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After The Armada

51m 07s

Spanish Armada captain Francisco de Cuéllar was shipwrecked off the Sligo coast in September 1588. He spent seven months in war-torn Ireland, trying to escape death and marriage before eventually making his way to Madrid. Cuéllar wrote an account of his amazing adventures. He describes bloodthirsty battles, sieges won against all odds, attacks by pirates and the attentions of beautiful women. Broadcaster Antaine Ó Donnaile has long been captivated by the story and in this landmark documentary he sets out to follow in the footsteps of Cuéllar through the Irish landscape, meeting local people and historians to see if his fantastic account might be true. With dramatic historical reconstruction, spectacular aerial footage, and a physically demanding journey through Connacht, Ulster and then on to Scotland, Belgium and Spain, this is a gripping and swashbuckling adventure, which gives a unique insight into Ireland and the Gaelic world before the English Conquest. Presenter Antaine Ó Donnaile says ‘It has been a privilege to go on this journey. The landscape of Ireland and the ruins of churches and castles came alive for me when I went there with Francisco de Cuéllar’s account of his time in Ireland. I was always intrigued by this Spaniard and his story and now that I’ve retraced his journey through Ireland and Europe I’m sure the TG4 audience will be as fascinated as I am with his adventure.’ The documentary reveals what life was like in Ireland in 1588. Cuéllar tells of his meetings with ordinary Irish peasants and ‘very important savages’ such as Chieftains and Bishops. It definitely is a different perspective compared to the English accounts of Ireland at this time of change and conquest.