Ireland Connects The World: New Radio Documentary

Documentary On Newstalk explores the story of the Victorians online and how Ireland connected the world in the nineteenth century with the transatlantic telegraph cable.

Ireland Connects The World: New Radio Documentary

Ireland Connects The World

‘Ireland Connects The World’ will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Bank Holiday Monday 5th June 2017 at 11am.

In the middle of the nineteenth century the small community on Valentia Island, off the Kerry coast was thrust, unexpectedly into the world of global communications.

The successful laying of the transatlantic telegraph cable would forever change global communications and leave Valentia with a heritage that could see it being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This program is the story of Valentia, of its people and of the hundreds of workers who came to support the telegraph network that connected old and new worlds.

It’s also the story of how communications changed Ireland and the world. Professor Frank Trentmann, Professor Of History at Birkbeck College, University of London is the author of Free Trade Nation and he discusses the impact the telegraph had on trade and nationalism across Europe.

Tom Standage, Deputy Editor of The Economist, is the author of The Victorian Internet and delves into the detail of how even fraudsters and scammers soon sought to exploit the telegraph through all sorts of nefarious schemes.

With contributions from Dr Cornellia Connolly, and Valentia locals Michael Lyne and Joanne Cahill we hear the story of how Valentia benefitted in a time when many locals attended the laying of the cable barefoot.

The family of Robert Graves the first superintendent of the telegraph on the island still has a house on Valentia and we learn how Valentia even ended up with a cricket team, reformed after one hundred years.

Stephen Ferguson, Assistant Secretary and Museum Curator at Dublin’s General Post Office talks about a curious incident at the telegraph office in the GPO in 1916 and goes on to explain how women entered the workforce, in large numbers, in the early days of the telegraph in Ireland.

The story of the telegraph, Valentia, Reuters news agency and Napoleon III are all bound up in the transatlantic cable and actors Sophie Burke and Jim Roche bring some of those stories to dramatic life.

Drama segments include the true story of a ‘pretty little romance’ from the nineteenth century, when two telegraph operators plan a fishing trip together that doesn’t go according to plan, but has a heart warming outcome.

Before being a journalist, Andy O’Donoghue, spent twenty years working in the technology business, including a decade at Apple.

His belief that technology may change, but human nature doesn’t, is at the heart of this story and Ireland Connects The World also reflects on the parallels between the telegraph of Morse and our new, digital telegraph, the internet.

BROADCAST TIMES: ‘Ireland Connects The World’ will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Bank Holiday Monday 5th June 2017 at 11am.

LISTEN LIVE: ‘Ireland Connects The World’ can also be listened to online at:

PODCAST: Podcast available at: after the broadcast.

CREDITS: Ireland Connects The World’ was written and produced by Andy O’Donoghue, and was edited by Sean Byrne at Tinpot Productions.

Narrated by Andy O’Donoghue, it stars Jim Roche and Sophie Burke and was supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, through the television licence fee.

ABOUT THE PRODUCER: Andy O’Donoghue is a technology journalist and is a columnist for the Irish Mail on Sunday and Designed Magazine. He devised the prime time TV3 technology program, The Gadget Buzz. He’s the technology correspondent for Midlands 103, appears regularly on Newstalk and joins Matt Cooper on The Last Word every week, for Tech Tuesday.