Doctor Who – A Global Phenomenon: Part 8: The Emerald Isle

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Mark McCullough and guest contributor Tayla Fonseca take us over the rainbow.

It has never been more obvious that Doctor Who is most definitely a Global Phenomenon, and to celebrate we’ve pulled together yet another group or Whovians from different corners of the globe to show how Doctor Who is received in their own home country. Part Eight is…

Doctor Who in The Emerald Isle!


An Introduction to Ireland

agp-irelandSo the question is: When you think of Ireland, what comes to mind? You’d be forgiven for automatically drawing upon images of leprechauns, shamrocks, beer, potatoes and freckly red heads. You may also point out that the island shares its shape with a Teddy Bear. What important to realize too is that the island is split into two countries: Northern Ireland (represented by Mark) and the Republic of Ireland (represented by Tayla, in her first article for the site). It can be said of both countries that we are nations rich in culture, boasting a great night life which showcases the best of our food and festivities. We like to party and are more than capable of rivalling other countries in that department. Due to our past and politics, it’s not often that both nations stand together (we don’t want to say any more than that as here is not the place). Perhaps one of the few times we do however is in Rugby. But now, since 2005, we have a new reason to stand united and that reason comes inside a blue box.

What does Doctor Who mean to us here?

smith-greenWell that’s a rather tough question to answer as there are times you don’t see many Doctor Who fans at all. There are definitely times when it is easy to feel disconnected from our fellow 77 million fellow fans that span the globe. It’s a pity really that something that means so much to us is a minor part of overall life in our countries. Sometimes you have search strenuously to find fellow Whovians, you might just get lucky in finding a few. If not, we are both fortunate enough to have the fall back position of having a few friends who share our passion for the time travelling bow tie wearing Doctor. Perhaps that why we both love this site so much, because it is the perfect opportunity for us to discuss the show we love.

That is not to say that Doctor Who is unpopular in the island of Ireland. It’s practically unheard of that an episode of a television show will be shown in the cinema. Luckily in the Republic of Ireland, the episode was shown in a large selection of Odeon cinemas. Northern Ireland was not so lucky with only a handful of cinemas opting to take a gamble on the episode. Despite that, we have found that it is always humbling to know we are part of something as big as Doctor Who, especially in our countries where it’s not overly prominent. As with everywhere, there are Doctor Who fans out there. We can only hope more and more will spring up during the reign of the Peter Capaldi.

Part of the problem may be the lack of publicity for the show over here. For example, on March 17th 2013, Steven Moffat held a talk in Trinity College (Dublin), where he discussed his views for the show. Being honest, neither of us was aware the talk was on, thus was the extent of the publicity surrounding it. Had we have known, we would have made every effort to be there. This brings us to the next issue, for most Doctor Who conventions, we have the minor barrier of the Irish Sea, making it next to impossible to attend. The solution: more conventions in Ireland. Unfortunately that doesn’t make commercial sense right now given the small portion of the fan base located here. This means that for now we will have to make do with regular fixes of Doctor Who merchandise from our local news agents and shops such as Forbidden Planet.

What Can Ireland Offer Doctor Who?

emerald-isleThe obvious answer is that we would be an ideal location for filming. The poetic name for the island; The Emerald Isle is a testament to its beauty. Luscious green valleys, beautiful undulating landscapes, atmospheric forests and majestic mountains are sites you would come to expect in a tour of Ireland’s landscape. The beauty of this is that it would afford the producers the opportunity to film anywhere yet still have spectacular scenery.

There are many places within The Republic of Ireland which would be ideal for filming, these include: Dublin Castle, St John’s Castle (Limerick), or even Bunratty Castle (County Clare). We also have locations riddled in culture, including folk parks and many historical sites. I couldn’t talk about the beauty of Ireland without mentioning the Wicklow Mountains; they’re just bursting with filming potential.

Northern Ireland too has lots to offer in terms of filming locations. Some of this has already been utilized by the highly successful TV Show, Game of Thrones. Anywhere along the Northern Irish coastline will literally take your breath away. The Mourne Mountains and the surrounding area in particular have some of the best views in the country and find themselves a very popular area for filming. Other notable attractions include the Giant’s Causeway and the Marble Arch Caves, both of which could easily be edited in order to look very alien indeed.

agp-castAside from our scenery, we also have a very strong group of actors who call the island of Ireland home. Some of these have already graced the Doctor Who universe, these include: Colin Morgan, (Midnight), Michael Gambon (A Christmas Carol), Liam Cunningham (Cold War), Jonjo O’Neill (The Day of the Doctor), and Orla Brady (The Time of the Doctor). Perhaps more impressive is our list of actors which we hope will day have some sort of role within the show we love. Tayla’s choices include: Domhnall Gleeson (About Time), Katie McGrath (Merlin), and Robert Sheehan (Misfits). Mark’s pick of the bunch are: Liam Neeson (Taken), James Nesbitt (Murphy’s Law), and Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey).

The final thing we could offer is material for the historical type episodes. There have been lots of interesting events throughout the history of our countries. Some which spring to mind include the Battle of the Boyne, The Easter Rising, or even ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. We also have an interesting past shrouded in mythology and legend, any of which could be adopted into a very good story of Doctor Who.

Enough about what we could potentially give. It may surprise you that we have already had numerous references within the show. In fact the First, Second, Fifth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors have all visited our island… we certainly hope that Mr. Capaldi will follow! In the opening episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day which was shown back in 2011, It was mentioned that Ireland became bankrupt (Bloody Torchwood!). A popular joke which has been used several times within in the show is that humans sometimes mistakenly assume Gallifrey is a place in Ireland. We wish it was, but alas it isn’t, although we do like to think the Doctor would be happy to call this beautiful island home. Ireland has also featured in the expanded Doctor Who universe. We are represented by Molly; companion to the Eighth Doctor in the Big Finish audio series. Possibly the most iconic story set in Ireland is the Audio story: “The Book of Kells” which follows the hunt for the mysterious chronicle that can help to overthrow the throne of Dublin. An exciting, dramatic and utterly Irish tale! As per usual, Northern Ireland receives very little attention in the show. In fact all we are told is that is country is part of Starship UK (which is very good news indeed).


I hope that you have enjoyed this article as much as we did writing it. Today we’ve explored everything you need to know or learn about the fandom (or lack thereof) in Ireland and what Doctor Who means to us. We have also covered what Ireland could offer the Doctor should he decide to visit. The only thing we can’t guarantee is the weather! Until next time folks, Slan Go Foil! (Goodbye for now).

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To read the first 7 articles in the series, simply click on the links below!