ILBF launches first call for 2016


Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund (ILBF) has launched its first call for 2016. The deadline for the first call is 12 noon on Friday 18th March 2016.

In a recent review of the programming output of the ILBF, the ILBF investment Committee indicated a wish to see more content targeted at children and content with particular relevance or appropriateness to Irish Language Learners.

The fund would welcome any enquiries in the interim period and would also encourage independent production companies who liaise with the broadcasters who have shown an interest in developing programme ideas, namely BBC NI, TG4 and RTÉ.

Aims of ILBF

The aims of the Irish Language Broadcast Fund are to promote the broadcast and production of quality Irish language content for an audience in Northern Ireland and beyond and to help grow the Irish language production sector in Northern Ireland.

Who can apply?

The fund is open to any Northern Ireland based production company. We also consider co-productions where at least one of the production companies is based in Northern Ireland. Emphasis should be placed on maximum used of Irish speaking Northern Ireland cast and crew.

General information on applications to the ILBF

  • The minimum Irish language requirement is 75% of the spoken word.
  • All programmes should appeal to a Northern Ireland audience.
  • Given that successful projects require support from both a broadcaster and the ILBF fund, we encourage early dialogue with both the fund and the relevant broadcaster.
  • Contribution to the stability and sustainability of Irish language independent production sector in Northern Ireland
  • All funding applications will be considered & ultimately be decided by the Investment Committee members.
  • The ILBF will organise a minimum of two and a maximum of four funding rounds in 2016/17. (this will be assessed on available funding )

If you are considering applying for funding please contact Head of the ILBF, Áine Walsh to discuss the project  or +44 28 90232444 or


Looking for funding?  Want to submit your work to festivals. Keep an eye on upcoming deadlines here



Call For: Drama Production Trainees


The Irish Language Broadcast Fund is helping to recruit talented trainees for a television drama production due to begin in Belfast in June 2014.

The following positions are available:

  • trainee drama director
  • trainee drama script assistant
  • trainee drama sound technician

Applicants must have fluent Irish and must be available from June 2014 with the training period lasting approximately between 4 months and 9 months, depending on the role.

To apply, please send a CV with the names of two industry referees and a cover letter stating which of the above positions you are applying for and outlining why you are suitable to be considered to Laura Kerr at CV’s and cover letters must be in English and Irish.

Deadline for applications is Friday 9th May 2014.


‘Amhrán an Fhir Bháin’ screens on BBC


Amhrán an Fhir Bháin is a new Irish Language Broadcast Fund documentary celebrating the life and works of Seán Bán Mac Grianna from Rannafast in the Donegal Gaeltacht. It airs on Monday, 28th October, at 10pm on BBC Two Northern Ireland.

Seán Bán (1905-1979) was born into a family of poets and storytellers in an area of Donegal with an astonishing Irish literary heritage. The brother of renowned Donegal writers Séamus Ó Grianna and Seosamh Mac Grianna, he was himself a magnificent writer, poet, storyteller and musician.

In the 30 minute film Séan Bán is remembered through the significant body of beautiful songs that he penned, songs such as ‘Mheall Sí Lena Glórthaí Mé’ and ‘Cumha an Fhile’, songs that have provided hits for Altan, Clannad, and many others since.

Seán Bán spent his life in Rannafast where he taught at the popular Irish language college, Coláiste Bhríde. He is fondly remembered by many who passed through its doors as a wonderful teacher and seanchaí.

An expert on genealogy, he has been described as one of the last Gaelic bards and is also remembered fondly by the Irish language community in Belfast. During the Irish language revival in Belfast in the 1960’s, members of Cumann Chluain Ard recorded Seán Bán telling stories and singing songs. The recordings were used at the time as a teaching resource and they were subsequently published in a book.

Amhrán an Fhir Bháin is a celebration of his life and works and features performances from T with The Maggies, Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde and Aodh Mac Ruairí among others.

Producer Gráinne Holland says “I have long held an interest in Seán Bán Mac Grianna’s work and it was a great honour for me to be able to tell his story in this way. His songs and poems are as fresh today as ever and remain popular with a younger generation.”


‘Art agus Tomaí San Eoraip’ tonight 10pm on BBC Two NI

In this new four part Irish Language Broadcast Fund series professor Art Hughes and broadcaster Tomaí Ó Conghaile take a trip around some of Europe’s maddest festivals, sampling and celebrating Celtic life as they go. The series begins tonight, Monday 8th April, at 10pm on BBC Two NI. The pair begin their journey at the Festival de Cornouaille in Brittany, a festival dedicated to the sheer richness and diversity of Breton culture.

The rest of the series follows Art and Tomaí as they visit Altburg in Germany for a Celtic festival with a bizarre twist where Art gets the opportunity to show off his hunting skills.

From there they visit the annual Festa Major in Vilafranca in Catalonia – one of the world’s loudest and most colourful festivals where they witness the death defying sport of Castells human towers ten levels high.

Finally they visit the eccentric Trumpet Festival in the tiny village of Guca in Serbia – a festival that attracts half a million people. As they go they party, play Gaelic football, dance, and Tomai even ends trying a spot of wrestling. And everywhere they go they find traces of home.

Newry born Tomaí Ó Conghaile is a publisher, editor and presenter who has been working in Irish language media for over 10 years. He is currently a presenter on BBC Radio Ulster’s Irish language programme, Blas. He says: “Each festival we visited was a unique experience. Europe is full of diverse, colourful cultures and we wanted to show that vibrancy in the series. Rich heritage mixed with crazy brass bands, human towers, ancient wrestling and kilted Celts… what more could you ask for?!”

For Art Hughes, this is his first foray into the world of television presenting. He a Belfast man and professor of Irish studies at the University of Ulster. He says: “Not only are Tomaí and I immersed in Gaelic culture but we are also interested in the wider languages and cultures of our fellow Europeans. Furthermore this exciting series provided us with a platform to meet people and hear the real word and live music on the street. A truly wonderful and eventful sojourn.”

Art agus Tomaí san Eoraip is a Tern Television production for BBC Northern Ireland produced with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund.


‘Michaela, Mo Dheirfiúr’ (Michaela, My Sister) on TG4 and BBC 2 NI

Michaela, Mo Dheirfiúr is an Irish Language Broadcast Fund documentary which charts the journey of Michaela McAreavey’s eldest brother Mark as he approaches the 2nd anniversary of his sister’s death. The documentary will be shown on TG4 tonight, Thursday 10th January, at 9.30pm and on BBC Two NI on Sunday 13th January at 10pm.

Throughout the documentary Mark speaks for the first time about life without his only sister Michaela, the eight difficult weeks he endured in Mauritius for her murder trial and his family’s commitment to protect his sister’s legacy. In the documentary, filmed over the course if a year, we gain an insight into who Michaela was in the words of those who knew her best and an understanding about how they are dealing with life without her. It is a story about loss, about faith in God and the strength of family.

On 10th January 2011 Michaela McAreavey was murdered whilst on honeymoon in Mauritius. The aftermath of her death was played out in the full glare of the media spotlight. Mark travelled out to Mauritius to bring his sister home. In 2012 he returned to the tropical island for her murder trial. Again the family had to deal with a very private matter in public.

While in Mauritius, Mark speaks candidly about the difficulties of the trial but also his commitment to representing his family. The documentary also charts Michaela’s family’s determination to preserve her legacy by launching a charity in her name. The Michaela Foundation aims to promote the interests and values which defined her character. She was a proud Gael, she spoke Irish, was a passionate and committed pioneer and shared her family’s love for all things GAA. The documentary captures the evolution of the charity and the family explain their future plans and ambitions.

In the programme Mark Harte says: “Things happen in this life that we don’t understand that we will never understand. But what choice do we have? Stop everything? Stop enjoying things, stop taking part? That’s not how we are. We’ll get on with it.”

Mickey Harte says: “It’s been a difficult journey but together with the prayers of the people and the closeness of our family we’ve managed to come through that. It’s a place that you would never want anyone to have to go but if we were going to go there, we certainly have a great family to go with.”

The programme is a Below The Radar TV production. It was produced and directed by Lynette Fay and Denise O’Connor. Lynette Fay said: ‘Michaela was a Gael through and through. This documentary tells her story in the language she loved. I thank Michaela’s family for speaking candidly to us about a very private matter and I think the audience will be inspired by their strength and determination.”

Denise O’Connor said: “Undoubtedly, this has been an exceptionally difficult journey for Mark and his family. Since Michaela’s death, her family have consistently demonstrated great dignity. We’re grateful that they put their trust in us to tell their story.”

Michaela, Mo Dheirfiúr is a co-production for TG4 and BBC Northern Ireland supported by Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund.


ILBF series ‘Dul i bhFiáin’ begins Thursday 10pm on TG4

New Irish Language Broadcast Fund series Dul i bhFián follows outdoor experts Frainc MacCionnaith and Darach Ó Murchu as they embark on a journey from Down to Kerry foraging for food as they go. The 6-part series from Big Mountain Productions begins on Thursday 11th October at 10pm on TG4.

For centurys people walking the length and breath of Ireland had to forage for their food. The hardest time to do this was between March and May when nature offered little to sustain the hungry traveller. This time was known as ‘the Hungry Gap’.

Now two men have come together to make such a journey during this difficult time; Frainc MacCionnaith a skilled angler from Ulster and Darach Ó Murchú a mountaineering guide living in Munster.

Carrying just a basic store of provisions their adventure will take them from Co. Down to the other end of the country finishing in Co. Kerry. As they travel, like the journey men of old, they will use all their skills and experience to forage for their food.

Set in Ireland’s dramatic and often challenging landscape we follow these men as their hunt for wild foods brings them closer to nature, tradition and their country.

Dul i bhFián Thursdays at 10pm on TG4.


‘Mo Ghrá Gael’ aired on TG4 on Tuesday nights at 10pm from 7th February.

Mo Ghrá Gael, an entertaining Irish Language Broadcast Fund dating series follows two singletons on a romantic odyssey in search of their Grá Gael. The series will be aired on TG4 on Tuesday nights at 10pm from 7th February.

Singletons Síle Ní Scanláin and Ainle Ó Cairealláin are looking for love. They’ve decided to take destiny into their own hands and have appealed for other like-minded singletons to upload videos about themselves to their Mo Ghrá Gael website. Having selected some potential dates the duo go on a road trip around Ireland to see if they can find true love. But not just anyone will do. Both are passionate about all things Gaelach and they have a long list of requirements for anyone hoping to win their hearts.

Their journey begins in Dublin and onto Cork, Galway, Donegal and Belfast. In each location they meet a bunch of other singletons looking for a significant other and chose someone to go on a proper ‘first date’ with. Will their dates do enough to impress Síle and Ainle? Can love be found in one day?

In the sixth and final show Síle and Ainle have to select someone from their road trip to take on a 2nd date for a romantic break in Budapest. This is make-or-break time for love!

The series will be aired on TG4 on Tuesday nights from the 7th February at 10.00pm and you can follow their journey online at


Film on the 75th anniversary of the biggest disaster ever to hit Arranmore Island, Donegal on TG4

Tubaiste Árainn Mhór is a gripping new Irish Language Broadcast Fund film on the 75th anniversary of the biggest disaster ever to hit Arranmore Island, Donegal. It airs on Wednesday, 14th December at 9.30pm on TG4.

The Arranmore disaster claimed the lives of 19 islanders when a boat carrying those returning from the tattyhoking season in Scotland hit rocks a few hundred yards from the shore. The islanders who witnessed the aftermath, re-visit the pain of that dreadful day.

The only survivor, Paddy Gallagher lost 7 members of his family and was unable to speak about the horror of that night for 50 years. Much of the documentary was filmed in the house where Paddy spent months recovering before returning home.

This film is produced by Tobar Productions and was funded by the Irish language Broadcast Fund and TG4