Other Info

Besom Productions

Top Image


Director: Mary Crumlish
Producer: Margo Harkin
Executive Producer for TG4: Proinsias Ní Ghráinne
Production Company: Besom Productions Ltd.
Broadcaster: Broadcast on the 9 March 2008 on TG4


A one hour documentary in the Irish language for TG4 by Director Mary Crumlish.


Red haired people account for only 1% of the world’s population and are strongly associated with the fair skinned peoples of Ireland and Scotland. According to some scientific thought the gene pool for red hair is dwindling rapidly and will be extinct in 100 years. In many ancient cultures red hair was perceived as a sign of beauty and nobility. Accounts of the early Celts show that red hair was prevalent and held in high regard, even though it could be considered to involve a certain degree of magical danger. Since hair was thought to spring internally from the blood, the retention of this colour was a reflection of the heated nature that lay within. However the ancient Chinese, Egyptian and Greco Roman worlds displayed strong antipathies to the colour of red hair, perhaps due to a connection with invading armies of this racial characteristic. In Ireland, in more recent times, red hair has been strongly associated with superstitions of an adverse nature of which there are complex and myriad examples. Aggression, bad luck and an intense sexuality are all considered attributes of red haired people.

Rua will take an in depth look at the history and culture of red hair with a view to informing us all better of the rare and magical nature of a characteristic that has lately been seen as a distasteful attribute best hidden or coloured over. The documentary will interweave interviews with scientists, historians, cultural commentators and poets with lively accounts of ordinary people giving their views and experiences of being red haired today. A rich collection of sources from archive footage, paintings, poems and other artistic representations of the subject will illustrate the film themes. The aim of the film is to reclaim the beauty of red hair and to restore pride to the much abused `ginger’ by illustrating the rich history and cultural significance of this most controversial of hair colours.

Domestic viewing copies available on DVD for £17 (inclusive of VAT) plus postage and packing. For Institutional rates and/or other teaching purposes, please contact Margo at