A scene from Is Olc an Ghaoth.

Mayo island looms large in RTS Ireland Television Awards

TG4 has received five nominations across a range of categories in the RTS Ireland Television Awards, which were announced today.

The awards aim to showcase and give recognition to the Irish TV industry for achievements and excellence in creative production for the year.

The winners in nine categories will be announced on Virgin Media One next Tuesday (March 30) at 11 p.m., presented by Muireann O'Connell.

Is Olc an Ghaoth, a short poignant film, tells the curious tale of two bachelor brothers from Achill Island living and dying under the shadow of the Coronavirus. It has received a nomination in the drama category.

Over three sad-funny short films that fold into each other, set on a slightly off-kilter, quirky Covid-bound island, the three screenplays written by Kevin Toolis were brought to life by multi-award-winning director Tom Sullivan.

“There’s a pathos in the quiet, observational style of Kevin’s writing and a gentle, dark humour,” said Tom. “It’s why I loved the scripts, that and the setting. There is something almost otherworldly about the west of Ireland, particularly in places like Achill. It’s what we set out to capture.

“I’ve always been attracted to the kind of defiant stoicism you see in rural Ireland – those who didn’t get the fancy education, who didn’t ‘do well’ in Cleveland or Chicago. The story is about those people that kept the, albeit at times smouldering, flame alight.”

Elsewhere, the documentary Toraigh: Creag Bheag i Lár na Farraige, telling the story of Tory Island, is nominated in the factual single; Kieran Donaghy's Laochra Gael episode has been nominated in the sport category; Cogadh ar Mhná, which presented, for the first time, the witness testimony of women who were victims of sexual violence during the Irish Revolution, has been nominated in the specialist factual category; and the heart-warming children's film Sol, which concern the topic of grief, has received a nomination in the children's programme category.

In total, 126 entries were submitted into the inaugural RTS Ireland Television Awards event, which is supported by Virgin Media Television, RTÉ, TG4, Sky Ireland, the BAI and Screen Ireland. Twenty-seven other nominees were announced today in nine categories from the 126 entries received, including RTÉ's Normal People, Virgin Media Television's news coverage and Sky Sports coverage of the GAA championships, while Dara Ó Briain will be presented with a special award for outstanding contribution to the Irish television industry.

Read more about some other nominations – including a programme featuring a Mayo undertaker – here.

The RTS Ireland Television Awards committee recruited independent judges from across the industry at home and abroad, who spent the last few weeks reviewing and evaluating creative excellence and achievement in nine categories.

This is the latest initiative of the Republic of Ireland Centre of Royal Television Society, which has been operating since 1996. RTS Ireland organises a range of other events and awards every year, including the awards ceremony for student productions in the categories of drama, short form, comedy, animation, factual and craft skills.

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