The Family of THINGS with Helen Shaw

Athena Media

A podcast about life, one life at a time.

The Family of Things is an independent podcast production, hosted by Helen Shaw, edited by John Howard and released by Athena Media. In these conversations Helen talks with guests about their life journey, what formed them, informs them and inspires them. 'It's an ode to life and how we find our own path', she says. Episodes are released fortnightly.If you like the podcast please support what we do, share it, join our Patreon community website :

All Episodes

The Family of Things S2 E9 : Lauren Arrington #TheFamilyofThings Professor Lauren Arrington is a Florida native who has made Ireland her home, and the focus of her research and writing. In this episode of The Family of Things she shares with Helen Shaw how Ireland, and its writers, drew her in, and how when she first came to study at Trinity College Dublin she thought Dublin was a big metropolis because her roots were in rural and small town Southern America. Today she is Professor English Literature at Maynooth University and her new work 'The Poets of Rapallo' on the shadow of fascism on the lives and work of writers, including WB Yeats, is just out. In this revealing conversation Lauren shares how she gave birth to her second child, just about the day she moved to Dublin at the beginning of lockdown in 2020, and how lockdown affected her and her young family.  In her latest work 'The Poets of Rapallo' we discover how Mussolini's Italy, drew an elite group of Anglophone writers including the American poet Ezra Pound and the Irish poet and statesman WB Yeats, to the small town of Rapallo in the 1920s and 1930s. Pound and Yeats become friends and kinsmen through their wives George and Dorothy who are cousins, and while Pound becomes a committed devotee of Italy's fascist regime Lauren's research shows the deep impact and influence of it on Yeats. It's a fascinating read with revealing new insights. You can find out more about Lauren here:   And more about the book 'The Poets of Rapallo' is available here: and you can buy it here :〈=en&cc=us The Family of Things is an Athena Media independent podcast production. The producer and host is Helen Shaw. The digital editor is John Howard and the theme music is by Michael Gallen. Lauren's episode marks the end of Season 2 of The Family of Things - thanks for listening! 

Jul 22

46 min 44 sec

The Family of Things S2 E8: Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan #TheFamilyofThings The Dublin based Indian poet and arts manager, Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan is Helen Shaw's guest in this episode of The Family of Things. Chandrika was born in Delhi and as a child lived in the Presidential Palace with her grandparents since her grandfather was K.R. Narayanan, the first Indian President to be elected from the Dalit community. Chandrika's mother is an Indian diplomat and, as a young girl Chandrika moved with her to Sweden, and later to Turkey where she finished school. University brought her to the UK and after completing a BA and MA in Art History she began working in art auction house Christies but her plans to stay and take a Masters ended when the UK changes its immigration regulations and she was forced, quite quickly, to find to new home. She came to Dublin in 2012, took a Masters in Arts Management & Cultural Policy at UCD, and since then, as she says herself, she has found both a home and her tribe here, particularly in the queer, creative community. Her work has been published in Writing Home: The ‘New Irish’ Poets from Dedalus Press, The Ireland Chair of Poetry Hold Open the Door anthology by UCD Press, the Green Carnations: 25 Young LGBTQ+ Poets from Ireland anthology by Book Hub Publishing, Banshee, Honest Ulsterman, Impossible Archetype, and Poetry Ireland Review. She has been featured on The Moth and Mortified podcasts, with work aired on NPR and Irish radio. She regularly performs at literary and cabaret events in Ireland. Chandrika was selected for the Irish Writers Centre XBorders programmes in 2018 and 2020. Chandrika is editor of Poetry Ireland’s Trumpet issue 9, and book reviewer for Children’s Books Ireland’s Inis magazine. In this conversation she shares some turning points and her ode to Dublin 'You City You Boyfriend', as well as two short poems inspired by her mother, Chitra. You can find out more about Chandrika and her work here:

Jul 8

1 hr 2 min

The Family of Things S2 E7 Paddy Woodworth #TheFamilyofThings Helen Shaw's guest in this episode is journalist, author and environmentalist Paddy Woodworth. Paddy is the author of 'Our Once and Future Planet' (2018), an exploration of how we restore our environment. In this conversation he shares how he became a nature lover when he was a young boy and his parents would de-camp from Bray to a nissan hut in Co Wicklow for the long summer months enjoying the outdoors. Helen and Paddy crossed paths in the mid 1980s when they were both journalists in the Irish Times and Paddy was well known as an expert on the Basque conflict. His earlier work 'Dirty War, Clean Hands' (2001) charted how the Spanish State confronted ETA and is seen as a seminal study on post-Franco Spain. Paddy grew up in Bray in the 1950s, his family were Protestant, middle-class, and his early school days were seeped in what he describes as a 'little Britain' ethos. He reacted against it, and became more attracted to left-wing politics and republicanism, in an era of student politics and protests. In the 1970s he joined Official Sinn Fein and he talks about his disenchantment with it by the 1980s and how the only political agenda he now stands with is the environmental one, but he sees that movement as intrinsically tied to social justice. You can find out more about Paddy's work here

Jun 24

50 min 8 sec #TheFamilyofThings  Helen Shaw's guest in this episode of The Family of Things is Steafán Hanvey an Irish singer-songwriter and poet, from Downpatrick, who has long found his home in Finland. Steafán's father is the well known Northern Irish photographer Bobbie Hanvey, and his poetry-photography book 'Reconstructions' (2018) presents his poems as conversations with his father's iconic photographs of 'The Troubles'. Today Steafán, as the pandemic paused his music career, has started a new professional life as a photographer, following once again in his father's footsteps, although his photos are often beautiful portraits and landscapes from Finland. In this episode Steafán shares how lockdown, and the pandemic year, crossed with one of the worst in his life, one of heartache and heartbreak. Music you hear in this episode includes: Rigmaroll (Finnish band & Steafán Hanvey) Hands of a Farmer & Vanha häämarssi Bobbie Hanvey & Houl Yer Whisht 'The Muttonburn Stream' & 'All Around the Loney' Steafán Hanvey ' Deep Blue Sea' Steafán Hanvey 'Secrets and Lies' Steafán Hanvey & Tarja Merivirta"Masters of War' (Bob Dylan) with  Janne Lappalainen: Nylon string guitar, banjo, electric guitar, bass, strings and drums programming. Steafán also shares an extract from his poem 'Late Developer' from 'Reconstructions' his photo poetry book You can find out more about his work, music, book, and poetry And check out his photography here : Steafán Hanvey YouTube :

Jun 10

52 min 41 sec

The Family of Things : S2 E 5 Gerardine Meaney #TheFamilyofThings Today's guest in The Family of Things with Helen Shaw is writer, feminist, digital humanities leader and researcher, Professor Gerardine Meaney of University College Dublin. Helen and Gerardine were both students in UCD studying English and History in the early 80s but while Helen moved on to journalism, Gerardine, a self-confessed book addict, stayed in research and began hunting for the loss voices of women writers, written out or censored in Ireland. Her quest to give voice to the women who were always there but erased led to her work in books like 'Reading the Irish Woman' (2013) and her seminal study 'Gender, Ireland and Cultural Change' (2010). Gerardine embraced digital technologies as a means of opening access to learning and has been a pioneer in digital humanities using tools like audio podcasting to share knowledge. In this wide ranging conversation Gerardine, who is now Professor of Cultural Theory in the School of English, Drama and Film at UCD, explores what made her focus her attention on women, and how her new research work, around Victorian cultural values and migrant stereotypes, resonates with issues, like Brexit, today. She also talks about her own experience of surviving breast cancer, and how it has, in some ways, made her think bigger, and with more focus, around her work, and her life. You can find out more about her work here You can visit and explore Joyce's Dublin, the pioneering digital humanities project that Gerardine and Helen collaborated on in 2009 on The Family of Things is an independent podcast production by Athena Media. The presenter and producer is Helen Shaw. The digital editor is John Howard and the theme music is by Michael Gallen - 'The Old Haunt' - an instrumental version of a song released by Michael's band Ana Gog.

May 27

58 min 1 sec

The Family of Things: S2 E4 Jack Lukeman #TheFamilyofThings Today's guest with host Helen Shaw is modern troubadour Jack Lukeman, singer, songwriter and one time leader of the 90s band Jack L and the Black Romantics. Jack shares his journey from growing up in Athy, his apprenticeship as a motor mechanic ,to ending up discovering his stage self as a busker in Amsterdam and becoming part of the very lively and bohemian nightlife culture of Dublin in the early 1990s. During the past year, in the lockdowns, he's adapted well to the virtual world and performs regular Saturday night online gigs, drawing fans from across the world. It prompted him to release a Lockdown sessions album 'Streamed' and release a duet he's created with recording of his Dad, Sean Loughman snr singing. Jack shares with Helen his love of music and singing, 'it's a vocation, it's my life', he says and talks of how he has used the lockdown time, when his international tours with Jools Holland and gigs with Sting, have been postponed, by embracing a new project and shaping a dream-like film around the diaries and story of his grandfather. We hear Jack's music from the early days in the mid 90s with the Black Romantics in the Da Club in Dublin to his stage performances and lockdown sessions. An uplifting sound-led story of a man who has made and shaped his own path in life. In this episode you hear songs including: That's Life - (Dean Kay/Kelly Gordon) Sean Loughman Snr and Jack Lukeman Young At Heart - (Johnny Richards/Carolyn Leigh) Sean Loughman Snr Jackie -(Jacques Brel) Jack L and The Black Romantics Live at the Da Club 1995 Jackie - ( Jacques Brel) Jack L and The Black Romantics (Wax album version) The King of Soho - Jack Lukeman Ode to Ed Wood - Jack Lukeman Rooftop Lullaby - Jack Lukeman Moon River -( Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer) Jack Lukeman Baltimore - (Randy Newman) Jack Lukeman Ol' Man River - (Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein) Jack Lukeman Golden Brown - ( The Stranglers) Jack Lukeman Tuberara Well - ( folk song) Jack Lukeman Forever Young - ( Bob Dylan) Jack Lukeman Find out more about Jack and his music and gigs Episode Transcript: The Family of Things is an independent podcast from Athena Media, the host is Helen Shaw, the digital editor is John Howard and the theme music is by Michael Gallen - from Ana Gog 'The Old Haunt'. If you like what we do please do support us - via our patreon @ AthenaMediaLtd 2021 * no use without permission Season 2 is being recorded remotely. 

May 13

1 hr 1 min

The Family of Things: Dr Kathleen Turner - S2 E3 (released April 30th 2021) #TheFamilyofThings Season 2 is being recorded remotely due to the pandemic. Dr Kathleen Turner says she sang her way through school, and today she's an academic who uses singing as a social good, and sees her mission as empowering the creativity in everyone. Kathleen is Helen Shaw's guest in this episode of The Family of Things, a podcast about life, and how we choose to live it. Kathleen is a Co.Tyrone native but she has long made Limerick City her home and she leads the Masters in Community Music programme there, at the World Academy for Music and Dance, in the University of Limerick. Kathleen's own singing brings together jazz, folk, gospel, blues and pop. Her album 'Like a Lion' celebrates the stories of women, and draws inspiration from the empowerment of women in Ireland. In the podcast she shares her journey from growing up on a dairy farm in Tummery, to becoming a global leader in community music. Equity and equality defines her approach to work and life, and she credits her happy childhood and parents for giving her that sense of fair play and justice. Music you hear in this podcast includes 'Broken Pieces' by Kathleen's sister Juliet Turner ( say Juliette! Helen gets it slightly wrong), a song that become well know at the time of the Omagh bombing in 1998. From Kathleen own work you hear ''Alright by Me', 'Like a Lion', 'Some Stories', "Let It All Fall', and a short clip of Aretha Franklin, an influence on Kathleen, singing 'You Send Me' as well as sound clips of her work with "Sing Out with Strings' from an Athena Media 2011 audio documentary, and from her PhD, which explores the role of a community musician, and was partly presented in audio and video. Follow Kathleen on Twitter - And you can buy Kathleen's music on bandcamp: You can watch the video of 'Like a Lion' that Helen and Kathleen talk about : The Family of Things is an independent podcast production by Athena Media, produced by Helen Shaw. The digital editor is John Howard. The theme music is 'The Old Haunt' by Ana Gog, composed by Michael Gallen.

Apr 29

59 min 50 sec

The Family of Things S2 E2 : Robert John Hope ( released April 16 2021) The Family of Things is a podcast about life, and how we chose to live it, hosted by Helen Shaw and created by independent podcast makers, Athena Media. All of Season 2 conversations have been recorded remotely due to the pandemic. Website: #TheFamilyOfThings Robert John Hope is a Berlin based singer and songwriter whose debut solo album 'Plasticine Heart' is released April 23rd 2021. A Co. Mayo native, Rob is well known on the Irish music scene as the front man for the indie band Senakah, a group that came together in Limerick in 2005, and had two hit albums 'Sweeter than Bourbon' and 'Human Relations' before the band went their separate ways. In this episode of the Family of Things Rob, who once worked with Athena Media as a documentary-maker, shares with Helen his decision to make Berlin his home seven years ago and how, he has found his voice, and his music mojo, after a dark period when he thought he might never sing again. His debut solo album 'Plasticine Heart' is released April 23rd and was recorded in Berlin and features Rob's old colleagues from Senakah, bass player Yvonne Conaty and drummer Daragh O'Loughlin. You can buy find Senakah music on bandcamp Music featured in this episode includes Senakah 'Clarity' ( Sweeter Than Bourbon' album ) Senakah 'Human Relations' ('Human Relations' album) Robert John Hope 'Colorado' ("Plasticine Heart' album) Senakah 'Sweeter Than Bourbon' ( Sweeter Than Bourbon' album) Robert John Hope 'None Other' ( 'Plasticine Heart' album) Robert John Hope 'Plasticine Heart' (Plasticine Heart' album) You can order the new album here: In the conversation Rob talks about a medical condition, a disease, he had affecting his voice. It is called Aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD), also known as Samter's triad. Find out more about Robert John Hope and his music The Family of Things is an independent podcast production by Athena Media. The digital editor is John Howard, and the producer is Helen Shaw. The theme music is 'The Old Haunt' by Ana Gog, composed by Michael Gallen. If you like the series and want to support the creation of Season 2 why not become a Patreon supporter? Episode Transcript: 

Apr 16

57 min 38 sec

The Family of Things : Season 2 E1 : Ruth Smith Released April 2 2021   The Family of Things is a podcast about life, and how we chose to live it, hosted by Helen Shaw and created by the award winning independent podcast producers Athena Media. All conversations in Season 2 have been recorded remotely due to the pandemic. Website: #TheFamilyOfThings Ruth Smith is well known to radio listeners for her weekly RTÉ Radio 1 show Simply Folk but Ruth is a woman of many hats and talents. She is also part of the female singing trio ‘The Evertides’ with her singing sisters Ruth McGill and Alma Kelliher and her creative work includes writing poetry and fiction.  She was born, as Ruth says, a middle child in a family running a busy and bustling Portumna pub in Co. Galway, she grew up performing, doing turns in the pub playing fiddle and became an accomplished pianist.  She went to Trinity College Dublin to study drama and theatre, she still has an occasional life on stage as an actor, and today she lives in East Clare, with her husband, fellow musician Fergal Scahill (of We Banjo 3), and their rescue cat and two dogs.  In this episode of The Family of Things Ruth shares an often deeply personal journey of self-discovery and how a turbulence time in her late twenties, and early thirties, when her first marriage ended, and she felt lost, helped her find confidence in her own voice, and the power to use it for a positive purpose.   Psychologist Tony Bates wrote of this episode : 'Powerful. Searingly honest and healing'.  You can find out more about Ruth follow her on twitter, so you can see her haikus and you can hear The Evertides music on Spotify In the episode Ruth uses the Irish word 'altramas' - which means to foster, to take care of someone, to nurse, so an altramaí is a foster person, foster parent, in the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. The music you hear in this episode includes:  The Evertides - Silence Falling, in the opening & Mayfly in the closing  Billy Joel - Goodnight My Angel Sung by Ruth  Mary Keane/ Mary MacGabhann - Whispering Hope (Ruth's Aunt)  Julie Feeney - Life's Nudge  You can hear, and buy, the songs Ruth's Aunt Mary recorded to raise fund for St Francis Hospice here: You can hear Julie's performance of the song performed live with Cormac de Barra for the Pantisocracy show 2017 here: Ruth reads The Philip Larkin poem ' This Be The Verse' and you find the text here : Family of Things is an Athena Media independent podcast production.  The host, and producer, is Helen Shaw. The digital editor is John Howard. The theme music is 'The Old Haunt' by Ana Gog - composed by Michael Gallen. The Family of Things is an independent podcast without other sources of funding. If you like what we do and want to support the creation of Season 2 consider becoming a member of our Patreon community for just a euro a month.  Help make things happen.   Episode Transcript:  The title 'The Family of Things' comes from a poem by Mary Oliver 'Wilde Geese'

Apr 2

1 hr 6 min

Helen Shaw's guest in this episode of The Family of Things is film-maker Frank Berry whose work tells stories of social realism in often tough suburbs from the documentary film 'Ballymun Lullaby' at the time of the tearing down of the Ballymun Towers to dramas like 'I Used to Live Here', touching on youth mental health and suicide to the more recent and acclaimed 'Michael Inside' about a teenage boy caught up in the quicksand of the Irish prison system. Frank loves working with young people and his twin passions are teaching and film-making, looking for the moments when he can turn a switch on in someone's mind.  To find out more about the series go to The Family of Things is an independent podcast by Athena Media, hosted by Helen Shaw and the digital editor is John Howard. If you like what we do please consider supporting us on our Patreon The theme music is 'The Old Haunt' by Ana Gog, composed by Michael Gallen.

Dec 2018

49 min 38 sec

In this episode of The Family of Things Helen Shaw’s guest is the psychologist and author Dr Tony Bates. Tony founded Headstrong, (now Jigsaw), the National Agency for Youth Mental Health, after a long career in clinical psychology. He was the co-editor of Vision for Change, the mental health strategic review in 2006 and that work motivated him to create an NGO with a mission to provide mental health resources for young people. Jigsaw now has 13 centres across Ireland and has become a critical part of support services for young people in Ireland. Tony is also credited as one of the people who brought the practice of mindfulness to public attention in Ireland following his own experience at the Buddhist retreat centre in Plum Village, France with the spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh. He is the author of ‘Coming Through Depression, a Mindful Approach to Recovery’. In this episode he shares his own experienced of overcoming trauma, and how his brother's death when he was a child marked him. In an open and frank conversation he charts how his own troubled times in his teens prepared him for his life's work, and for a practice earthed in empathy. Tony now lives at the coast in Co Sligo and is working on a memoir.  This episode of The Family of Things won Bronze in a best podcast category in New York Radio Festival 2019 

Nov 2018

54 min 15 sec

Helen Shaw’s guest in this edition of the The Family of Things podcast is Irish scientist and astro physicist Professor Peter Gallagher. The Family of Things is a podcast by Athena Media. Peter Gallagher leads solar physics and space weather research at Trinity College Dublin. Gallagher researches the Sun, in particular solar storms and their impact on Earth. He is Director of the Rosse Solar Terrestrial Observatory at Birr Castle and leads the Irish LOFAR radio telescope project. Gallagher says he was always fascinated by how things work when he was a small boy, even taking the television apart to see what made it work but was a lack lustre student at school. He took physics and mathematics at UCD before his PhD in solar physics at Queen’s University Belfast. At UCD he met and married fellow scientist Emma Teeling who now heads the bat lab at UCD and is an internationally acclaimed geneticist. Gallagher spent six years in the US including working at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Aug 2018

42 min 14 sec

Vivienne DeCourcy, the writer and director of the new feature film ‘Dare to be Wild’ is Helen Shaw’s guest in episode 12 of The Family of Things. ‘Dare to be Wild’, is based on the true story of Irish wild garden designer Mary Reynolds who won the Chelsea Garden Show in 2002. The film is Vivienne’s directorial debut and in this podcast Vivienne talks about her connection to the film’s message, the importance of the environment, nature conservation on our planet and the connection between man and the environment. Vivienne, a former lawyer, began writing scripts after surviving cancer and she talks about her instinctive relationship with the outdoors and nature from her childhood. Her parents, her father was in the Irish Army, and her mother was an English teacher, encouraged her to become a doctor or a lawyer, but as a lover of art and history, she feels she was given a special gift – to take inspirational and enlightening stories and share them with an audience.

Aug 2018

32 min 20 sec

Helen Shaw’s guest is performer and accidental activist Rory O’Neill aka the Queen of Ireland, Panti Bliss. Rory talks about his memoir ‘Woman in the Making’ (Hachette 2014) and his personal journey from growing up in rural Ireland to become a ‘national treasure’ as the drag queen Panti who he says has become a sort of ‘avatar for change’. Rory shares the highs and lows of the last two years since his celebrated speech on the stage of the Abbey Theatre which mobilised support for the Marriage Equality Referendum that was passed by the Irish public in May 2015. He reads from his memoir and talks about the influences on his Panti persona including Charlie’s Angel Farrah Fawcett with her frosted eyeshadow and blonde mane and his exotic Aunty Qy who visited from the US with gifts of ‘jumpers with hoods’ for him and his cousins. Highlights of this funny and insightful podcast include Rory’s description of sharing a stage with Bono in U2’s recent Dublin gig and the story behind the making of the Queen of Ireland documentary film.  For more from Panti Bliss check out the podcast series that she went on to make with Helen and Athena Media called 'Pantisocracy' - the cabaret of conversations. 

Aug 2018

40 min 29 sec

Author and researcher Eleanor Fitzsimons is our latest guest in The Family of Things. Eleanor’s acclaimed biography of Oscar Wilde from the perspective of the women in his life ‘Wilde’s Women‘ opens new windows on both Wilde and his work. Eleanor beautifully written and carefully researched study was published in Ireland in Autumn 2015 and is being released in the US this year. In this conversation with presenter Helen Shaw she introduces us to Wilde’s intriguing mother, Jane Wilde a celebrated writer in her own time, and his much suffering wife Constance LLoyd as well as the women writers who influenced and inspired Wilde. Eleanor describes her work as ‘recovering’ lost stories of women in history and sees her journey as akin to excavating the past; bringing forth what has been forgotten or obscured.

Aug 2018

42 min 19 sec

Nóirín Hegarty found her calling as a news reporter but moved into news management at just 25 years of age. She was editor of the national sunday newspaper The Sunday Tribune at a time when there were very few women editors in Ireland and lead that newspaper from 2005 until it closed in 2011. Since then she’s been at the heart of digital change in the print industry but says she’s finally found her dream job with iconic travel brand Lonely Planet. She moved family and home to London to take up an editorial post with Lonely Planet but she then had the chance to open a Lonely Planet office in Dublin – bringing it all back home again. In this podcast interview for The Family of Things with Helen Shaw, Nóirín talks openly about how tough and macho the editorial newspaper world was and how being a mother of three and a national newspaper editor was a challenging balancing act.

Aug 2018

37 min 28 sec

In Episode 8 of The FAMILY of THINGS, Helen Shaw’s guest is a man known for his winning speed and more recently his winning food – it’s champion sprinter and Celebrity Masterchef David Gillick. David Gillick, who is now retired from competitive running, still holds the Irish indoor and outdoor 400m records and he won two Gold European medals as well as being a world finalist during his track career. In this episode of The Family of Things David shares his life story, what motivates him and what he has learnt along the way. Today he is a corporate coach sharing his sporting strategies with business leaders and he is also mentoring school students in athletics as well as playing in his local GAA team. David Gillick tells Helen about the moment he knew he wanted to be a professional athlete as well as discussing his move to Loughborough University, the place that not only furthered his career but where his met his wife, Charlotte Wickham. David’s story of the boy from Ballinteer who made

Aug 2018

52 min 14 sec

Helen Shaw’s guest this episode is Cork born composer Linda Buckley who writes contemporary music drawing inspiration from the world around her, from the soundscape of her childhood growing up on a diary farm overlooking the Old Head of Kinsale to other places close to her heart including Iceland. Buckley’s work has been performed by Crash Ensemble, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the University of York Javanese Gamelan to name a few, and its mix of vocal, acoustic and electronic sounds is sometimes termed spacial music. Buckley draws references from medieval music and sees her works, not just as compositions but as live engagements defined by space and audiences. The podcast draws on Buckley’s work including Torann, Eriu, Chiyo, Telephones and Gongs, Revelavit, Numarimur, Do you remember the planets?, Fall Approaches, Jump and Ó Íochtar Mara. You can find out more on her website Helen Shaw and Linda Buckley later went on to collaborate and work together on an ambitious radio and podcast storytelling project around the weave of stories, history, myth and music connecting Ireland and Iceland called Mother's Blood, Sister Songs or 'how the genetics of Iceland reveals its Irish motherhood in story and song'. 

Aug 2018

43 min 29 sec

Helen Shaw meets actor and writer Mark O’Halloran the creative force behind the darkly comic films Adam and Paul and Garage. Mark talks about growing up in a big family in Ennis and his journey to become a writer and performer. He describes how limiting Ireland was as a young gay man and how a year spent in Amsterdam liberated him. He found a creative soul-mate in director Lenny Abrahamson and the two made the acclaimed independent film Adam and Paul in 2004. Mark shares life, love and loss in an open and revealing conversation stretches from his recent time filming in Havana for his film ‘Viva’ to his poignant experiences in Iran.

Aug 2018

53 min 43 sec

Sean nós singer and songwriter Iarla Ó’Lionáird is Helen Shaw’s guest in this edition of The Family of Things. Iarla is the voice of the acclaimed Irish ensemble The Gloaming whose album by the same name has received multiple award nominations. Iarla grew up in Cúil Aodha in Co Cork in an Irish speaking community in what he calls ‘ a hive of song’ and along with his ten brothers sang, as a child, in Seán Ó Riada’s choir. He talks about his relationship with his voice, his language and his creative journey from singing the cows back home to releasing his work through Peter Gabriel’s label Real World Records. Today he performs across the world not just with The Gloaming but also with operatic work by Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy.

Aug 2018

51 min 33 sec

Helen Shaw’s guest is Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, a development network, and lead organisation on the European Year of Development in Ireland. Hans talks about being shaped by his Dutch presbyterian roots, his family’s experience of World War 2 and his childhood growing up in Cameroon. He speaks five languages but says he now feels Irish and dreams in English. 2015 is an action year for world development with two landmark UN events aiming to secure a new set of development goals and a global agreement on the environment and climate change.

Aug 2018

40 min 35 sec

In Episode 3 of our podcast series The Family of Things presenter Helen Shaw talks to Trinity based physicist Dr. Shane Bergin. Shane says people often think science is ugly but necessary, while he thinks it is beautiful and essential. Shane talks of his passion to communicate science to the world and to inspire the next generation of scientists through his teaching work at TCD. Shane is behind the award winning project ‘Dart of Physics’ and in this interview he describes nano-science and its future. As a scientist, researcher and teacher Shane is often in the public ear and eye through his work but he shares his love of music, his delight in cooking and baking (every weekend!) and talks about the people he admires including Irish President Michael D. Higgins and Nobel poet Seamas Heaney. While Shane unpacks the world of science and education he also brought his favourite instrument along – the ukulele!

Aug 2018

49 min 13 sec

In the second episode of the series, Helen Shaw speaks to Irish writer Denise Deegan, author of the hugely popular Butterfly Novels for teenagers. More recently Denise has also adopted the pen name ‘Aimee Alexander’ under which she has started to self publish her adult fiction novels through Amazon. Helen talks to Denise about her self publishing and where the idea for Aimee Alexander came from as well as taking it right back to the beginning to ask Denise when she started writing. Denise, who has previously worked as a nurse, a checkout girl and a china restorer among other things, shares readings from her books, her approach to writing her novels and how her life experiences have been reflected in her stories and visa versa.

Aug 2018

40 min 18 sec

In this first episode of ‘The Family of Things’ series presenter Helen Shaw talks to Irish poet Nessa O’Mahony about her life, poetry, what inspires her. Having spent 15 years in journalism and public relations, Nessa O’Mahony was one of the first writers in Ireland to complete a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing in 2007. She is a published writer having released poetry collections and verse novels such as ‘Bar Talk’ (1999), Trapping a Ghost (2005), In Sight of Home (2009) and more recently ‘Her Father’s Daughter’ (2014) In this episode, Nessa tells us how she first began writing and the inspiration and stories behind her poems as well as giving us an insight into her personal life by sharing tales from her childhood memories with her father to what her family really think of her writing.

Aug 2018

44 min 42 sec