TV Highlights

What's on Thursday 4th June

Tales of Irish Castles

Yesterday - 9pm

Who's in it?

Doing exactly what it says on the tin, this brand new series follows presenter Simon Delaney as he takes us on a grand tour of grand castles on the Emerald Isle.

In a nutshell

Did you know castles as we know them only date back as far as the Norman conquest? Before then we had… earthworks and strongholds and bits and bobs like that. But it was after William turned up that proper, craggy, fairy tale-like castles began to appear across the British Isles. And Ireland. This new series will be taking us on an amble around some of these majestic landmarks, delving into their often dark histories, and exploring what life was really like in 12th Century Ireland. Dublin, Trim, Limerick and Ashford castles are among the towering and sprawling structures chronicled in the show.

That means lots of medieval eye candy for lovers of grand old architecture to ogle. But history buffs will also be able to feast on the personal stories of people from long-ago epochs – the small wars and family rivalries that unfolded within and between the fortresses. The funny thing is how fantastical some of the tales will be – the inspirations for today’s sword and sorcery novels will become very clear.

What's the verdict?

Never mind Game of Thrones – the true history of castles and their keepers is all the more mindblowing for being rooted in fact. It’s the closest to time travel you’ll get from the comfort of your sofa.

Record Tales of Irish Castles now on Virgin TV Anywhere

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07-07-2011