FERMANAGH man, Séamas Mac Annaidh, fronts a new series on TG4 which takes an entertaining look at Ireland’s history of war, revolution, art, music, industry and culture from the unusual perspective of our nation’s graveyards.

The six-part series began on Sunday (January 10) at 8pm.

Séamas takes us across the length and breadth of Ireland, from Belfast to Donegal, Galway to Cork, Dublin to Armagh - exploring the surprising connections graveyards in these areas have with pivotal moments in history, as well as the unexpected stories and local traditions. With a wry eye and expert knowledge, Séamas looks beyond the stone and earth to discover the very human histories underneath our feet.

Series producer Sheila Friel said: “The richness of stories in each programme has been really exciting and it’s been wonderful to see how connected local people still are to their own history. Our journey is upbeat and entertaining and through the unexpected sources of humour, the unique traditions of an area and so much more, there’s something in each programme for people to personally connect to.”

Director Mal Marken said:“We have had unprecedented access to some hauntingly beautiful sites, and filming in graveyards has presented unique challenges and opportunities. Ar Shlí na Fírinne will show unexpected corners of Ireland in their raw, natural beauty.”

Séamas himself believes graveyards are the ultimate public records office.

"Great and good, princes and paupers, everyone’s stories come to rest here," he said.

"But graveyards also retain all sorts of emotions and memories – they are connected with history but also with feelings and stories that feel very real and present, and the joy of our series is getting to share this connection with an audience.”

In episode one, Séamas visited Belfast, exploring the hidden stories that lie in this city’s complicated past.

He learns about how the divisions between communities are literally built into the ground beneath our feet, discovers the history of the little known Belfast Jewish cemetery, and finds out how to decode Freemason symbolism on graves.

Moving westwards, episode two sees Séamas in the unspoilt setting of Donegal. The county of myths and legends opens its secrets up to Séamas as he discovers the strange link between the island of Gola and a pirate story that has entranced people across the world; uncovers the tragic story of love and revenge that lies behind the building of a particular Donegal church; and shows us how a simple trick with flour can reveal the secrets of abandoned graves.

First broadcast on Sunday, January 17 at 8pm and repeated on Monday, January 18 at 12.30pm.

Séamas shows us that the clues to what and who has gone before us are closer than we might think, as he takes an entertaining journey across Ireland to uncover the secrets of a graveyard near you.

Ar Shlí na Fírinne is an Imagine Media production for TG4, with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund.