FROM Rathlin in the north to Cape Clear in the south, the islands off the coast of Ireland have long been a source of inspiration and of myth. But they’re home to a rich diversity of wildlife too – and a wide range of people. In Inis na nIontas, actor and comedian Ardal O’Hanlon takes us on a fascinating journey, unearthing the history, observing the wildlife and meeting the islanders trying to live sustainably within their extraordinary environment.  

Inis na nIontas is Ardal O’Hanlon’s first Irish-language series. His mother, Teresa, is a native Irish-speaker and, in this series, Ardal fulfils a longstanding ambition to practise and improve his Irish and promote its use to a wider public.  

The first episode will be broadcast on TG4 on Wednesday 10th January at 9.30pm. It focusses on the north, beginning on Rathlin Island, famous for its countless seabirds and, unique to the island, the golden hare. Here, Ardal learns how an astonishing archaeological find has rewritten Irish history, and he tastes some noodles made from kelp, sustainably farmed on the island.

From Rathlin, Ardal travels to remote Tory Island off Donegal, where he learns of its musical tradition and its mystical past, and we see how farming practices are being fashioned to encourage the endangered corncrake. Next, Ardal heads to Arranmore in Donegal, the largest island of the north. Here, he learns how the islanders are encouraging new residents, while on a beautiful, small islet the threatened little tern has found a welcome sanctuary.

In the following episodes Ardal visits the Aran Islands, the Great Blasket Island, Valentia and Skellig amongst others.