Heritage Council


Secret Life of the Shannon series

‘The Secret Life of the Shannon’ will be broadcast on RTE1 at 6.30pm on 26th May & 2nd June 2013.  

Made with the support of the ESB, Waterways Ireland, the National Parks & Wildlife Service, and The Heritage Council.

BATS, squirrels and the humble Irish pike are getting set for the Hollywood treatment in a ground-breaking documentary to hit our screens in the coming weeks. 

With technology previously used in Christopher Nolan's Inception, a small Irish film company has captured an intimate portrait of Irish wildlife in never before seen slow motion detail. Snapping kingfishers and dragonflies at 1000 frames per second, the two-part documentary to be shown on RTÁ‰ uncovers surprising secrets about the private lives of Ireland's wildlife.

Scored by Ronan Á“ Snodaigh of Kila, the series reveals new animal behaviour, showing for the first time water bats hunting at night and remarkable underwater footage of the mating dance of Shannon’s great predator, the pike. The elusive kingfisher is shown hunting underwater and slowed down by 40 times is seen in all its vivid colour and grace. 

Wicklow film-makers Crossing the Line hit the international stage last year with an Emmy nomination for their film about tigers in India and are currently filming gorillas in the Congo for the BBC — but they are delighted to be bringing it all back home for the Secret Life of the Shannon. 

“We have filmed on seven continents and honed our techniques and technology over the past 20 years,” says camera man and director John Murray. “So it's great to be bringing all that knowledge back to the banks of the Shannon, where we've found just as much mystery and beauty as anywhere around the world.”

Emmy-award winning wildlife presenter Colin Stafford-Johnson, who also got the Emmy nod last year, explored the little-known islands, lakes and tributaries of the Shannon over two years, paddling his canoe to discover the teeming life of our largest river. The two-part film follows the river from dawn to dusk through four seasons and captures the changing moods and atmosphere of the river — as well as the acrobatic antics of our red squirrels, magnificent whooper swans ending their migration and the exquisite orange tipped butterfly. 

The filmmakers also gain access to a series of remote places few ever experience — shooting high in the tree canopy for weeks following the intimate goings-on of a little egret colony as parent birds brood their young in a giant nesting platform some 30 feet in the air.

Broadcast as part of the RTÁ‰ Goes Wild Season - a month long season of wildlife themed programmes on RTÁ‰, the Secret Life of the Shannon is set to cast a whole new light on the trials, struggles and surprising domestic dramas of Ireland's rich riverside wildlife. 

A Crossing the Line Production in association with RTÁ‰ and made with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

For further information contact:

Jackie Boland - 089-4134741 OR

Cepa Giblin - 087-9911767 / 01 287 5394