wigs on the green

My new radio documentary, Wigs on the Green, is scheduled for broadcast on Newstalk 106-108 fm.

St Stephen's GreenExploring the stories behind Ireland’s most popular park, St Stephen’s Green.

This weekend, Documentary on Newstalk airs the premiere of ‘Wigs on the Green’, in which IMRO-nominated producer Brian Gallagher looks at the lives of those who work and play in the vicinity of Ireland’s most famous park, St Stephen’s Green.

Wigs on the Green will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 21st July at 7am with repeat broadcast on Saturday 27that 9pm

Using a lively mix of interviews, location recordings, sound effects and music, Wigs on the Green explores the stories behind Ireland’s most popular park, St Stephen’s Green.

Historian Arthur Flynn tells how the Green was originally used for pubic executions, before becoming a private park that in time was gifted to the people of Dublin by Arthur Guinness. Therese Casey, the Park Superintendent, talks of the challenges of running a city-centre park that gets 4.6 million visitors annually.

The programme looks at the human interest stories associated with institutions located on the Green, such as Adolf Hitler’s half brother working in the Shelbourne Hotel, and the canvas from the portrait of Queen Victoria in the College of Surgeons being used to make bandages during the 1916 Rising.

Sinead O’Kane and Pat Rooney reminisce respectively about being a boarder at Loreto on the Green, and visiting the 1500-seater Green Cinema, while Arthur Flynn tells the story of the little-known Huguenot cemetery at Merrion Row, and its link to the family of Samuel Beckett.

Niall Burgess, the Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs, gives a fascinating look behind the scenes at the historic Iveagh House, while Raymond Mooney tells of the changes that have taken place at the Hibernian Club, which was originally a gentlemen’s club founded by Daniel O’Connell.

Contributors reminisce light-heartedly about their memories of Stephen’s Green, while Edmund Lynch, one of the founders of the Irish Gay Rights Association, recalls the important role played by Rice’s, one of Dublin’s first gay-friendly pubs.

We hear of the social changes to the area, as observed by Eddie McEvoy, who has been a barber on Grafton Street for fifty-five years, then Bridget Spain explains why she loves her job as the minister of the nearby Unitarian Church.

Looking to the past, Arthur Flynn tells of Dublin’s first Catholic University at Newman House, while looking to the future the impact of one-way streets, pedestrianisation and the Luas system is reviewed.  The programme concludes with contributors expressing what Stephen’s Green means to them, and their hopes for its future.

BROADCAST ­TIMES: WIGS ON THE GREEN will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 21st July at 7am with repeat broadcast on Saturday 27th July at 9pm

PODCAST from www.newstalk.com after the first broadcast.

CREDITS: WIGS ON THE GREEN was produced by Brian Gallagher, and funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.

Quotes from WIGS ON THE GREEN:

“Adolf Hitler’s half brother, Alyious Hitler, worked here.  He would have washed the pots in the kitchen.”  Denis O’Brien Concierge, Shelbourne Hotel.

 “I started in ’64 and I’m still working there – I must be the oldest working in Grafton Street,” Eddie McEvoy, barber.

Trying to get the work done safely – with 4.6 million visitors it’s impossible sometimes to get grass cut,” Gerry Donaghue, St Stephen’s Green Parks Service Manager

“For a lot of people, going into Rices was the start of their journey to their full freedom as a person.” Edmund Lynch, founder member, Irish Gay Rights Movement.

“We employ over seventy nationalities, speaking forty languages, working in almoist every time zone.  So this is a global organisation, working for Ireland, centred and headquarted, in a quiet house on the south side of St Stephen’s Green.” Niall Breslan, Director General, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.