It was over a year in the making, but Declan Cassidy’s three-part mini-series about the suburb that he and his siblings were raised in – A Finglas Story – is set for a live premiere in the area on September 14th. And those who can’t be accommodated at the event will be able to watch the series on Dublin Community Television (DCTV), at Virgin Media Channel 802, instead.
Funded by the then Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (now Coimisiùn na Meàn) with additional help from Finglas Credit Union, the series traces the recent history of Finglas from the early part of last century when it was a rural village of white-washed cottages with several stately homes, through the Dublin Corporation housing schemes of the 50s and 70s, through to modern times. Dublin City Council in Finglas have teamed up with Cassidy to arrange the public screening, which will be attended by those who took part in documentary series, along with other key figures in the Finglas community.
“The series was a labour of love,” explained Cassidy. My parents came to Finglas in the 50s. From our house on the North Road, at that time, you could see the roof of Cappagh Hospital. Finglas West hadn’t been built. The village was full of characters, and cattle would come up the road, heading for the market. It was a real country village on the verge of exploding into the Finglas of today. My Dad was immersed in the community as we went through the teething problems of an area growing from 400 or so people to 53,000 in over just 20 years or so. My siblings and I learned community involvement from his example so we were all active in different areas. In making this series, we were able to use our own experience of growing up in Finglas as a starting point to tell the wider story of our suburb.”
The series features Finglassians of all kinds, from writer Dermot Bolger and musician Tony Barrett to RTE’s Samantha Libreri and several octogenarians who have first-hand memories of Finglas before the housing estates.
“I have one great regret in this series,” admits Cassidy. “I had been in touch with Christy Dignam and he had agreed to give me an interview for ‘A Finglas Story’, but rehearsals for the big show that Aslan were doing clashed so we hadn’t pinned down a date – and then it was too late. He was gone. Christy was at the heart of everything that was Finglas over my lifetime and the main part of this series, so not to have his voice in it is a real loss.”
Those who want to watch ‘A Finglas Story’ can see Episode One – The Clear Stream on DCTV (Virgin Media Channel 802) at 7.30 each evening from September 14 to 20, then Episode Two – Growing Pains at 7.30 from September 21 to 27 and the final episode, Episode Three – Communities Together each evening at 7.30 from September 28 to October 4.