John Spillane presents a brand new TV series on TG4 starting on Sunday September 4th 2016 at 10pm.

And so I go walkabout into the Irish dreamtime and follow the songlines. I have been under the magic spell of the great ballads of Ireland since I was a boy. They have seemed to me to be ancient and powerful, these deeply stirring, monumental musical structures. Carrickfergus, Róisín Dubh, The Rocks of Bawn, She Moved Through the Fair, Whiskey In The Jar etc. etc. - such great classic ballads. The heart and soul of Ireland is in these songs. Téann siad go smior ionainn - they go to the marrow in us. What an honour for me, lads, to be given the gig of going on a musical pilgrimage around this island to discover the stories behind the songs, who wrote them, to go to the places the songs come from, to find out the singers who have made them their own and who carry these songs like a flame through this generation and on into the next. And so I go walkabout into the Irish dreamtime and follow the songlines. I'm gonna meet with some of the greatest Irish singers alive today, with Moya Brennan, Damien Dempsey, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, with musical scholars like Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and Peadar Ó Riada. I feel very lucky and honoured to go on this journey. Thanks to TG4 and to ForeFront Productions, Cork.

    I admit to an ulterior motive. I am looking into the hearts and souls of these great ballads, so I can see how they were made, so that I can look into my own heart and soul and see if I can make new ones of them! 

    The show will be called 'Na Bailéid' and will be on TG4 every Sunday night at 10pm for 8 weeks. We will visit three big powerful ballads in each show. Go raibh maith agaibh go léir. Thanks lads! Here's the full list;


Clár 1. Dáta; 4-9-16.

Mo Ghile Mear - Iarla Ó Lionáird with John Spillane on guitar.

Skibbereen - Don Stiffe with Kathleen Boyle on keyboard.

The Boys of Barr na Sráide - Róisín Ryan with John Spillane on guitar.


Clár 2. Dáta 11-9-16.

Shanagolden - Mick Flannery and Yvonne Daly.

Éamonn an Chnoic - Deirdre Scanlon.

The Cliffs of Dooneen - Tommy Fleming with John Spillane on guitar.


Clár 3. Dáta 18-9-16.

The Rocks of Bawn - Niamh Parsons with Graham Dunne on guitar.

The West’s Awake - Damien Dempsey.

Dónal Óg - Elaine Cormican with Nigel Grufferty on fiddle.


Clár 4. Dáta 25-9-16.

Róisín Dubh - Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh. 

Down by the Salley Gardens - Cathy Jordan with Seamie O’Dowd on guitar.

She Moved Through the Fair - Moya Brennan with John Spillane on guitar. 


Clár 5. Dáta 2-10-16.

Carrickfergus - Liam Ó Maonlaí. 

The Mountains of Mourne - Seán Tyrrell. 

Airdí Cuan - Ciara McCrickard with Stephen Rooney on guitar.


Clár 6. Dáta 9-10-16.

On Raglan Road - Ye Vagabonds.

Óro Sé do Bheatha Abhaile - Nell Ní Chroinín. 

Down by the Glenside - Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh with John Spillane on guitar. 


Clár 7. Dáta 16-10-16.

The Curragh of Kildare - Eddi Reader with John Spillane on guitar. 

Eibhlín a Rún - Seamus Begley & Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich. 

Whiskey in the Jar - The Unwanted – Seamie O’Dowd, Cathy Jordan and Rick Epping. 


Clár 8. Dáta 23-10-16.

Sliabh na mBan - Brendan Begley with Mícheál Ó Suilleabháin on piano.

Follow Me Up to Carlow - John Spillane with Danny Grace on mandolin, Bob Grace on guitar and Donnacha Gough on bodhrán.

Boolavogue - Anthony Kearns.




Published on 23rd August 2016


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