Was Sherlock Holmes Irish? Documentary On Newstalk explores

We track the Irish roots of this remarkable creation

Was Sherlock Holmes Irish? Documentary On Newstalk explores

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes

An audio documentary to be broadcast on Newstalk on 106-108fm investigates the numerous Irish connections of Sherlock Holmes - and asks why the detective is as popular as ever.

In Was Sherlock Holmes Irish?, Luke McManus tracks the Irish roots of this remarkable creation - first by looking at the family background of author Arthur Conan Doyle, and then visiting Edinburgh to meet with Doyle's biographer, Professor Owen Dudley Edwards.

Edwards has theories on the Irish origins of the names of both Professor Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes himself.

Arthur Conan Doyle

"It's pretty clear from Conan Doyle's memoirs it that he was the leader of a street gang, a Catholic gang.

"We must realize that there are overlapping nationalisms, you can think of yourself as British, and Scottish and Irish", Prof Edwards says.

The trail then leads to Cork, where Professor Des McHale is convinced that one of his academic predecessors at UCC was the model for Moriarty himself.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes

The documentary then examines the reasons for Holmes's incredible popularity, with contributions from Professor Clare Clarke of Trinity College Dublin, silent film expert Rob Byrne, Colm McCarthy, a television director of BBC's 'Sherlock' series and Professor Barry McCrea of Notre Dame University.

"After Arthur Conan Doyle came on board, the Strand Magazine sold 500,000 copies a month. Libraries would stay open late on the Thursday the magazine came out, to accommodate readers of the new Sherlock Holmes story", Prof Clarke adds.

'Was Sherlock Holmes Irish?' will be broadcast Saturday January 21st at 7.00am - repeated at 10.00pm.

A podcast will be available after the broadcast on newstalk.com