New docu-series to explore iconic Irish lesbian love story of the Ladies of Llangollen

Renowned for their unconventional relationship, the Ladies of Llangollen, will be the subject of a new TG4 documentary.

The image shows a promotional shot for the new TG4 documentary of two women posing as the Ladies of Llangollen. The two people are walking in a rural setting holding hands. They are walking away from the camera and are wearing period costumes. The one of the left is wearing aa long tan coloured dress. The one on the right has a long brown skirt with a frilly white blouse. She is also carrying a dark brown hat.
Image: Bo Media

The famed Ladies of Llangollen will feature in a new six-part series about Ireland’s greatest love stories, Scéalta Grá na hÉireann, on TG4 this September.

Returning for its second season, the show will share the accounts of six new captivating and heartbreaking Irish relationships, set on the backdrop of some of the most historic events, including the 1798 Rebellion, Easter Rising, Irish War of Independence and American Civil War.

Among the stories featured in the new TG4 series will be that of Lady Eleanor Butler of Kilkenny Castle and Sarah Ponsonby of Woodstock House, Inistioge, also better known as the Ladies of Llangollen.

After their introduction in 1768, through family connections, the pair formed a lifelong bond, resulting in their emigrating to Llangollen in Wales in 1780, where they lived together for the rest of their lives.

The episode will explore how, despite their families’ aristocratic standing, the couple broke the social norms of their time and overcame many obstacles in order to be together.

Defying societal expectations and refusing to conform to traditional gender roles, their story caused a huge controversy at the time but has endured the ages to become an inspirational tale of undying love and unbreakable courage.



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The ladies’ journey is not the first LGBTQ+ relationship to be explored by Scéalta Grá na hÉireann, as series one featured the tragic tale of Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas.

Although Wilde was married to Constance Lloyd, he was known to have had affairs with men, but his enduring relationship with Lord Douglas, also known as Bosie, caused his downfall.

After Bosie’s father, the Marquess of Queensberry, accused Wilde of being a “posing sodomite”, Wilde sued for libel resulting in him losing the case and being outed as having had sexual encounters with a number of men. He was subsequently tried and sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour.

Along with the Ladies of Llangollen, the new series of Scéalta Grá na hÉireann on TG4 will also feature the stories of Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett, Michael Joseph O’Rahilly and Nancy Brown, Matilda and Theobald Wolfe Tone, Leslie Price and Tom Barry, and John Mitchel and Jenny Verner.

The new series will launch on Wednesday, September 6, and will be available to watch on TG4 and online.

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