This is the story of Rose Dugdale and how she went from being an English debutante curtsying in front of the Queen to an avid supporter of the IRA and a shocking art thief.

The Heiress And The Heist is the story of the 1974 Russborough House heist and how a gang led by Rose Dugdale, a former debutante from London's high society, stole £8 million worth of paintings.

Their demands? To free the Price sisters who were facing a prison sentence for the 1973 car-bombing attacks and were being force-fed while on hunger strike.


On the night of April 26th, 1974, Rose Dugdale and three armed men forced their way into Russborough House with the intention of stealing a series of paintings for the IRA.The Palladian mansion housed one of the most exquisite art collections in the world. And so Rose and her gang were able to escape with 19 paintings valued at IR£8 million, today’s equivalent of more than €100 million. The story travels back in time to Rose’s background – her privileged upbringing in an aristocratic family and her academic achievements at Oxford and abroad – to reveal how these chapters of her life led her down the path of a revolutionary. Moved to action after Bloody Sunday, she develops bold plans in support of the IRA, even stealing from her own family home to obtain funds. Then, she follows the cause to Northern Ireland, where she engineers a plan with Eddie Gallagher to drop milk churns loaded with explosives on the RUC station in Strabane.


After the bombing attempt on Strabane, Rose and her accomplice, Eddie Gallagher, flee to the Republic of Ireland and go into hiding. Wanted posters with Rose’s picture are released to the public in connection to the bombing. Around the same time, a Vermeer painting was stolen from Kew Gardens. A ransom note states the painting will be returned in exchange for the release of the Price sisters – two IRA volunteers who had been charged with the Old Bailey bombing and were being forced-fed whilst in prison. Nothing came from the ransom demand, except perhaps to inspire Rose and Eddie’s plan to steal a collection of paintings from Russborough House. The country estate in a rural area of County Wicklow housed one of the biggest art collections in the country – including several old masters, like Vermeer, Goya and Gainesborough. It was also the summer home of Lord and Lady Beit. Rose and Eddie, with two accomplices, were able to steal 19 paintings from Russborough House. They presented a ransom demand for the transfer of the Price sisters to a prison in Northern Ireland. A nationwide search for Rose and the paintings begins and law enforcement follow their trail down to Cork.


In West Cork, two local gardai detect a strange couple that have rented a cottage in Glandore. Upon investigating the cottage, they discover Rose Dugdale and the 19 stolen paintings from Russborough. Rose is sent to Limerick prison to serve time for the robbery. Whilst in prison, she gives birth to her and Eddie Gallagher’s child. In an attempt to force the Irish government to release Rose, Eddie and fellow IRA volunteer, Marion Coyle, kidnap Dutch industrialist, Tiede Herrema, who runs a company in Limerick. Coyle and Gallagher are able to hide Herrema for eight days. Upon being discovered by investigators, Herrema was held hostage in Monasterevin Park in what became an 18-day siege against the Irish police and military forces. The world’s media descended onto Monasterevin to cover the shocking story of the siege and the kidnappers’ ransom request for the release of three IRA volunteers from prison, one of which was Rose Dugdale. After Marion and Eddie surrender and Tiede Herrema is released unharmed, the two are sentenced to prison. Eddie and Rose marry while both serving their prison sentences. Rose serves six years in prison and upon her release, rejoins community activism in Dublin and becomes involved in Sinn Fein.

"100% fresh." ROTTEN TOMATOES
"Fascinating... a riveting account." THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
"An entertaining spin on an old saga with fitful bursts of insightful commentary." THE TIMES
"Director David Harvey handles the story with elegance, striking the perfect balance between serious storytelling and highlighting the absurdities within the narrative." VIGOUR TIMES
"Feels crisp, fresh and free of the fusty solemnity - the gloomy music, the portentous narration - that afflicts so many documentaries about Irish history." INDEPENDENT.IE
"Captivating... a documentary that breaks free from the conventional and dull tone often found in Irish history documentaries." VIGOUR TIMES
"Engaging... nails the absurdities of the incident without underplaying its seriousness." INDEPENDENT.IE
"Vibrant visuals and knowledgeable experts." VIGOUR TIMES
"Well-informed talking heads." INDEPENDENT.IE
"An incredible tale...gripping." THE IRISH TIMES
"It’s a great story – a cracking one, really – and skilfully told via archive footage and talking head interviews." THE IRISH TIMES


3 x one hour
Available in 4K / UHD


Sundance Now, RTE Ireland




Peninsula Television


UK, Ireland & USA


David Harvey


Shannon Cooper, Ronan Hand, Jonathan Ford

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