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Terry Wogan’s Ireland (BBC Documentary)


It is 40 years since Sir Terry Wogan decided to leave Ireland and to seek his fortune across the water in England. In that time, Ireland has changed beyond all recognition – and so has Terry. Now, in the wake of his retirement from BBC Radio Terry’s going ‚home‘.

In the autobiographical journey of a lifetime he travels back to Dublin, the city he left behind as a teenager, and all the way back to Limerick, where he was born, taking in the length and breath of the heart-stoppingly beautiful Irish coast en route.

For Sir Terry, this is an opportunity to cherish the old, and to seek out and celebrate the new face of Ireland. But this Ireland is a very different country to the one he left behind 40 years ago; the nation now finds itself in the midst of an economic crisis. But as Terry reminds us, Ireland has survived 500 years of oppression, colonisation, religious discrimination, starvation and emigration. The Irish may be down, he concludes, but don’t ever count them out.

Terry was born into an enterprising family of shopkeepers. They lived in Dublin and Limerick, the start and end points of the first leg of this journey. By retracing his story, Terry reveals the bigger picture of post-war Ireland; the result is a uniquely personal take on the history of this beautiful but divided land. Terry has rarely talked about his Irish Catholic origins and so, for many, this series will be a revelation.

In a land that invented the gift of the gab, Terry is in his element as he heads out west in the company of his lugubrious driver, Dave. En route to the house he grew up in, he discovers a ‚moving‘ statue of the Virgin Mary, suffers bad weather on the Ring of Kerry, and in Tralee he recalls Ireland’s Loveliest Ladies competition, as he asks himself what it means to be Irish today.