Tolka Row

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Tolka Row
GenreDrama serial
Created byMaura Laverty
Written byVarious
Country of originIreland
Original languageEnglish
No. of series5
Production locationsStudio 1, Television Centre, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time25–40 minutes
DistributorTelefís Éireann
Original networkTelefís Éireann
Picture format405-line Black-and-white
Original release3 January 1964 (1964-01-03) –
31 May 1968 (1968-05-31)

Tolka Row was an Irish drama serial set in a fictional housing estate on the northside of Dublin.[1] Based on Maura Laverty's play of the same name, Tolka Row was first broadcast on 3 January 1964 and aired weekly for five series until it ended on 31 May 1968.[2]

As Telefís Éireann's first venture into soap operas, Tolka Row quickly became a staple of the new television station's schedule and set the pace for all future home-produced serials. Its popularity also resulted in the station developing a second soap opera, The Riordans, in 1965.

Tolka Row is similar in format to the long-running British soap Coronation Street, from which it borrows its main premise (the everyday life of a number of neighbours). The show was centred on the Nolans, a typical working-class Dublin family, and their neighbours, the Feeneys. All episodes were filmed in studio at Telefís Éireann's Television Centre in Donnybrook, Dublin.


  • Jack Nolan – Des Perry
  • Rita Nolan – May Oliss
  • Seán Nolan – Jim Bartley
  • Statia Nolan-Doyle – Iris Lawler/Sheila O'Sullivan
  • Oliver Feeney – John Molloy
  • Assumpta Feeney – Aileen Harte
  • Concepta Feeney – Virginia Cole
  • Queenie Butler – May Cluskey
  • Mr. Pender – Ritchie Stewart
  • Harry Allen – Martin Dempsey
  • Andy Kinnear – Gerry Alexander
  • Peggy Kinnear – Laurie Morton
  • Gabby Doyle – John McDarby
  • Paddy Moore – Paddy Long
  • Mrs. Moore – Úna McCourt
  • Molly Ryan – Patricia Martin
  • Jim "Beardie" Toomey – Andrew Irvine[3]


Broadcast format[edit]

During its entire four-year run Tolka Row remained at the centre of Telefís Éireann's prime time schedule. The pilot episode was broadcast at 19:20 on Friday, 3 January 1964. The first two series aired once a week on Fridays at that time. The third series moved to Sunday evenings where it usually aired at 19:45. The last two series returned to Friday evenings with a broadcast time of 20:00. Every episode was pre-recorded in black and white before the broadcast date.


For all five series, the complete set of Tolka Row (house interiors and exteriors) was erected inside Studio 1 of Telefís Éireann's Television Centre in Dublin. Sets were constructed and removed on an ad hoc basis. There are a number of reasons for the use of an indoor studio; the main one being that the infancy of production techniques at the time did not allow easy recording and editing of sequences filmed in different locations. In spite of this some scenes were filmed on location in such places as Dublin Airport.


  1. ^ "TV50: The 1960s". TV50. RTÉ. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  2. ^ Quinlan, Ailin (18 June 2011). "The Mammy of Irish cookery". Irish Independent. Dublin. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  3. ^ Andy Irvine and Dónal Lunny (Interview) (20 December 2014). The Business, with Richard Curran (Podcast). Dublin: RTÉ Radio 1. Retrieved on 1 June 2015.