Director Keith Farrell has always had an interest in the American Civil War. In 2004 while working on a documentary on the Battle of Antietam for Granada TV, Writer and Director Keith Farrell came across the heroic story of the Irish Brigade. He had always known of their existence and of the role played by the Young Irelander Thomas Francis Meagher but it was the scale of their involvement in all the major battles of the war which he was not fully aware of. He became convinced that the history of the Irish Brigade was a story that needed to be told. It was not until Keith started to work with Tile Films that the project really began to take shape. Nearly six years after he first devised the idea for a documentary series on the Irish Brigade, “Fighting Irish of the Civil War” was born.
Keith says “The story of the Irish Brigade and in fact the history of Irish participation in American Civil War is a fascinating and exciting subject, that had been overlooked by documentary makers. I wanted to try and get across the importance of the Irish sacrifice in the civil war and the scale of these battles which involved thousands of men, but also tell the story of the battles from an individual point of view. A central character in the story was General Thomas Francis Meagher the most unlikely of revolutionaries. A complex character and a real challenge for me to bring to the screen.
We were also fortunate to find first hand accounts of Irish soldiers who had fought in the war and we integrated their stories into the bigger story, personalising the history of the Irish in the Civil War and allowing the audience to relate much more with the narrative.”