Apr 2013
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In episode 7, we take a look at the some of the people who have claimed a small piece of this beautiful country for themselves. There are estimated to be 3000 castles in Ireland and James meets Helen Cassidy, who runs an agency that specialises in selling them. Helen says: "I have a huge passion for Irish history and the fact that I can actually make my living out of selling castles, is a wonderful thing. I deal in dreams, they want a fantasy to become a reality and I hope the starting point for them is in contacting me and looking at what I have on offer."
Helen takes James to County Offaly to view the 14th century Cloghan castle, a national, historical monument set within 157 acres, with three private gardens and 80,000 trees, priced in the region of €1.3m. James admits: "It's a magical place, my girls would love it I think." He also meets the outgoing owners Brian and Elise Thompson, who have lived there for 40 years during which time they have lovingly restored much of the castle and made it their home.
Irish homes don't come much grander than the 18th century Longville House in County Cork, which has been in the same family for three generations. With its late Georgian architecture, the O’Calaghan family has run the house as a hotel for over 40 years. Aisling O'Callaghan says: "My children love growing up here so they appreciate all they have around them, the sense of space." The house even has its own distillery to make apple brandy from the apples growing in the orchards of the grounds. James is impressed: "This is living off the land, Irish-style, and I'll drink to that."
This week we also meet the Trass family from Tipperary, who started with a small apple farm and have now branched out into pears, plums, sweet cherries, strawberries and raspberries. Con Trass says: "When I was ten years old I used to come home from school and my dad would send me out for an hour or so to be with the pickers, so that would make it about 34 years of picking. I find harvesting fruit very therapeutic, turn off the phone and just go and concentrate on what's on the plant, it's very enjoyable." Con is also about to hold Ireland's first Apple and Cider Festival at his farm, a family event which proves to be a huge success.
Stunning, captivating and endlessly surprising, the series paints an intimate and charming portrait of a country famous the world over.
“We’re a great big foodie nation, us Irish. Delicacies like champ, colcannon and coddle, go very well with white pudding, soda bread and shellfish. So it wouldn’t be right for me to come all this way back to my homeland without sampling a few of the national dishes.”
James Nesbitt presents this brand new series on his native country Ireland, famed for its rugged volcanic landscapes, vast lakes, ancient traditions and the unique charm of the locals. Across eight episodes, James embarks on a thrilling adventure through the rich Irish landscape. He explores his homeland and personally guides viewers through Irish life, touching on its culture, history, people and visiting places close to his heart along the way.
Throughout the series James engages with Irish people from all walks of life, as he provides a fresh perspective on iconic landmarks such as the Giant’s Causeway and natural wonders like the Black Cliffs of Moher, as well as less well-known places of interest including the traditional seaweed baths at Strandhill.