Hosted by broadcaster Evelyn O’Rourke, “Tar Abhaile” (“Come Home”) is a new and inspirational six-part bilingual series on TG4 that follows local Irish communities as they welcome people from across the globe in search of their Irish ancestors.
The premise is simple: reverse genealogy. Instead of waiting for people of Irish origin to trace their roots, groups of community volunteers work together under the auspices of Ireland Reaching Out (or: Ireland XO) to trace those individuals and families who left their local area throughout the 1800’s and 1900’s. Once they have gathered enough tangible information, they then track down their living descendants and reach out, inviting them back to their spiritual home, to reveal local knowledge, walk the land of their ancestors, show them their final resting places and where possible, introduce them to long-lost living relatives.
Over six weeks, the audience will be introduced to 12 different Irish descendants and their families, scattered all over the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, as they travel to Ireland to reconnect with their Irish roots. But first we visit each of them to see where and how they live in their respective homelands, but, more importantly, to find out what motivates them to visit Ireland, their ancestral home. Once they travel over and meet the volunteers who helped them unearth the story of their ancestors, their emotional journey begins.
For the descendants, it proves time and time again to be an extremely moving and humbling experience: as the stories of their forefathers are revealed to them; they walk in the footsteps of their ancestors, visit the homesteads where they lived or bow their heads at their graves… and it often brings a tear to the eye as they gain new insight into their ancestors and they become so much more than just a name on a page. But nothing beats the experience of meeting living relatives, very often cousins they never knew they even had.
Ultimately, Tar Abhaile is is about Living Genealogy, real people and their unique stories, their unique journey and their unique connection with Ireland. It pivots on Reconnection, Reunion and Homecoming.
Tar Abhaile airs from November 17 @ 9.30pm, for 6 weeks, on TG4 and via tg4.tv
Here’s a clip for “Tar Abhaile”: