‘Fág an Bealach’ Docudrama Update

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.


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Categories: Events, Irish Brigade, Update

Author:Damian Shiels

I am an archaeologist based in Ireland, specialising in conflict archaeology.

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15 Comments on “‘Fág an Bealach’ Docudrama Update”

  1. William Moss
    March 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    I worked on this film as Reenactor Coordinator and Armourer…would like to know if/when there will be a DVD made and when it will be for sale. Many of the American reenactors in this film would like to have their personal copy…we were very proud to have been a part of this production.


    • March 15, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

      Hi William,

      I’m looking forward to seeing your work! I imagine Tile will bring out a dvd of it, they have done with a couple of their other big shows, so hopefully this will be no different. I will check on this though and if I hear anything I will let you know.

      Kind Regards,


      • William Moss
        March 16, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

        Many thanks for your kind response. I look forward to hearing from you.
        By the way, there was also a photograhic team from the Smithsonian on set each day, filming a “Making of…” video. Do you have any idea whether or not this will be an additional feature on the DVD?


    • C D Farrell
      April 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

      Hey Bushrod!

      I was just checking out some of the press for the documentary and came across this blog and a post from my old friend and commander!
      I’ll try and talk to the guys in Tile and find out when/where this will be released. If you can email me (iamtuncf@yahoo.co.uk) I’ll reply with any info.

      I hope all is good with you and your men!
      Peter Welsh (also known as Colin!)

      • William "Bushrod" Moss
        April 2, 2011 at 2:47 am #

        Hello, Colin! So good to hear from you! I can state unequivocably that your performance in the film was exemplary! We are all so very proud to have been a part of this project…can you check with Rebecca to see if she still has my resume’? If not, I will forward my updated copy to you via email…I SURELY want to be part of any other projects that ya’ll come up with! In the meantime, if you get a chance to see the film “The Conspirator” (about the Lincoln conspirators-release date April 15th), look for “Capt. Bushrod” in the execution scenes…I was commanding the garrison troops stationed at the gallows for the execution. Let’s keep in touch, ok? Loved working with you…you were a quick study!

  2. March 15, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    How did you hear about this? Did you see my post on Facebook?Russ

    • C D Farrell
      April 1, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

      Hey Russ

      Hope all is well with you. Still haven’t seen the doc myself. Looking forward to it.
      If you’re ever up north near Toronto gimme a shout (647 878 4671). Living up here now.


  3. John Neely
    March 20, 2011 at 3:43 am #

    Gentleman and Ladies, I have just yesterday evening witnessed the final result of our work of a year ago. I am very impressed with the production and the performances in the film especially mine!!! I was really good if I do say so myself. Cudos to all involved in this production! I am ready to Clear the Way for another project. Please keep me in mind. You are in mine. What a delightful experience with such an array of talent. My best to everyone am looking forward to your visit in Alabama. Bless you all John Neely

    • C D Farrell
      April 1, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

      Hey John My Old Pal!

      Hope you’re doing good these days, I miss all you guys. Had a lot of fun making this and would love to do it again sometime!
      I’m actually living in Toronto now so if I make it down South we’ll have to meet up, or if you’re ever up this way gimme a shout
      (647-878-4671 email iamtuncf@yahoo.co.uk). Still haven’t seen this myself, waiting on the guys to send me a copy…I’m sure as
      you said above that you were especially good! Not so sure about that Welsh fella though! In fact I’m starting to wonder whether they
      cut all my scenes and that’s why i haven’t got a copy yet! Anyway, take care and send my love to all the rest of the gang!


  4. John Neely
    March 20, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    PS Would love a call my number is 1 256 282 2460 Keith John

  5. John Neely
    March 20, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    PSS Get this on the IMDB soon

  6. William "Bushrod" Moss
    March 29, 2011 at 4:43 am #

    To All who crewed this film: I just watched the results of our labours… and thought it was spectacular…great editing/graphics/narration. I am very proud to say that I played a part in this production. Please keep me in mind for any future projects….I gave my resume’ to Rebecca O’Malley (Production Manager) the day I left. Email: wlmjr1861@gmail.com Phone: 1-865-567-6414 (cell) Available anytime/anyplace for entire production sequence. Wishing you continued success, I am, Your Obedient Servant, “Bushrod” (Armourer/Reenactor Coordinator)

  7. Joe Calnan
    January 10, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

    I’m new to this whole process and related websites, but I could not let anything about Thomas Francis Meagher pass without some comment. I am a Hibernian in Clancy Montana–a member/officer of the Thomas Francis Meagher Division of the US Ancient Order of Hibernians, often referred to the AOH. As such, I am very interested in the previous mention of the possible existence of a DVD of Fag an Bealach.

    Can anyone tell me where I might get access to that DVD?


    • January 11, 2012 at 8:43 am #

      Hi Joe,

      I have inquired about a dvd release but there is none as yet as I think it will be shown by the network in the US a few times first. Hopefully there will be one in the future though!

      Kind Regards,



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