What a delightful story! From the beginning, you suspect this 18th century tale may well be one of lesbian love in majestic Kilkenny. You don’t expect how much it chimes with lives around us today.

Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby were companions in the closest thing Ireland had to royalty. They wanted only to be together, and planned to elope. This little adventure was perhaps the only weak point in An Extraordinary Affair – a bit more natural or dramatic sound may have picked out the adventurous scenes more.  However it emerged that this was a small part of the documentary as a whole, which really celebrated a lovely couple’s life, as much if not more than reporting on the scandal.

There is classical music throughout, some readings, interviews and narration. Just the odd bit of natural sound alongside location recordings, make this a fairly typical radio presentation of a historical story. Whatever about the structural analysis, the story is winning. Slow reveals, respect, admiration, and an airy joy make this a charming radio story.

Give it a listen!

An Extraordinary Affair, RTÉ Documentary on One.