November 6, 2006

In Search of the Pope's Children: Episode 1

Posted in Media · 49 comments ·

If you have just seen the first episode of In search of the Pope’s Children on RTE1, thanks for watching!

Please feel free to add a comment about the programme at the bottom of this page. Comments, whether praise or criticism, are most welcome. David will be available over the next few days to respond to questions and comments.

  1. Love the series.You have hit the nail on the head.

    Do you plan on coming to mullingar with your programme?
    I think you should,there’s really a lot more to it than Joe Dolan!

  2. maloneyucd

    Great show David, the decklanders will be a hazard to the economy as when the house falls they don’t have the work ethic to get out of it – Up the HiCos ! Really enjoyed the Electric Picnic show too David !

  3. Billy

    I thought that the TV show was a rehash of the book. But if it gets people talking what the heck. RTE1 is where the laggards go anyway to get the day old news. It has to be writ large on Vatican 1 for people to sit up and notice whats going on all around them.

    It was strange to see the town that I grew up in and got the hell out of into the city never to return seen as the new Ireland. Ashbourne is totally unrecognisable and seeing a local is getting rarer and rarer. I now live in the city and commute to Ash to work. My 92 car that has been used in the area for almost the past 15 years is almost driven over by blow in snobs who think I blew in from Kracow yesterday morning.

    Its funny that the only person that I actually recognised was Song. And he was giving a lesson in honours chopsticks. Those metal yokes are hard work.

    One criticism of the show was painting the Chinese as one group when there are more divisions and subdivisions and nations than Europe in that group. And the sheer desire to succeed. We are happy to borrow our way out of trouble but they are working and saving and building.

    And what about the Pinoys who keep our hospitals going and the kids nanny-ed. The Filipinos are the most globalised of people because of the woes at home.

    The locals here are still quite happy to turn a blind eye to their enslavement. The work permit system here permits and encourages slavery, especially of the naive and happy-to-be-anywhere Filipina nanny or servent. We are turning into Singapore with bad weather and the same craven attitude to foreigners. I.e. we are better than them. Slavery is alive and well and it lives in leafy Ireland.

  4. Mel Corcoran

    Read your book, and enjoyed (and have passed it on)> Also liked tv episode and your contribution to Q&A tonight.
    As a 60 yr old parent of a couple of Pope’s Children, I feel little optimism about the future.
    Your co-panellist, Mr. Martin, has been, with his extremely right wing and po-faced attitudes, a major contributor to a nastier Ireland.
    Another aspect of this NEW Ireland is that of large numbers of “decent” people virtually imprisoned at home as smoking and drinking can only now be enjoyed at home. Enjoying restaurants has become a distant memory – unaffordable and now only a quick and forgettable event.
    If I were a dismal dinosaur I would just accept it and die gracefully, but my 30′ish children have also given up on this country, and it is for them that I feel regret. Long working hours, and still living in rented accommodation.
    Ireland has become, apart from your valid comments, a mean place to be, fearful, and with a horrible culture of “ratting” on your neighbours encouraged and – worse – accepted. We have no longer any sense of anarchy,and that’s regrettable.
    Look forward to next weeks programme.
    Mel Corcoran

  5. John

    Great program David, the production was slick and snappy. Very much a rehash of the book but what harm? – it’s a good book too.

    I felt that the program (like the economy I suppose) was very Dublin-centric, I would have liked to see more about Cork, Galway etc. perhaps that will come in the next episodes?

    Anyway, congratulations, I look forward to next week’s installment.

  6. coco

    David you are amazing

  7. garrett harman

    david that was the best factual programme ever produced for rte television,you have great insight and understanding of the big picture,keep up the good work

  8. Rich

    Great piece of work to analyse how Ireland has changed dramatically in macro and micro economic ways, and how his change has influenced everyone and our consumer behaviour

    Well done and keep up the good work!

  9. James

    I loved the show. I havent read the book but will now. It is fantasatic to listen to someone with refreshing and original comments about the state of this country. I wonder if in future episodes you will deal with the potential effects of a property slowdown on our ecomony. Keep up the good work.

  10. Shirley

    Loved the show – very well put together & some of the stats illustrated excellently the amount of greed in the country & how we have changed as a nation (for good and bad..). Well done, am looking forward to the next one already..

  11. Paul

    Great show, really slick production and a pretty cool soundtrack to boot

  12. John

    Good work David

    I think people should remember that where we rose from in the 80′s to where we are today happened very very fast. We CANNOT forget that we can go fall back even faster.
    The huge disadvantage the popes children have in Ireland of today is that we have never experienced bad times such as the 80′s. Let’s be careful. Eccellent show.


  13. Kevina

    Hi David
    Your programme was interesting, but I found it frustrating that it merely depicted life in south county Dublin. I think that it is much easier to espouse theories of class mergence if you forget about other more disadvantaged parts of Dublin. The programme also fuelled the notion, in my opinion, that nothing of interest happens outside the capital. You pushed the right, populist buttons for lots of people, but not for me.

    A non-Dublin dweller!

  14. Enjoyed the book but no book will penetrate the audience that television can – I thought it was a superb production and a real wake up call to the whole nation! Parts of it made me feel really uncomfortable – which is a compliment by the way :-) If we only read and watch that which affirms the status quo and gives us an ego massage we will sleepwalk into disaster. Good stuff David and a very strong performance on Q & A.

  15. Richard

    Great stuff, David!

    Just wondering if there will be a DVD or video released after the screening of the three programmes? I would like to show your take on Ireland to relatives overseas.

  16. Great program David.

    I also would like to know if there will be a DVD release to show it to some people in Spain (we are more or least in the same situation).

    As a spaniard, I’m impressed by your radiography of the irish society, and it matches what I’ve seen since I arrived.

    There are some points I would like to ask.

    Given that as you show the growning speed of the irish economy will start to decrease soon:
    is this the best public transport we can expect?
    is the health system the one someone can expect in one of the wealthier countries in the world?
    are the goverment services comparable to the ones you can find in other countries in Europe?

    Perhaps we consume more chocolate that the belgians, but we are far away from the services they have, and it’s suppose to be the best Ireland moment ever.

    It’s not just how rich do people think they are, but also how rich do the country think it is. The richness of a country are the natural resources, the people and the infrastructures and services it can provide and I don’t see neither the infrastructure nor many of the services at the level I suppose for a country like Ireland.

    Sorry, I have extended to much. One more time, congratulations, I think is the best program about economy I have ever seen.

  17. Eddie Hobbs

    I’ll get you McWilliams!!!

  18. B Connolly

    Good Show and a good follow on from your book which I read and enjoyed.

    I can only hope that some people who watched last night will actually take a long hard look at themselves after watching this show as it does not show people in a good light. The materalistic Irish population that has evolved is bordering on disgusting.

    I disagree that we are more wealthy than the early 90′s, I think we are more indebited and our spending is out of control. Access to “aparent” cheap credit has led to a false sense of wealth which is fueling the creed being shown.

    As much as I agree that the vast majority of the pope’s children (late 70′s children) are spending like there was no 1980′s, I think focus should be shifted aswell to the pre popes children who were born in the last 60′s/early 70′s and are trying to keeping up with their younger peers in relation to obscene spending.

    Unfortunately your book and programme focuses on the Dublin Suburbs, but you should also add the country children who are building 3,000 square foot houses on Daddy’s land and taking out 300-400k mortgages to build and furnish them. How will they cope with the impending fuel increases and interest rate rises, especially when most have no idea that we are controlled by the ECB.

    I look forward to the 2 further programmes and I hope some people take note of what is being said, before they re-mortgage the house for that BMW and apartment in Bulgaria.

  19. Conor

    Absolutely facinating and an appalling vista. The banks must be licking their chops. Whats the solution? I hope your next programmes have some suggestions.

  20. EJ Mc M

    Really good David. I have read the book and found it an easy and interesting read. I enjoyed putting my peers into the different boxes. The TV programme was fast and definately for the MTV generation. Are the MTV Generation and Popes Children the same people?
    I work with young Junior Certs and think the programme could be used for a range of subjects. Is it coming out on DVD soon. Have it out by Christmas and you’re sure of a Number One spot. It won’t do the book sales any harm either. Oh I loved the rattling on Q & A last night. Keep it up David.

  21. Gary McAuslan Concerned Parent of East Meath


    the show brought the book to life excellently. Hopeful that you will manage to one day soon cover the Education crisis that exists beneath our Celtic Tiger Ireland with a new breed of “Aren’t Kids Resilient” growing up in Portacabins and being taught in the Gyms of older kids around the country (Case in point – Laytown). As a nation of “Saints and Scholars”, we certainly know how to prioritise the next generation of “Celtic Tiger Cubs”!

  22. I missed the show. is there a repeat ?


  23. webmaster

    Hi Brendan, and those others who enquired about a repeat showing.
    I have just checked up on this and I’m afraid RTE have no plans to schedule a repeat at the moment.

    If they do, you will hear it here first so keep an eye on the site or sign up to the newsletter.

    I’m waiting to hear back about the series being available on DVD or online after it has completed it’s run. No word on this yet.



  24. stephen brennan

    really enjoyed last night’s show as after reading the book, it gave a clearer picture to who the people you describe in the book actually are and what they do. it was excellently produced, soundtrack, etc. also well done for giving a very polished performance on questions and answers

  25. Declan

    Great programme David. Brilliant argument, very witty wonderfully shot. I was just about to buy the book, so you’ve saved me the trouble of reading it. Cheers!

    I’m actually doing up my second house up here in Belfast so I’m literally DIY Declan. Gulp!

  26. Liked the program overall but the piece on the paper delivery man talking about the increase in traffic was wholly redundant. You’d want to have been on Mars to not know about the traffic increases across Ireland in the past 20 years. The rest was great.

  27. Alison McGlynn

    Brilliant show, have to hand up a paper about globalisation and the Irish economy and it gave me a few good tips!! Thanks

    Look forward to next weeks show.

  28. Kells angel

    Hi David,
    i read your book and enjoyed your section on the Kells angels as this is now the group i belong to and found it very humerous!
    The show last night was excellent , however as one of these angels the show was on too late for me. I am up each morning at 4.30am to get to Dublin ahead of the traffic arriving at 6.45 to my office, i do leave about 2.45 – 3pm and am home again by 4.45pm. The commute can be annoying , but i believe in viewing every situation as an opportunity and see this commute time as an opportunity to brush up on current affairs ( radio) and organise my thoughts for the day. I chose to live far from Dublin more for family reasons than economic ones and know i have a better quality of life down here than i had in Dublin city.
    I was born in 1970 and remember the strikes, petrol shortages,
    emmigration and simply no luxuries and i fear for the Popes children if things ever get tight, i grew up having to make do with what i had but my sister born in 1980 never experienced this and our attitudes towards money is so different, i like to save for something , she goes and gets it now and borrows. Possibly the discipline us older kids grew up with will stand to us but i hope we are not tested. bye

  29. David McManus

    Really enjoyed the show but i think that some of the people watching will believe their government ministers instead of you even though they are lying to them.I already knew that the celtic tiger is slowly down and will not last forever.All good things must end.To be honest, no matter how hard you try you won’t get through to everyone in the country.The irish people are blinded and always takes the lies that the government tells them hook,line and sinker.Things will never change in this country regarding to the political hypocrisy of the government and the blindness of the irish people when they can’t see that the current government only stands for big business and millionaires as they dont pay tax and can always be seen at their ard fheis paying nice contributions to the party.The irish people(60% of them)have their backs to the sun and their faces to the earth.
    GREAT SHOW.Please feel free to respond to comment to my email.

  30. Ian

    Good show David, the issues were well examined, although I hope the next two episodes take a look outside Dublin, as there are many happy non-Dub dwellers like myself who do not have to get up at 4.30 am for a dashboard breakfast to go to a job so that I can pay a half million euro mortgage. Incidentally, I feel closer to Bosco than JP the second!

  31. Ashley Hayes

    Anyone know if episode 1 is going to be repeated or available for broadband viewing?

  32. great show David, I’m now going to buy the book to complement the show. hope the other two are produced as well!

    Ashley your best bet is to wait and see if there is a DVD release on the cards.

  33. Gary Concerned Parent of East Meath

    With economic success comes traffic, they sustain one another, at least according to Des from New Cork, the comedian! Are you going to cover the governements failure to prioritise the Celtic Tiger Cubs that is the Education accomodation crisis in any of the next two episodes David?

  34. John Dawson

    Congratulations David on a brilliantly witty and insightfull view of a slice of modern Ireland. I’d agree with many of the above comments that you’re rather selective, but I don’t think anything else was intended. I’m interested that you are now mentioning energy … (cheap credit / fuel / labour) – I don’t recall that in the book. The shape of things to come? Keep it up David – we need more of it!

  35. John O Byrne

    I read with great interest about this Tv series, living in Sydney for the past 12 years & at this stage having to make the decision about returning or not returning home.The message board brings back some nightmares about living in Ireland.

    Like others would love to get my hands on a copy of series. Hope you intend to produce a dvd on the series.

    Love your articles.

  36. Bernard O'Shea

    Well done on the Popes Children TV prog. making economics into enjoyable viewing is a feat in itself, its hearting to hear a well defined argument on where the country is heading economically. Moreover it shows that money is one of the most defining factors when it comes to creating cultural/social classes. Great program

  37. Jonathan Foley

    Enjoyed the show, David. Very enjoyable – and not because I played the part of the guy smuggling the porn, condoms and curly wurlys, but because it was a real eye opener and answered a whole lot of questions.

    Keep up the good work!

  38. Anita

    I missed the programme on Monday …is it going to be repeated this week?

  39. David Mc Williams

    Thanks you very much for all the comments. I’m really overwhelmed. For those who thought the programme was too Dublin-centric, this is a valid point and it is something we agonized over, so mea culpa. Maybe however, there is not so much difference between the suburbs of Dublin and other cities these days and given the extent that we are a commuter culture, the themes are universal.

    The next programme takes us out past Dublin to Navan, Galway, Connemara and Roscommon and abroad so hopefully this will rebalance things.

    Myself and the rest of the team have been as very flattered by the response, so thanks very much again.

    Best Regards, David
    I’ll try to address every comment in turn but it will take a little time, so thanks again and tune in on Monday.

  40. colm

    Interesting show, throws much light on the uneasy feeling many have about this Celtic ‘boom’. Looking at the cubs flying here and there I wondered what percent of the workforce are public servants sitting pretty and immune from all this stress, just waiting to collect their generous pensions? I heard an old person ask ‘what is it all about’ the Celtic tiger, and when I summed it up in a few sentences, he dismissed it and said he hadn’t seen any of the benefits!

  41. Gareth D

    The best point of the show I thought was the ending were you said we will see in the near future a immigrant politician draped in the Irish flag fighting the rights for the ‘new Irish’. That is definitely something I would believe to be already in the making, as were these immigrants came from they are no strangers to political fights and with the volume of immigrants increasing more by the day the possibility is stronger than ever before.

  42. Eamon


    I am writing to congratulate you on the superb programme on RTE last Monday – the Popes Children. Congratulations again on a brilliantly insightfull view into modern Ireland.

    Good performance on Q&A’s also.

    I am looking forward to the 2nd installment already.

  43. I thought that there was a lot crammed into the first episode, it almost viewed like a one-off hurry through all the chapters. Looking at it again on DVD though, it was probably necessary to give a quick summary of the book, because you can’t assume that everyone watching had read the book previously. I did, and I am looking forward to digging into the chapters and themes in more detail.

  44. Noel Carroll

    Excellent book David. The show is a great outlet, to sit back and look at our lifestyles in Ireland today. You raised a very interesting point about this generation and their sence of culture and their understanding of where we came from in the past (economically). The book is a interesting, and witty read and look forward to your programme. (And there was nothing wrong with the Macaroon Bar! :) )

  45. Alex

    I’ve missed the first episode. Will it be available for download?


  46. Shay Wall

    I live in Glasgow and cannot view RTE, any chance you could put up the series on this website?

  47. nicky

    I moved to Ireland in the late 60′s from the supposed third world but believe me, this was the third world and only just.
    Yet for all that there was something about being Irish.
    Now, we have lost the run of ourselves.
    I equate my time in Ireland to 3 Clint Eastwood films:-
    The Ireland I moved to was
    “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”
    We then joined the then E.E.C. and it became
    ” A fistfull of Dollars”
    Now sadly, the film playing out is
    ” For a few Dollars more ( I’d sell my Granny)”.
    But these things go in cycles and I and many of my generation who had to take the boat to England and Germany to work at whatever was going, know that it can all change so quickly.
    David Mc Williams is not everyone’s cup of tea but his glasses are not rose tinted. I’m glad that he is available to give us a little prod to wake-up to ourselves.

    p.s. Note to David McWilliams: CurlyWurlies were readily available in Dublin from the early to mid 70′s, poor David was deprived dragged up in Dalkey unable to get them til ’79 !

  48. Bob

    Hey David
    Have you ever read “Freakonomics” – I think its by Stephen Letter – you seem to think alike!

  49. David Mc Williams

    Thanks so much for all your comments. Its a great honour for me, that so many people both watched and enjoyed the show. The team behind the TV series are also delighted with the reaction -so thanks again. The DVD of the entire series will be out on Dec 8. I’ll keep you posted. Kind Regards, David

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