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The Curious Ear

RTE Ireland

A series of shorter radio documentaries. Ronan Kelly tells stories using sounds and words gathered with his inquisitive microphone.

A series of shorter radio documentaries. Ronan Kelly tells stories using sounds and words gathered with his inquisitive microphone.
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Dublin, Ireland


RTE Ireland


A series of shorter radio documentaries. Ronan Kelly tells stories using sounds and words gathered with his inquisitive microphone.




Donnybrook Dublin 4, Ireland


Doc Archive (2003) Unconquered Champion

A look at the life and works of essayist William Hazlitt, the 18th century English writer best known for his humanist essays. Willett spent much of his childhood in Ireland. In particular we look at his most celebrated essay, 'The Fight' (2003)

Duration: 00:42:03

Ireland and the KGB

Spy stories typically start on dimly lit streets in Eastern Europe, not in Dublin suburbia. But this isn’t your typical spy story. An Irish KGB ring, deadly poisonings, arms deals - Irish people have been involved, knowingly or unknowingly, in the deeply secret world of Russian spying. Enter the shadowy realm of Ireland and Russian espionage (2017)

Duration: 00:40:54

DocArchive (1981) Women and unemployment

This documentary looks at the effect that unemployment in the 1980s had on the people of Arklow, especially women. With most of the men were unemployed, women in Arklow started to look for opportunities outside the home and joined mostly female led courses to prepare them for future opportunities. (1981)

Duration: 00:37:59

Cause Of Death

More than ten thousand deaths a year in Ireland are reported to the Coroner's office. Two thousand of those will proceed to an inquest hearing .Ruairi McKenna follows the work of two coroners, in Kerry and Mayo and meets the people they serve, hearing stories form people who are looking to establish their loved ones' cause of death. (2017)

Duration: 00:39:42

DocArchive (1981): Three Wishes of John Bradburne

Three wishes in the life of John Bradburne. A mystic, pilgrim, and poet he joined the war in 1939 looking for adventure but instead, he found religion. He converted to Catholicism and began his pilgrim across the world. His last journey was to a leper colony in Zimbabwe where he fell victim to its civil war. Did he get his last wish? (1981)

Duration: 00:39:31

The Brigadier

Eric Dorman O'Gowan was an Irish general in the British Army who fought in WW1 and outfoxed the Germans during WW2, yet was sacked by a British Prime Minister. He later became an advisor for the I.R.A, turning his back on the British. Delve into the unorthodox life of one of Ireland's most remarkable mavericks, known as ‘The Brigadier’ (2017).

Duration: 00:46:05

DocArchive (1987): Wilkinson on Broadway

Irish tenor and actor, Colin Wilkinson, best known for originating the role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables in the West End and Broadway talks about his life in musical theatre and preparing to leave this iconic character behind as he moves on to new productions. (1987)

Duration: 00:46:18

Pisusuuq, The One Who Walks

60 years ago, Mick Mallon left his home in Ireland, eventually settling in remote arctic Canada. Fascinated by language, Mick began to learn Inuktitut, the native language of the Inuit Eskimo. But not only did he learn to speak one of the most difficult languages in the world, he created a way to teach it - and save it from extinction. (2017)

Duration: 00:37:01

DocArchive (1978): Weapon of Choice

A day on the beat with Irish American detectives from the NYPD Homicide Squad who police the streets of Harlem. By the late 1970s, violent crime was a daily part of life in New York City, and the police had to deal with gruesome murder scenes and criminals who were armed and dangerous. (1978)

Duration: 00:42:11

DocArchive (1966): Hidden Manna

Contemplative monks from The Roman Catholic Church and The Church of England speak about life behind the walls of the monastery and challenge common misconceptions about their vocation. What are the mysteries behind this life a prayer, and what is the point of the contemplative life? (1966)

Duration: 00:43:20

An Holy Trinity

A baby girl is abandoned on a doorstep in Dublin in 1923. A priest and his housekeeper seen acting suspiciously are handed over to the police. One month later a young doctor is shot dead on the streets of a small town in county Leitrim. Was there a conspiracy of Church, State and Irish Rebel forces determined to cover up a scandal? (2017)

Duration: 00:44:58

With the Irish in New York - No. 1 Gaelic Park

Gaelic Park is the home of hurling and football in New York City, but for many Irish immigrants arriving in America, it is much more than a sports club. It was a place to meet old friends, sing songs, have a few drinks, and reminisce about life back home. ( 1978)

Duration: 00:23:54

Love Letter to Wezz

Mention “disco” and “Donnybrook” to people in Ireland and they’ll have a vague notion of a get together for teenagers. Numerous articles have been written speculating on what happens behind the doors of Old Wesley with many parents dreading the day that their kids start mentioning the word, Wezz! But for those who went, what was it like?(2017)

Duration: 00:40:03

DocArchive (1987): Woman at the Window

Mary Leadbeater's letters tell the stories of real people from the village of Ballitore at the beginning of the 19th Century. Giving us an insight into the life of a remarkable woman, who wrote constantly about the people she met and the events that we unfolding at this time, including witnessing first-hand the horrors of the 1798 rebellion.

Duration: 00:42:29

In Tom Crean's Footsteps

In 1916, Tom Crean was part of one of the greatest adventure stories ever told when he joined Ernest Shackleton's Expedition to the Antarctic. 100 years later, in October 2016, his granddaughter, Aileen travelled thousands of miles to try and retrace her grandfather's footsteps. ( 2017)

Duration: 00:38:39

DocArchive (1985): With Pen and Paper

A profile of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies which was established in 1940 by the then Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera. We look at how DIAS became a world leader in advanced research and Celtic Studies. (1985)

Duration: 00:44:00

007, The Irish Connection

First appearing on cinema screens in 1962, James Bond brings many famous names to mind - Ian Fleming, Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig – the list goes on. However, Dubliner Kevin McClory is rarely a name that people connect with 007. We take a look at how one Irishman is inextricably connected to the most famous spy of them all. (2017)

Duration: 00:43:55

Polar Opposites

In 1935, Iceland legalised abortion making it the first Western nation to create what we might now recognise as an abortion legalisation policy. We travel to Iceland to meet Corkman Fr Denis O'Leary who leads a very small Pro-Life group named Lífsvernd. We also meet staff working in the area of abortion at the National Hospital of Iceland (2017)

Duration: 00:43:06

The Orwell Wheeler

Road cycling is one of the world’s toughest sports. In 1987, Stephen Roche did the unthinkable - winning the three biggest cycle races in the world, the Giro d'Italia, Tour De France and World Championship. He was hailed a cycling hero across the world. 30yrs on, we look back at his iconic sporting achievement, which is yet to be repeated (2017)

Duration: 00:47:30

DocArchive (1996): Cricket: The Season

The season has kicked off in Knockbrack Cricket Club, members welcome their rivals, dressed head to toe in white, to join them in a game which still observes the old formalities of a colonial past. The grass is perfectly flat and refreshments are ready to be served- let the games begin.

Duration: 00:35:59

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