A new limited series from TG4, Saol Ella tells the story of teenage girl Ella growing up in the Connemara Gaeltacht, when her life is turned upside down by new arrivals.
Bursting with excitement to be getting out of school, Ella spends her time hanging out with her friends and looking forward to months of summer adventures, boyfriends, first kisses and all the fun of a carefree teenage life ahead of her.
She is then numbed to find out her family have decided to take in Gaeilgóirí – Irish College Students for the entire summer.
What a dread for Ella, who now has to share her bedroom with her gran and her life will be literally upside down with all these strangers in her home learning “Gaeilge” for the summer.
It will be chores for Ella, a complete upset to all her lovely summer holiday plans, her family are stressed out, but needs must, and the neighbours aren’t happy either.
Set in a fictional coastal village on the Wild Atlantic Way, where Gaeilgeoirí, and the Coláistí Gaeilge have been part of summer life for generations, Saol Ella depicts the story of Ella and a group of local teenagers, a host family and what the visiting Gaeilgeoirí bring to their lives.
There’s the upset of losing your lovely bedroom and moving out of the house and the dread this brings, the work that Mom and Dad give you for the summer and then there’s the girls coming to your road and potentially taking your boyfriends and eye candy, not to mention the drama of being a teenager.
On the other hand Coláistí Gaeilge have so many fond memories for all who attended: first time away from home without your parents, the Céilí’s, first kiss, your first boyfriend or girlfriend and of course speaking Gaeilge for three weeks not to mention outsiders meeting the native Gaeilgeoirí.
A six part drama series, Saol Ella premiered in the Eye Cinema in Galway this week ahead of its first broadcast on TG4 at 5pm on Thursday, April 20.
The lead character Ella is played by teenager Ciara Cox from An Spidéal, who’s no stranger to TG4 screens as she’s already established in TV acting as Maeve in Ros na Rún.
The transition year student said that she was “beyond thrilled” to be cast as the main character, which hits on something that she’s very familiar with.
“This is another lovely role for me and it’s very different to my character Maeve on TG4, but growing up in an Spidéal, I’m very familiar with Gaeilgeoirí visiting for the summer and the fun we have,” Ciara said.
“So its brilliant to showcase the story from a local family’s perspective and how we live our summer holidays with the Coláistí Gaeilge Students who come to learn Gaeilge”.
Directed by Eamonn de Norradh, from Navan who’s credits include Ros na Rún, Fair City and the feature film, Making It.
The cast also includes Sean McDonagh, Siobhán O’Kelly, Caitríona Ní Threasaigh and a number of wonderfully ambitious teenage actors from all over the country.
Produced by Danú Media and written by Ailbhe Nic Giolla Bhríghde and Gemma Breathnach, the drama series was filmed in an Spidéal and the south Connemara Gaeltacht area during the summer of 2022.