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Liam Neeson to help tell story of Irish famine

Actor involved with RTE series 'so generations can learn from it'

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Honour: Liam Neeson will take part in the RTE series

Honour: Liam Neeson will take part in the RTE series

Honour: Liam Neeson will take part in the RTE series

Actor Liam Neeson revealed he became involved in an RTE series marking the 175th anniversary of the Great Famine because it is a story for all generations to watch and learn from.

The Hunger: The Story of the Irish Famine will examine one of Irish history's defining events.

The first part airs tonight.

Neeson (68), who is from Ballymena, will guide viewers through the gripping 60-minute episodes as they tell the definitive story of the disaster.

The famine was caused when the potato crop, which Ireland was so reliant on, failed in three seasons out of four between 1845 and 1849, resulting in mass starvation and disease.

One million people died of hunger and disease and more than a million others emigrated, mainly to the United States.

The famine hit Ulster hard and between 1845 and 1851 the province's population fell by 340,000 - a drop of 15.7%. Fermanagh lost almost 30% of people, while Tyrone, Antrim and Armagh lost about 15%.

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Neeson said: "The Hunger: The Story of the Irish Famine is a compelling series for all generations to watch and learn from.

"The famine spawned the global Irish diaspora of 70m around the world, over 30m of which are in the US.

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Depiction of the Irish famine, which began in 1845

Depiction of the Irish famine, which began in 1845

Getty Images

Depiction of the Irish famine, which began in 1845

"Being one of the global Irish, I felt it was important to be involved in the series because it marks a defining national moment in how Ireland found hope in the face of catastrophic tragedy. Hope is something we all need right now."

The first part of the series airs on RTE One tonight at 9.35pm with the second part screened next Monday, December 7.

RTE's director of content Jim Jennings said it was a privilege to bring one of the most defining events in Irish history to the small screen.

"It is important that we commemorate such a significant event and honour those who lost their lives by understanding and sharing our nation's story," he said.

"This series is a definitive guide to the famine and also a timely reminder during these turbulent times of Ireland's strength and resilience".

The RTE Cork commissioned series is the second major partnership with University College Cork and the Republic's national broadcaster.

Irish Culture Minister Catherine Martin said: "The Great Famine has been widely recognised as the single most significant event in modern Irish history."

She added: "The fostering of deeper understanding of historical events is the consistent theme of the Government's approach to commemoration."


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