Radharc Early History
In the late 1950s, the years before Irish television began, there was much debate about what the new television service would do in terms of news, sports coverage, drama, childrens' programming, and of course religion. The Archbishop of Dublin at the time, John Charles McQuaid thought that priests should learn about television so they could advise the new broadcasters. Two priests were sent to New York to learn about TV - Fr. Des Forrestal and the late Fr. Joe Dunn.
On their return to Ireland, Joe Dunn and some priest colleagues made a couple of experimental films on religious topics and showed them to the first Controller of Programmes for the new television channel. The films were called Radharc. The controller liked them and told the 'Radharc Team' to go and make more!
So began one of the more unusual relationships in Irish broadcasting. So too began Ireland's first independent television production unit.
Part of the attraction of the Radharc style at this early stage of broadcasting was the approach adopted by the Radharc Team both in the subject matter and in its television treatment. Older Irish viewers remember Fr. Peter Lemass as roving reporter, traveling the country at a time when television coverage from the regions was limited.