Eipidéim – Untold stories of Ireland’s past

//Eipidéim – Untold stories of Ireland’s past

Eipidéim – Untold stories of Ireland’s past


Eipidéim is a new presenter-led history and science documentary series on the untold stories of the other great epidemics of Ireland’s past – smallpox, cholera and typhus, tuberculosis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella. These vital, unexplored stories are told in an epic, new and exciting way using emotional personal storytelling and gripping high-end dramatic reconstructions.

Just how bad were the historical diseases of smallpox, cholera and typhus? How much devastation did they cause? And what was it like to get them?

Eipidéim presenters, social historian, Síobhra Aiken and medical doctor, Maitiú Ó Tuathail go in search of the answers to these questions. Through the historical records, they uncover the dramatic stories of those who suffered from these diseases that raged through Ireland leaving devastation in their wake.

They examine a time when science, as we know it, was in its infancy and people had no way of fighting back. They discover how global innovations in science had a huge impact here in Ireland, and how these scientific discoveries along with medical and social changes helped to wipe out these particular epidemics in Ireland.

While these major killers of the past – smallpox, cholera and typhus were brought under control, two other killer diseases – polio and tuberculosis – reached their peak in Ireland during the 1950s. The fearful Irish epidemics of these two diseases remain to this day in the memory of many. Living survivors of these diseases share their accounts of contracting the disease and their struggle to recover.


Eipidéim is the story of those epidemics in Irish history as well as the more recent childhood diseases of measles, mumps and rubella bringing us right up to Covid-19. This documentary series is the story of the fight back against those diseases through scientific discovery and social change.

The Covid-19 pandemic, the most life-changing global event of our generation, is not unique in Irish history. These other great diseases of the past affected thousands of lives changed the very social fabric of Ireland and taught us much about epidemics – including how to fight back against the coronavirus.

Eipidéim looks at how each epidemic sparks further innovation and the scientific discovery that makes us better at fighting back and ultimately, how through science and medicine, through social measures and the sheer resilience of the human spirit, we will always find new ways to combat disease.

In this documentary series, history and science talk to each other in a fresh, new way. Presenters, Síobhra and Maitiú conclude how the best history still has relevance for now, how Eipidéim links both our past and our present, as well as our future. They end on the positive note that the fightback will never stop until each new disease is overcome because history has proven time and time again that that is our essential nature as a species. Every epidemic in Irish history has eventually been brought under control and ended. Covid-19 will hopefully also prove no different in the long run.

Contributors in the documentary include Ida Milne, Niall Murray, Tomás MacConmara, Jean Farrell, Colm Henry, Cormac Ó Dubhghaill, Jamie Sugrue, Ríona Ní Churtáin, Luke O’ Neill and Ciarán Ó Fearraigh.

Eipidéim was directed by Ciara Hyland of Wonder Pics for TG4 and funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television Licence fee.

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By | 2022-04-29T14:00:33+00:00 April 29th, 2022|Technology|Comments Off on Eipidéim – Untold stories of Ireland’s past