Actor Don Wycherley as Thomas Francis Meagher in 'Fág an Bealach'

In an update on the previous post regarding the upcoming Fág an Bealach docudrama, Tile Films have kindly passed on the schedule information. For viewers in the United States the two episodes will be airing back to back on Smithsonian Networks this coming Thursday 17th March. In Ireland the first episode will be on TG4 on Wednesday 23rd March (repeated Saturday 26th March), with the second episode following on Wednesday 30th March (repeated Saturday 2nd April). Tile also provided their press release on the docudrama, a portion of which is reproduced below. The company’s Development Director Dave Farrell appeared on Irish radio station Newstalk with Sean Moncrieff to discuss Thomas Francis Meagher and the Irish Brigade, and you can listen to an mp3 of the interview here.

“Fág an Bealach reveals the untold story of one of the greatest military units of the American Civil War: The Irish Brigade.

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.  ‘Faugh a ballagh’ meaning ‘Clear the Way’ in old Gaelic, the battle cry of the Irish Brigade, echoed across the bloody battlefields of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.  Here, the legend of the ‘Fighting Irish’ was born.

Presented by Irish-American actor Brian Mallon (Gettysburg; Gods and Generals) and narrated by Pat Butler FÁG AN BEALACH tells the story of the Irish Brigade through the heroic actions of the Irish people involved in the Union army fight.

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.  And 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, is Tile Films latest co-production for broadcasters TG4 and Smithsonian Channel USA.