COMEDIAN John Bishop has been popping up all over West Cork in recent weeks – but it turns out he has been busy filming a new show.
John Bishop’s Ireland will air on ITV this Friday, April 26th at 8pm and the first episode takes a look at our fairy culture.
Shane Lehane, course director of cultural and heritage studies at Cork’s Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa (CSN), is interviewed by the star of stage and screen as he delves into the world of Irish folklore.
Shane, an archaeologist, historian and folklorist, who has spent over 30 years teaching at CSN College – a further education and training centre operated under the patronage of the Cork Education and Training Board (CETB) – was approached by a mutual friend, who informed him of the series and Bishop’s interest in featuring a segment on the history of Irish fairy belief.
Shane met with the Liverpudlian comedian after his Cork Opera House show on the grounds of University College Cork, to introduce the star to a history he was completely oblivious to.
‘When most people think of fairies, they think they are dealing with a happy and amusing topic,’ Shane explained. ‘However, the reality is that fairy belief in Ireland is allied to some of the most serious and disquieting aspects of our cultural inheritance. It involved the subjugation of certain groups and individuals, the systematic abuse of women and the widespread practice of child neglect and infanticide. John Bishop came to interview me with the popular, Disney-like view of fairies in mind, but as the interview progressed and the seriousness of the topic unfolded, he became more and more interested. He was fascinated that despite the years of progression, there are still remnants of fairy belief in Ireland in the 21st century.’
Bishop was so taken by the topic and all he had learned, that he went on to attend Shane’s UCC lecture that day, asking questions throughout and interviewing students afterwards. Both the interview and lecture were filmed by the ITV crew. Shane, from Blarney, admits he was unaware of John’s popularity at time: ‘So I was intrigued on the day of the interview to see a huge group of students gathering to watch as we filmed,’ he admitted.
While in Ireland, the British comedian visited West Cork and took time out in Clonakilty and Timoleague over St Patrick’s weekend.