‘Wild Ireland: The Edge of the World – a naturalist’s pilgrimage

When the story opens on the screen, the mist, the mellow light, the soothing narration.  It fixes me and I know I’m about to be drawn into something really special and it is, really special. Wild Ireland: The Edge of The World written and presented by Colin Stafford-Johnson is completely spellbinding. Gently and unobtrusively travelling from The Skelligs to Sea of Moyle: Co Kerry to Co Antrim. Along the Wild Atlantic Way, he connects nature, people and place. Exploring the many habitats along the coast and inland and drawing us into a world that we can all see and experience, well, if you are lucky enough (like me) to either live on this astounding island or come to visit.

It’s a world that I can relate to, the way Stafford-Johnson narrates; the beat is similar to my own thoughts and words. I was transfixed. The way he relates to the stories, the way he makes it personal, it just makes it such a kind documentary, compassionate and contemplative.
My favourite scenes – Skellig Michael,  pine marten, red squirrel and Whooper swan…I can’t choose. The blue shark accompanied by the mesmerising and haunting piano and voice. The most heart wrenching was the sea eagle footage, fearing a future without these majestic and wild creatures. You could feel his emotion, he connected you to how nature makes you feel. This is something that I am really passionate about.
The cinematography is amazing, suspended gannets and kestrel, playful pine martens, the fake injury dance of the ringed plover, the acorn stealing coal tits and the brilliant long-eared bat among many;  all perfectly captured. The landscape wide shots and the lamprey footage was just amazing!

I feel so incredibly proud that a wider UK audience could see and experience my Wild Ireland, an island I’m proud to call home. I loved at the end when Colin talks about the Children of Lir one of my favourite Irish myths (I have written about them in a couple of blogs). The way we are shown Wildlife that most of us can access, makes it a more obtainable experience – the ‘I could see that too’, is really important when drawing people towards nature and wildlife. To inspire and encourage us.

I have seen lots of nature documentaries but this touched me more than any other. I felt so emotional, so connected and so moved.

I would like thank the amazing Crossing The Line Films and Colin Stafford-Johnson for such a stunningly beautiful film. To me it felt almost like a naturalist’s pilgrimage and I’ve said many times that nature is like my faith, maybe that’s why I loved it so much. Heartfelt gratitude.

If you haven’t seen it, please, catch up on BBC iPlayer!!

‘Our natural history and our natural world gives us something to cling on to, a link with the past’ – Colin Stafford-Johnson.
Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear what you thought if you watched Wild Ireland too ☺️


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24 Responses

  1. Hi Dara. I’ll have to get you to review all my films! Thanks for that and I will pass this on to the rest of the team. Colin.

    1. Hello Shay,

      Thanks a million. I will definitely check that out. My dad’s grandparents are from Mayo and it is really very beautiful and Wild. I will look at your blog too. Thanks for getting in touch!

      Dara ☺️

  2. Hi Dara
    To be connected to nature is an amazing gift and to enjoy that journey with adventure and learning is priceless.
    I wish you the very best and lots of fun, exploring the world around you, piecing it all together and holding it passionately as a personal quest in your life.
    I wish you well young adventurer.

  3. Dara.
    Couldn’t agree with you more. An excellent blog. Looks like we are in safe hands. Colin is one of the few irish film makers …..presenters that can pull it off. My other favourites would be Dick Warner, Monty Hall, Charlie Hamilton James and his wife Philippa Forrester to name but a few.

    Best wishe’s


  4. Hi Dara,

    Great post as always, and I agree with everything you say here. I really enjoyed the documentary, the narration felt unhurried, passionate, and heartfelt, rather than scripted, and the imagery was just beautiful. I don’t know if you experienced this, but the combination of the images and the music just made me want to cry from the sheer beauty of our world, something that I’ve never had before while watching any other wildlife documentary. I don’t know if you saw this, but a few weeks before Wild Ireland was released on TV, there was a similar programme with Colin Stafford-Johnson, in which he travelled up and down the Shannon River, it was amazing! It was called Ireland’s Mighty River, I think that you may be able to still get it on BBC Iplayer if you missed it. it was very similar to Wirld Ireland in style, some of the same music was also used I believe.


    1. Hi Jacob!! Hope you’re well? Yes, it really did move me a lot. I did well up, definitely. We were all just sitting there watching absolutely entranced. Like you, I hadn’t properly felt like that before. I love the traditional music of Ireland, it does make you feel so many emotions. I have seen Ireland’s Wild River, just a couple of days ago! I’ve been binge watching Colin’s work. I loved it so much.

      Lovely to hear from you ☺️


      1. Hi, I’m well thanks, hope you are too. I liked the bit in Ireland’s Wild River with the corncrake and the pike. I really love rivers, they’re so peaceful and beautiful, and I also love the ocean, both of which played a large role in both of said films. I’ll have to try and find more with Colin in it, he seems so passionate and at one with nature, something I aspire to.


  5. Very well written Dara NcNulty, You are a credit to the youth of today & obviously value the Great Outdoors. Colin Stafford-Johnson lives in Westport, Co. Mayo & is also a credit to Ireland & his profession. I to am blessed with living in Co. Mayo & I have a tour company Walk West Ireland which at present only has a Facebook page. I also do a lot of local trekking but in January 2017 we went to Everest Base Camp in Nepal & had the most iconic trek. My two sons Matthew & Joshua are to be found trekking the Mayo mountains most weekends, keep up your great enthusiasm.
    Derek Davidson – Walk West Ireland

    1. Hi Derek, thank you so much! My surname is McAnulty though, we never lost our ‘A’ ???? I love trekking too and I’m a scout also. I love walking and I’m sure we’ll be doing that in Co Mayo sometime this year. My dad’s family come from Bangor Erris. Very best wishes to you and your family and happy hiking! I’ll have mum check out your FB page ☺️☺️


  6. Hi Dara, we just read your blog post on Wild Ireland. We were completely overwhelmed by your thoughtful and wonderfully expressed review. We’re no native speakers so we would never be able to find such beautiful and loving words like you did, but we share your thoughts and want to say how impressed we are by your way of writing. We also enjoyed every second of Wild Ireland and were thankful and taken how someone so carfeully interwoved the right words, music, images, tales.. We felt completely at peace while watching is. Reading your review brings the spirit back to us! Thank you! Tine and Jan

  7. A while ago I watched Colin’s documentaries on tigers in India and was delighted with his unhurried passionate commentary . The Irish programmes are even better . So glad I have them recorded so I can watch them over and over. Very relaxing in the world of frenetic shouting and unrest on tv

  8. Hi Dara, thanks for sharing your love and delight of this series. I must definitely catch it on i-player. Now I come to think about it – I might do it this very afternoon!

      1. Dara, I’ve now watched both parts of this wonderful documentary and you’re right of course; it’s marvellous. (I can happily report that I am not a stone! 😉 )

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