independent

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Balbriggan to feature on the BBC

JOHN MANNING EXCLUSIVE

Published 31/08/2011 | 11:22

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Former Conservative Minister Michael Portillo was in Balbriggan train station over the weekend filming for his television series.

BALBRIGGAN is to be featured in a high profile programme on the BBC which is sure to boost tourism in the town as it is shown on television screens across the UK early next year.

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Former controversial Tory MP and now television presenter, Michael Portillo spent the weekend in Balbriggan tracing the footsteps of a 19th century travel writer as his series about great rail journeys arrived in Ireland. Portillo's popular series is to focus on three Irish routes from the Victorian area and his stop off in Balbriggan was on the old Dublin to Belfast line. The BBC presenter was shooting with his production team from Talkback Thames TV at the railway station and at the harbour and of course there was a mention for Balbriggan's historical connection with the Victorian era as the place Queen Vic herself sourced her essential hosiery. The production team had been in touch with Balbriggan Historical Society in the run-up to the visit who passed on their expertise and knowledge of the area to the television researchers. According to Tony McNamara, chairman of the Balbriggan Historical Society, the professional researchers working on the show had already a lot of homework done on the area before making contact with the society. The society handed over their ' Millenium Book' which is packed full of historical facts and stories about Balbriggan's rich past. Michael Portillo has followed the steps of Bradshaw's 1850s guide to the railways of Britain in his popular BBC series and now tracing his footsteps has led the former Tory to Ireland. The group pointed out areas of local interest like Ladystairs and told the crew of the very intimate connection Queen Victoria had with the town. The former MP stayed at the Bracken Court Hotel for two nights while he was in town and when the show airs early next year it is sure to be a real boon for the north Fingal town.

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