A new BBC series which aims to tell ‘incredible untold human tales’ of ordinary people living in Co. Armagh is set to air this month.
The entire series will also be available on BBC iPlayer.
It follows a year in the less urban parts of an ancient city and its surrounding villages, where people’s lives are rooted in nature and the seasons that shape it. Each episode looks at one season, starting with spring.
Veronica Cunningham is the Series Producer and Director at Waddell Media who made the series for BBC Northern Ireland.
She said: “Revealing hidden gems and incredible untold human tales in an area of natural beauty is a key theme of the Chronicles series.
“The fantastic and diverse characters that we chose to follow in the series do this, and we hope their passion for the landscape around them will once again delight local audiences.
The first programme begins with Estates Officer Shane Kelly at Armagh’s Observatory collecting data from the climate recorders. A sure sign that spring has officially arrived, is when astronomer Dr Rok Nežič observes the Spring Equinox.
At Forthill Farm near Tandragee, Kenny Gracey and animal trainer Karen Christie start the tricky process of training Cooley the rare breed bull for a movie role.
On the outskirts of the city, where Ian and Paula Conroy’s flower farm and forest are springing to life, we learn the emotional inspiration behind their garden venture.
At Jane and John Nicholson’s Crannagael House, the birthplace of the Bramley apple in Orchard County, spring means a sea of pink apple blossom. Jane’s homegrown vegetables are in demand by local chefs.
Nearby, Gosford Forest Park is also awakening. Wildlife ranger Donald Whiteside and deer manager Neville Black are keeping an eye on stags shedding their antlers – nature’s sign that the females are close to calving.
Spring sees the start of 20-year-old Emer Rafferty’s community garden in the heart of Ballymacnab. She’s hoping she can help sustain nature in her area for generations to come.
After a harsh winter, Andrea Cowan’s Loughgall hedgehog rescue centre is packed. Andrea dedicates hours to each hedgehog’s individual needs, with the hope of releasing them again when they reach their target weight.
Taking advantage of the spring sunshine, Alia Bondar and her young sons find a quiet haven by the city’s river for a birthday picnic, having been forced to flee from the war back home in Ukraine.
The following three episodes will focus on summer, autumn and winter, drawing back on old and new faces seen throughout the series.
As the year ends, the people of Armagh stay close to home and reflect, while the cycle of the seasons begins again.