Clareman’s new nature series on RTÉ this Sunday

RTÉ is set to broadcast an extraordinary new series from Irish underwater cameraman Ken O’Sullivan. North Atlantic – The Dark Ocean will begin this coming Sunday 14th May, 6.30pm on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player. 

The series features iconic creatures and marine life of the North Atlantic from Ireland’s shores and reveals never-before-seen behaviours and challenges of some of our greatest wild animals.

Inspired by the spirit of adventure of early explorers such as St Brendan the Navigator, Ken journeys out into the open North Atlantic in search of the great sea monsters described in their early texts. After more than ten years, Ennisman Ken finally swims with a fin whale and captures incredible footage that documents its individual patterns.

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Using an unmanned submarine aboard the Celtic Explorer, Ken journeys to the deepest parts of Ireland’s Atlantic waters, where he discovers thousands of cat sharks in a deep-water nursery. Ken also addresses the decimation of sharks in Ireland and across the globe. Prepare to be immersed in the waters of the North Atlantic like never before.

North Atlantic also deals with the concerning issue of the treatment of our oceans and its creatures. The series explores concerns such as toxicity in whales from human activity in the ocean and the decimation of fin whales due to whaling. The series emphasises how society must work harder to conserve these precious ecosystems.

In Episode 1, broadcast this Sunday, 14 May, Ken explores the dark ocean waters to the north of Ireland. Here he encounters monstrous winter storms and discovers that these are a huge source of fertility in the ocean. He meets a group of Minke whales lunge-feeding on shoals of sprat, and travels to Arctic Norway in search of massive herring shoals that once abounded in Ireland.

In Episode 2, Ken travels the south coast of Ireland searching for fin whales. These hugely enigmatic creatures are the second largest animals to have ever lived, but almost nothing has been documented about their migration routes, especially for breeding, until now.

Photo: Kev L Smith

Ken voyages 1,500km out to the Mid-Atlantic ridge in search of more fin whales. Here he finds sea mounts, oases of life in the open ocean, and gains a deeper understanding of the ocean’s eco-system.

In the series finale, Ken embraces the spirit of early explorers and gains an understanding of some of the ocean’s greatest and most diverse animals, from the surface waters to the deepest parts of the North Atlantic. He documents more than thirty basking sharks engaged in a courtship ritual – possibly the largest ever group of their kind captured on camera.

The series also features an original classical music soundtrack by young composer Bradley Ayres, performed by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

North Atlantic will air on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player from Sunday 14th May, 6.30pm

Ken O’Sullivan is an underwater cameraman, documentary filmmaker and successful author. He has been making conservation focused natural history documentaries since 2005, long before it was topical. Ken’s family lived for 250 years on a small island off Ireland’s North Atlantic coast. Inheriting a love of the shore, its creatures and the seasons, from his father and uncles, Ken then made the step none of his family or ancestors could, by becoming a diver and exploring the underwater world of the North Atlantic and its amazing animals and habitats. All of Ken’s work is told through personal insight and experience through a rich central narrative.

In 2018, Ken donated all of his work to the Education system in Ireland and it is now part of the secondary school curriculum. His bestselling book, Stories from the Deep was published in 2019 to great critical acclaim.


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