‘Lesser Spotted Ulster’ returns

Joe Mahon will be fronting a new series of Lesser Spotted Ulster on UTV.
Joe Mahon will be fronting a new series of Lesser Spotted Ulster on UTV.

TV favourite, Lesser Spotted Ulster - fronted by Derry’s very own Joe Mahon - returns for a new series on UTV on Tuesday, October 11 (8 p.m.).

Joe is promising another feast for the eyes and ears as he goes in search of the quirky, the unusual and the downright fascinating.

Lesser Spotted Ulster is made for UTV by local company, Westway Films, and is one of the station’s most-watched programmes.

Speaking at a special preview of the new series in Derry this week, Joe said: “People might find this hard to swallow, given the size of Ulster, but we’re featuring lots of places that I’d never set foot in before we started filming this series.

“I suspect that they are relatively unknown to the vast majority of our viewers as well - unless, of course, they happen to live there.”

The new series kicks off with a visit to Kircubbin, on the eastern shore of Strangford Lough, where Joe hears tales of some of the strangest customers to ever darken a pub door, joins a fishing expedition for monster langoustines and helps to rebuild the Titanic.

He also traces the outline of ancient settlements beneath the contours of a modern farm and gets an insight into the future of dairy farming. And, of course, he enjoys the usual banter, yarn-spinning and philosophic exchanges on the nature of life and the universe.

He says: “One of the great joys of Lesser Spotted Ulster is being able to share what I’ve discovered about the history, the people and the visual attractions of each location.”

Among the places Joe visits in this new series is Arranmore Island off the coast of Donegal, which has stunning seascapes - but also harrowing tales of tragedy and survival against the odds.

He also takes a trip to Sion Mills in Co. Tyrone with its extraordinary heritage of industrial architecture, 19th century ‘model village’ layout and vibrant, 21st century community.

Other programmes in the series feature Mullaghbrack in Co. Armagh; Virginia in Co. Cavan; Warrenpoint in Co. Down: Killeeshil and Clonaneese in Co. Tyrone; Ballybay in Co. Monaghan and Belleek in Co. Fermanagh.

“Belleek,” says Joe, “is a very good example of the kind of place you think you know well, simply because it has a world-renowned product. However, on this visit I learned so much that was fresh and fascinating about the place and its history. It’s a remarkable story of craft heritage in a beautiful setting.”

Michael Wilson, UTV Television’s managing director adds: “Lesser Spotted Ulster is one of the most popular programmes we have ever shown on UTV. It is certainly captivating and, in more than 100 programmes, has never covered the same location twice!”

Tune in to UTV at 8 p.m. on Tuesday for the first episode of the new series.