Cathal Goan is on campus for his second fall semester as a visiting professor teaching a course on the history of Irish song — the love lyric, in particular. But the big project for the former director-general of RTÉ, Ireland’s national public-service broadcaster, is the production of a three-part documentary marking the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, a brief and bloody insurrection in downtown Dublin that marked the beginning of the end of British rule in what would eventually become the Republic of Ireland.
PBS and RTÉ have agreed to air the program, which will showcase leading scholars on both sides of the Atlantic, many with ties to Notre Dame and its Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies. Award-winning screenwriter and film Professor Bríona Nic Dhiarmada, Notre Dame’s Thomas J. and Kathleen O’Donnell Chair of Irish Language and Literature, has drafted the first hour, which sets the context for the six days of violence from the Proclamation of the Republic to surrender. Among the experts interviewed will be journalism Professor Robert Schmuhl ’70, who is writing a book about the uprising’s roots in America, where the story spent 14 days on the front page of The New York Times.
Goan says the new era of rapprochement in relations between Irish Catholics and Protestants and the governments in the South and the North has allowed for a fresh historical assessment of the Easter Rising and its aftermath.