lundi, juillet 13, 2015

Fág an Bealach, Cogadh Cathartha Mheiriceá, American Civil War

Published on Jan 1, 2014
Cuirtear síos sa tsraith seo ar scéal an aonaid mhíleata "The Irish Brigade", scéal nár insíodh riamh cheana. Bhí an t-aonad seo ar cheann de na haonaid a b'fhearr i gCogadh Cathartha Mheiriceá. Sa dara clár (dhá cuid measctha le chéile .. níl ann ach sliocht), bíonn an Ginearál Thomas Francis Meagher trína chéile de bharr uafáis an chogaidh. Bíonn fir an Irish Brigade ag ullmhú do na cathanna ríthábhachtacha Fredericksburg agus Gettysburg. 

This docudrama reveals the untold story of one of the greatest military units of the American Civil War: The Irish Brigade. This episode starts with Antietam, Maryland, where the legend of the Irish Brigade began. The Irish Brigade. In the second episode (both episodes joined, but some missing) of Fág an Bealach, the American Civil War reaches its bloody climax. As General Thomas Francis Meagher is overcome by the horror of war, the men of the Irish Brigade prepare for the crucial battles of Fredericksburg and Gettysburg which will decide their fate.

In April 1861 the most destructive conflict in American History, the Civil War, began. Across the American continent, thousands of Irish men and women were caught up in the nationalistic fever that gripped both northern and southern states. The phrase "Fág an Bealach" means 'Clear the Way' (anglicised 'Faugh a ballagh'). It was the battle cry of the Irish Brigade. The phrase echoed across the bloody battlefields of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Here, the legend of the 'Fighting Irish' was born.

At the centre of the Irish Brigade's story is its founder, the controversial and charismatic General Thomas Francis Meagher. Meagher, or "Meagher of the Sword", is the one of the most famous Irishmen in Civil War America. Meagher created the Irish Flag, the tricolour that decades later would fly above the GPO during the 1916 Easter Rising. In 1848 he was sentenced to death for his part in the Young Irelander's rebellion but, with public pressure, he was instead exiled to Australia. In 1852 he made a daring escape to America, where he was lauded as a hero. Yet he had a dark side, leaving his pregnant wife in Australia and later struggling with alcoholism. Meagher is a hugely colourful, conflicted and enigmatic character. 

Tile Films cast leading Irish actor Don Wycherley (Rásaí na Gaillimhe; Ondine; Perrier's Bounty) in the pivotal role of General Thomas Francis Meagher.

Fenian, Donegal man James McKay Rorty played by Irish actor Jonathan Byrne (8.5 hours; Primeval) rose through the ranks of the Irish Brigade to become a captain of artillery at Gettysburg. Captured at the famous battle of Bull Run, he makes a bold escape to fight at other epic battles of the Civil War. 

Irish priest Fr. William Corby played by American actor John Neely (Gettysburg; the speech that saved America) gave up a comfortable teaching post to minister to the men of the Irish Brigade and in the process became the most famous priest in America. He became known as the 'Fighting Chaplain' and no spot on the battlefield was too dangerous or too exposed to the fire of the enemy for this priest. 

Irish-American Peter Welsh, played by Colin D. Farrell (The Ghosts of Duffy's Cut; Death or Canada) found himself caught up in the tide of war and provided a personal, gripping account of battles such as Fredericksburg, where the Irish Brigade was all but decimated. 

New York socialite and Irish Brigade fundraiser Maria Lydig Daly, played by Lesa Thurman (Thor; Gift of the Magi), chronicles life on the home-front. 

The participation of these Irish people in the war was crucial for the creation of modern Irish-America, as they proved their loyalty to their adopted homeland.

Filmed on location in Ireland and in the U.S.A., this two part HD Docudrama series, FÁG AN BEALACH, was a 2011 Tile Films co-production for TG4 / Smithsonian Channel.