2012 – Dot Television/Sonta Teo – Dir: Sean O’Cualain
First broadcast on TG4 on Wednesday 26th Sep @ 21:30, and repeated Sunday 30th Sep @ 17:40
This documentary tells the story behind one of Ireland’s greatest sporting institutions: The Rás Tailteann cycling race. First ran in 1953 its aim was to symbolise the nationalist aspirations of its organisers and promote Irish culture at a time of fierce political and sporting division.
Blending contemporary footage, rare sporting and social archive, and the first-hand accounts of a host of colourful and fascinating characters – riders and organisers, commentators, fans and critics – The Rás Tailteann is an extraordinary tale of civil-war politics and the race that launched the careers of Ireland’s most successful cyclists.
Nowadays the Rás is a major international cycling event featuring a host of international teams annually. The tumultuous history of the Rás Tailteann also offers a unique, parallel take on the cultural and political development of late 20th century Ireland – a revealing thought-line from the 1950s to the modern day. In Ireland, as we’ll see, the line between sport and politics is a very fine one indeed.