Author and presenter Simon Reeve in Ireland. Image credit: BBC TWO

New TV series takes viewers on an Irish adventure

In a new OU/BBC series, author and presenter Simon Reeve takes viewers on a journey to uncover the history of a country which he has never visited before: Ireland.

Simon explores Ireland's breath-taking scenery, and the surprising political and social history of the Irish; from the recent financial crisis that hit the country in 2008 and the legislation of gay marriage, to its two distinct forms of political expression, unionism and nationalism, and those trying to overcome old political animosities.

Simon Reeve (centre) in Bannow Bay. Image credit: BBC Two, 2015

Simon Reeve (centre) in Bannow Bay, Ireland. Image credit: BBC Two, 2015

With the first episode broadcast on BBC Two on Sunday 22 November at 8pm, Ireland with Simon Reeve is a two-part series. It homes in on the site of the Norman invasion in 1170, Bannow Bay, the Giant’s Causeway and the Dark Hedges, famous for featuring in the TV hit Game of Thrones.

The academic lead on the series, Janice Holmes, is an Irish historian in the Faculty of Arts and is based at the The Open University’s Belfast office. She said "It’s been wonderful to watch Simon on his journey of discovery across Ireland. The programme really conveys his genuine surprise and enjoyment of the beautiful Irish landscape, its friendly and welcoming people and its distinctive religious and political culture"

Speaking about the series Simon Reeve said,

I was absolutely delighted to hear that The Open University was backing the BBC Ireland with Simon Reeve series and will use the programmes in study courses. It’s a huge honour to make programmes that tell people a little bit more about the world we live in, but it’s also an enormous responsibility, so the advice and guidance of the expert academics from the OU was absolutely invaluable. In addition to their historical knowledge, it was also particularly beneficial to have the input and guidance of an academic who lives and works in Belfast to give us added insight into the complexities of understanding the enormous changes which are still on-going in Northern Ireland.”

You can find out more about the series on OpenLearn, including an interactive timeline of Irish history, and watch the video trailer.

Want to learn more about Ireland and its history? Visit The Arts Past and Present: Ireland.