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Have you seen the Irish Famine period drama "The Hanging Gale"?

This BAFTA-nominated "oldie but goodie" is a must-watch for the Irish diaspora.

And the good news is... you can watch it online!

The Hanging Gale

IMAGE © Little Bird Films

'The Hanging Gale' (R15+) is a four-part TV mini-series set in Co. Donegal against the backdrop of Ireland's Great Famine in 1846.

It follows the story of a family's struggle to hold their farm when the potato blight struck their harvest for the second year in a row. The narrative is well-balanced, offering perspectives from both land agents and tenant farmers, and provides valuable insights for those of us curious about what our ancestors might have faced.

The title of the series, "The Hanging Gale," refers to a historical practice in Ireland in the time of our ancestors. A 'hanging gale', was when landlords gave new tenants a 6-month grace period on rent payment (with the expectation that the rent owed would be paid when the land's crops were harvested and sold).

Back then, tenant farmers paid their rents to landlords, half-yearly, on 'Gale Days' (typically May 1st and November 1st). It was a time for bringing what they had to market and for taking stock of what they needed to sustain themselves until the next harvest. As you can imagine, Gale Day was the bane of most tenant farmers' lives, especially during years of poor harvests.

The idea for this series came from Irish actors Joe and Stephen McGann while exploring their own family's history. That the Phelan brothers depicted in this harrowing tale are played by four real-life brothers, deepens the viewer's connection to this gripping and moving tale.

Premiered in Ireland and the UK in 1995, this British–Irish collaboration (BBC/RTÉ) earned four nominations at the 1996 BAFTA TV Awards, including Best Drama Serial, and Best Costume Design. The soundtrack also received an Ivor Novello Award. So it's well worth a look. (It's R15+ as the content matter can be disturbing at times). 

For those who missed it, we've just discovered the four-episode series is currently online so you can watch from around the world. Click on the episode link below, or bookmark this page to watch later. 

WATCH Episode 1

WATCH Episode 2

WATCH Episode 3

WATCH Episode 4

Read More

The Great Irish Famine Online

Learn how to research Famine Immigrant Ancestors

Your Irish County Just Before the Famine



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