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The four brothers of the Phelan family battle to save their farm and their family from the ravages of the Irish Potato Famine in 1846, and from an English land agent who takes a dislike to ... See full summary »




2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Series cast summary:
Joe McGann ...  Sean Phelan 4 episodes, 1995
Mark McGann ...  Conor Phelan 4 episodes, 1995
Paul McGann ...  Liam Phelan 4 episodes, 1995
Stephen McGann ...  Daniel Phelan 4 episodes, 1995
Michael Kitchen ...  Captain William Townsend 4 episodes, 1995
Fiona Victory ...  Maeve Phelan 4 episodes, 1995
Tina Kellegher ...  Mary Dolan 4 episodes, 1995
Sean McGinley ...  Ferry 4 episodes, 1995
Gerard McSorley ...  Coulter 4 episodes, 1995
Joe Pilkington Joe Pilkington ...  James Phelan 4 episodes, 1995
Ciarán Fitzgerald ...  Joseph Phelan 4 episodes, 1995
Ciara Marley Ciara Marley ...  Molly Phelan 4 episodes, 1995
Dylan O'Connell Dylan O'Connell ...  Baby Hannah 4 episodes, 1995
Birdy Sweeney Birdy Sweeney ...  Patrick Dolan 4 episodes, 1995
Maire Ni Ghrainne Maire Ni Ghrainne ...  Sarah Dolan 4 episodes, 1995
Mal Whyte Mal Whyte ...  McBride 4 episodes, 1995
Dave Duffy ...  McCafferty 4 episodes, 1995
Peter Caffrey Peter Caffrey ...  Dr. Davis 4 episodes, 1995
Joe Savino ...  Meagher 4 episodes, 1995
B.J. Hogg B.J. Hogg ...  Harkin 4 episodes, 1995
Gerry Walsh Gerry Walsh ...  Brady 4 episodes, 1995
Barry Barnes Barry Barnes ...  Michael Dolan 2 episodes, 1995
Oliver Maguire Oliver Maguire ...  Mr. Denny 2 episodes, 1995
Maureen McBride Maureen McBride ...  Mrs. Brogan 2 episodes, 1995
Albie Woodington Albie Woodington ...  Sergeant Major 2 episodes, 1995
George Shane George Shane ...  Brewster 2 episodes, 1995
Frank O'Sullivan Frank O'Sullivan ...  Kerryman 2 episodes, 1995
Alan Stanford Alan Stanford ...  Henry Jenkins 2 episodes, 1995
Ian Beattie ...  Brian Sweeney 2 episodes, 1995
Stephen Kennedy ...  Martin Sweeney 2 episodes, 1995


The four brothers of the Phelan family battle to save their farm and their family from the ravages of the Irish Potato Famine in 1846, and from an English land agent who takes a dislike to them. Written by Alexander Lum <aj_lum@postoffice.utas.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tv mini series | See All (1) »


Drama | History







Release Date:

2 May 1995 (Ireland) See more »

Filming Locations:

County Donegal, Ireland

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


The Phelan brothers are played by the real life brothers; Joe, Mark, Paul and Stephen McGann, on whose family saga this story is based. See more »

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User Reviews

A Glimpse into a Dark Period of History
9 November 2008 | by nturnerSee all my reviews

The Hanging Gale is another excellent example of a made for television mini-series. Its subject is the devastation to one family resulting from the Irish potato famine of the mid 1800's in which half of the population of Ireland was depleted either by death or emigration.

The cast is headed by four acting brothers - Joe, Mark, Paul, and Stephen McGann - who give powerful performances as brothers in Ireland fighting - politically and physically - to save their land from the British landlord. The most intriguing performance in the film is given by Michael Kitchen as the landlord's agent.

Townsend, the agent, is certainly not a Simon Legree, but he is a complex man who seems to make many wrong decisions despite himself. Even though he is educated and obviously has the means and moral sense to overcome the landlord, it seems that he becomes as much a victim as the starving tenant farmers.

The superior acting all 'round and the excellent production values of the film enable the viewer to vicariously experience what it must have been like for these extraordinarily poor people as their very ability to exist withered away. This is a powerful film that gives you a glimpse into a dark period of history.

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