Department of Ultimology

Department of Ultimology
Excerpt of 10′ (from the original track of 51’43”)


Image courtesy of The Department of Ultimology

The Department of Ultimology
Ultimology is the study of endings. This radio essay, produced by RTÉ Radio One’s Drama On One, ranges across multiple disciplines; history of art, communications technologies, linguistics, the climate emergency, the history of disease and personal stories. Narrated by the co-founders of Ultimology, Fiona Hallinan and Kate Strain, the programme features additional contributions by Isabel Nolan, Jessica Foley, Ross Perlin, Dora Vargha, Laura Nsengiyumva, and Salim Kajani. Each speaker reflects on a certain kind of ending: artist Isabel Nolan chronicles her passionate interest in a funerary statue of John Donne, linguist Ross Perlin describes how the after-lives of endangered languages defy any neat ‘sense of an ending’, and student activist Salim Kajani speaks eloquently on behalf of his fellow school pupils in calling for action in the climate emergency. These and other voices combine over Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh’s soundtrack, based on his mastery of the hardanger fiddle and musical chance, in an attempt to question, reflect upon, and possibly transcend ‘The End’.

Kev 26

Image courtesy of RTÉ. Photo by John Cooney.


Image courtesy of The Department of Ultimology.

‘The Department of Ultimology’ radio essay is scripted by Fiona Hallinan and Barry Edward Fitzgerald, narrated and directed by Fiona Hallinan and Kate Strain, scored by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and produced by Kevin Brew, with sound design by Damian Chennells and Ciarán Cullen. ‘The Department of Ultimology’ was produced by RTÉ’s Drama On One and supported by the Broadcast Authority of Ireland.