11 Popular Irish Podcasts to Kickstart Autumn
As the weather gets cooler you can cozy up with these top Irish podcasts that cover current affairs, comedy and everything in between
Now that the vaccine rollout is well under way, more and more of us are returning to in-person working and learning, and what better way to celebrate the return of the daily commute than with a podcast? These eleven great homegrown Irish podcasts will have you laughing, learning, and broadening your perspective – and they’re also great company for those of us who are still working remotely!
Three Castles Burning is a self-described ‘social-history’ of the nation’s capital city. With the podcast’s name being derived from Dublin City’s official coat of arms, which features the titular three castles. The show is hosted and produced by Donal Fallon, who takes his listeners on a journey into the capital’s distant and not-so-distant past. Three Castle’s Burning sets itself apart from its fellow history podcasts owing to Fallon’s dedication to chronicling ‘some of the more forgotten’ stories from Dublin’s long life. He covers everything from the United Irishman to The Rolling Stones’ visits in 1965, often joined by guests who are as insightful and entertaining as he is. Clocking in at ninety-five episodes and counting, Three Castles Burning is perfect for listeners who want a reliable podcast they can enjoy week after week.
Hosted by editor, writer, and evidently, podcaster Ruth Atkins, Unreal Irish Folklore is an engrossing exploration of Irish culture’s impressive catalogue of myths. Each episode Atkins recounts one of the legends of Ireland or an incident in Irish culture, accompanied by appropriately atmospheric background music. Her mythological retellings include such classics as ‘The Children of Lír’ and ‘Oisín in Tír na nÓg’, while also featuring lesser known tales, like that of how the wren became the king of the birds. Atkins’ dives into Irish cultural history are just as interesting, in particular her eerie series of episodes focused on witch-hunts and witch-trials. Each installment is accompanied by a tracklist and links to further reading, making it a comprehensive introduction to Irish folklore for anyone.
Bringing us firmly back into the present is the Ross O’Carroll-Kelly podcast, narrated by author Paul Howard. Howard created the character of Ross in the late 1990’s to be a caricature of the youth of a new affluent culture that had sprung up in south Dublin during the prosperous Celtic Tiger years. With eighteen novels, three plays, and a newspaper column that’s still going strong over twenty years later, it can safely be said that Ross has earned a spot as one of the capital’s most infamous literary sons. The podcast is an audio version of Howard’s weekly Irish Times, supposedly written by Ross himself, which slyly and humorously pokes fun at current pop-culture and politics through the eyes of an aging former rugby jock.
Diverting the attention away from Dublin, The Old Galway Diary is hosted by two scions of Galway writing, Tom Kenny and Ronnie O’Gorman. Both being long-time contributors to The Galway Advertiser, the pair have over fifty years of local knowledge between them. Each episode averages about thirty minutes in length, and is split between Tom and Ronnie as they each take a look at a different significant moment in the city’s life. The two men have a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to storytelling, and this comes across clearly in their warm delivery style, making this a truly delightful journey into Galway’s lore.
Since late 2018 Georgie Crawford has been hosting The Good Glow, a podcast dedicated to sparking open conversation about our health and well-being. Crawford started up the podcast after an unexpected breast cancer diagnosis at age 32 turned her life upside down. Each week a guest speaker joins the show to speak about a specific aspect of health, be it mental or physical. A topic which now has a special relevance to us all as we continue to navigate the pandemic. As the former entertainment editor for SPIN 1038, Crawford is a perfect podcast host that can expertly move between the both light-hearted and more serious aspects of looking after our health.
For a relatively small country, Ireland has done pretty well for itself in terms of global recognition for our film-making industry. The Film Ireland Podcast, which has been running since 2014, brings its listeners behind the scenes of the domestic film industry, getting exclusive chats with filmmakers, directors, and producers of upcoming Irish releases. The Film Ireland podcast is absolutely brilliant if you want edge-of-the-minute updates on Irish cinema, and particularly for spotlighting some indie gems and show stopping short features.
Tony Groves and Martin McMahon host ‘Ireland’s biggest independent news, politics and culture podcast’, The Echo Chamber Podcast. Updating weekly, this podcast analyses and discusses current events on the island of Ireland and beyond. Groves and McMahon are informed and entertaining hosts who discuss topical news items in a way that’s very accessible to the average listener and they are frequently joined by a whole host of guests to further liven up the conversation, such as TD’s, CEO’s, local councilors, and recently the Lord Mayor of Dublin herself. With three hundred individual episodes, you’re sure to find some fresh insights on the topics important to you.
One of Ireland’s most popular podcasts, The Two Norries is hosted by founders James Leonard and Timmy Long. As the name suggests, the pair are proud ‘norries’, that is to say they both hail from the northside of Cork City. Both Leonard and Long suffered from drug addiction in their pasts, causing each of them to serve time in prison. Now, after around a decade of sobriety for both of them, the two men have embarked on a podcast that is aimed at shedding light on addiction and recovery, drug use, and the factors that can contribute to it. To this end, The Two Norries podcast takes a look at issues such as homelessness, mental health, and social class. The topics covered on this show are serious ones; however, the great rapport between Leonard and Long, and their message of recovery from all kinds of addiction makes this podcast ultimately uplifting.
Another podcast hosted by Cork men, I’m Grand Mam follows Kevin Twomey and PJ Kirby as they chat about their lives as gay men living abroad in London. This podcast is a hilarious slice-of-life series that takes you through the experience of navigating life in a foreign country, gay culture in Ireland and elsewhere, nostalgic throwbacks to the Ireland of the nineties, and the many pitfalls of adult life. While the two lads discuss their grown-up lives in the English capital one thought is never far from their minds: just what would their mammies say?
Hosted by model and media personality Vogue Williams and her friend Joanne McNally, My Therapist Ghosted Me is a laugh-out-loud funny podcast series that will have you holding your sides as you listen along. The two ladies get together for an informal weekly chat where they give their opinions on dating, family, fashion, travel, work and, of course, therapists. Compared to the other podcasts on this list, this series is definitely one of the more casual and unstructured entries, but thanks to the sparkling personalities of Williams and McNally and their easy chemistry, it never drags or seems tedious. You’re sure to be roaring your head off as the girls get candid together.
Keeping the laughter coming is Doireann Garrihy with The Laughs of Your Life, a podcast dedicated to exploring laughter in all its forms. Garrihy really delves into the role having a good laugh plays in our lives, but she also dives into the less obvious sides of the reaction, such as the impact of being laughed at, or how we can sometimes use laughter as a nervous reaction or coping mechanism. Each episode, Garrihy is joined by a different Irish guest, a list which runs the gamut from Paul Mescal to Simon Harris and includes both Vogue Williams and Paul Howard, as they explore how laughter has been present at some of the key milestones in their lives.
So there you have it, eleven hot Irish podcasts to liven up your workday in the office or at home. They’re all free to listen to, so all you have to do is start streaming.