The Brontës: An Irish Tale
Actress Aoife Hinds (Derry Girls, Normal People) explores the little-known Irish part of the Brontë story. Aoife’s first memory of the Brontës is as a child when she watched her father, the actor Ciaran Hinds, play Mr Rochester, one of the most iconic figures in literature. In a journey which takes Aoife from County Down to St John’s College, Cambridge, she discovers how the father of the Brontës, Patrick, rose from humble beginnings in Rathfriland to become curate of Haworth parsonage. Then, unusually for the time, he encouraged and supported his daughters’ desire to be educated and to write.
Aoife discovers the impact a second Irish man had on the Brontë story. Arthur Bell Nicholls, from Killead, Co. Antrim, courted Charlotte for many years before she finally agreed to marry him. The newlyweds honeymooned in Ireland, and Aoife visits the archives of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, where she reads one of the letters Charlotte wrote while in Ireland.
Aoife’s journey concludes in Banagher, where Arthur Bell Nicholls lived after Charlotte’s death. She learns of the role he played in preserving all the priceless Brontë manuscripts and precious memorabilia beloved by scholars and the visitors who flock to Haworth parsonage today.