The Kennedys of Castleross

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The Kennedys of Castleross was an Irish serial drama or soap opera which was broadcast on Radio Éireann from 1955 to 1973.[1]

The serial was devised by Arks advertising agency on behalf of its client, Fry-Cadbury and the first script writers were Mark Grantham and Bill Nugent.[2] The first episode was broadcast on 14 April 1955.[3] The cast included Marie Kean, T. P. McKenna, Vincent Dowling, Angela Newman, and Philip O'Flynn.[2]

Each fifteen-minute episode was transmitted at lunchtime on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The programme's signature tune was the second movement of Hamilton Harty's An Irish Symphony, sub-titled The Fair Day.

During its long run, various other scriptwriters worked on The Kennedys of Castleross, including playwright Hugh Leonard[2] and broadcaster David Hanly.[4]

When Fry-Cadbury withdrew its sponsorship in the 1960s, Radio Éireann bowed to popular demand and retained the serial as part of its regular programming. However, after an almost 18-year unbroken run, the station announced in January 1973 that The Kennedys of Castleross had reached the end of its natural life and would be cancelled. As a measure of how much the long-running soap opera's popularity had declined since its heyday, Radio Éireann received only one letter of protest following the announcement.[5]

For the final episode, Radio Éireann broke with convention and broadcast a special one-hour edition on Saturday 24 February 1973.[6]


  1. ^ In the early 1960s, the series was also broadcast on Radio Oglaigh na h-Éireann, a shortwave service for Irish troops serving overseas.
  2. ^ a b c The Irish Times, "An Irishman's Diary", 16 January 1965
  3. ^ "RTÉ Libraries and Archives: preserving a unique record of Irish life". RTÉ. Retrieved 9/10/2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ The Irish Times, "Morning becomes David", 21 April 1994
  5. ^ The Irish Times, "Only one letter mourns the 'Kennedys'", 11 January 1973
  6. ^ The Irish Times, "Radio Today" (radio listings), 24 February 1973