Filming has begun on a new three-part television mini-series celebrating the suburb of Finglas.
“A Finglas Story” looks at the rich history of the town that, until the Dublin Corporation housing schemes of the 1950s, was a countryside village of a few hundred people.
Employment was found in farming or working in the local Merville Dairy.
First to be interviewed for the programme was one of the workers from the dairy, Myles O’Connor, who delivered milk to residents of the growing town for over three decades.
Born in Finglas in 1938, Myles is an avid sportsman who took to the field for both Dublin and his local Erin’s Isle.
He recalls an annual fundraising Gaelic football game, in aid of the Finglas Pipe Band, between Finglas and nearby St Margaret’s, and the fierce rivalry that it prompted.
“The prize for the winner was a football,” he recalled.
“They bought one football and it lasted for years because the matches never finished.
“They always ended up in a ‘handbags fight’ between the players, so they never had to give the prize out.”
Producer, Declan Cassidy, is a Finglas native himself and has described getting underway with the making of the series as “very special”.
“My mam and dad came to Finglas in the 1950s as it was being transformed from a sleepy village into the sprawling estates of ‘corpo’ houses that we grew up in,” Cassidy explained.
“Dad was an artist and very involved in community work, so he was very well known in the area.
“The series uses our family experience of growing up in the community as a starting point for the wider story.
“The idea for the series grew out of a 24,000-member strong Facebook group called ‘Finglas Memories’.
“When I first suggested making a documentary the response from the group was huge.
“People were quick to come forward with memories, photographs, videos and suggestions or simply to wish us well with the project.”
The story of Finglas mirrors the experience of many of Dublin’s suburbs, so Cassidy feels that it will have an audience outside the local area.
“We posted a short clip from the interview with Myles on our social media (@DeclanCreative), and the response was phenomenal with thousands of views,” revealed Cassidy. “There’s clearly a lot of anticipation both in Finglas and beyond and, with people like Myles to be interviewed I’m sure we won’t disappoint. He had so many tales to tell – such as how 20 or 30 people would arrive at the new cinema in Finglas on the back of a trailer being pulled by a tractor or how the local kids would pee in St Patrick’s Well and then the local priest would lead an annual procession there for people to drink from it. Listening to Myles, I had a strong sense that we’re capturing and preserving really important Dublin heritage.”
The series was made possible through the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI)’s ‘Sound and Vision’ scheme and with additional funding from Finglas Credit Union and social development organisation EurAV European Audio Visual CLG.
“My Dad was one of the founding members of Finglas Credit Union and they’ve played a central role in the development of Finglas,” explained Cassidy. “There were eight of us living in a three-bedroomed house, and it was the Credit Union loan that made it possible for mam and dad to build the much-needed extension, so it’s wonderful to have their support.”
“A Finglas Story” is set to air, next year, on Dublin’s community channel, DCTV, that will broadcast it over the Virgin Media network. It will also be made available for viewing online. The first episode looks at Finglas as a country village, the second follows the growth of the community after the building of the Dublin Corporation housing schemes, and the final episode examines the multicultural Finglas of today.
“We’re going to post regular social media clips as we film the series in Finglas so that anyone interested can follow our journey and get sneak previews of what they can expect,” said Cassidy. “We’d also be delighted to hear from anyone with material or information that might add to the series.”
The producer’s social media handle is @DeclanCreative on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube.