For many years Writer and Researcher David Ryan had harboured a desire to develop a series telling the story of Cromwell’s campaign in Ireland which went beyond some of the dreadful movies that have been made about the man.
In the summer of 2005 he and Tile Films Managing Director Stephen Rooke decided it was time to do something about it and approached RTE and received a positive response to the idea. David Ryan then began working seriously on the project. Towards the end of 2005 we approached historian Micheál Ó Siochrú, who was working on a new, full-length study of the Cromwellian conquest. Realising that the series would benefit from Micheál’s new, in-depth research and authoritative personality, we asked him to present and co write the series.
From an early stage, we recognised that the only way to do this project was to do it BIG – with large-scale dramatic reconstructions of battles and sieges, emotive performances by leading actors in key roles, and scrupulous attention to detail and historical accuracy. After an intensive period of pre-production in 2007, we were ready to embark on our major drama reconstruction shoots in Omagh, Co. Tyrone and Richmond and Middleham Castles in North Yorkshire. This was followed by a major shootwith English re-enactment group The Sealed Knot in Nantwich, where we had the opportunity to film a full-scale re-enacted battle with over 2,000 participants.
It was one of Tile Film’s most ambitious project and it took three years to bring it to the screen, and we’re enormously proud of the completed programmes. At the 2009 Irish Film and Television Awards ceremony Cromwell in Ireland won the Best Single Documentary of the Year Award.