‘Romancing Ireland’ premieres on new YouTube channel

When TVIE launched on YouTube three weeks ago it was to bring ‘A Finglas Story’ – the three-part documentary on the Dublin suburb – to audiences who hadn’t been able to view it on Dublin Community Television (Virgin Media Channel 802). Such was the success, with over 4,000 viewers, that director/producer Declan Cassidy has launched a second series on the platform.

“Romancing Ireland” sees member of non-Irish national communities in Ireland, challenged to cook favourite dishes of their countries using only Irish ingredients. The six-part series takes its name from the fact that the five non-Irish national communities that were still growing in the last census were all Latin or ‘romance’ language speaking.

“We had Brazil, France, Italy, Romania and Spain,” explains Declan. “When we found volunteers from those countries to take up the challenge, they posted in the online groups of their countries to find out what the dish was that represented each country. There was a lot of heated debate, because unlike Ireland, the food in those larger countries changes from region to region.”

When the dishes had been finally decided upon, the volunteers scoured the country, looking for the ingredients or, in many cases, for alternatives to the ingredients that they were used to.

“Because they were only allowed to use Irish produce, simple things like Olive Oil, lemon juice or rice were out of bounds,” explains Declan. “It was mayhem, but the end result was amazing. Until shooting this series, I had no idea that there were so many passionate producers making all sorts of stuff that is world class.”

The first episode of “Romancing Ireland” premiered on TVIE on Sunday and saw Brazilian Kika Chix face the improbable task of cooking a ‘Carne de Sol com Mandioca’ – a dish with sun-dried beef at its centre – using Irish produce.

“While of course Ireland is second-to-none when it comes to beef, it certainly can’t boast enough sunshine to dry-cure beef,” laughs Declan. “and mandioca is a root veg that simply doesn’t grow herre.”

The episode is now available to watch and the other five episodes will follow, premiering one at a time each Sunday at 3pm.

“The second episode sees a French guy attempt a dish that needs lemons, wine and sugar – all problematic when you can’t use imports,” says Declan.

A direct link to the premiere is here

Once the premieres are finished, the episodes are available to view for free, on demand at the TVIE YouTube channel.

My plan is to have something new premiere every week so that if people subscribe to the channel, there’s a growing body of interesting films, TV shows and documentaries for them to watch that are an alternative to the mainstream TV programming.