I never really had a burning ambition to do anything other than broadcasting.
But there’s a part of me that would still love to become a forest ranger someday.
I have walked the length and breadth of County Cork and have many treasured places. A few in Beara and around Inchigeelagh connect me with the spirit of my Mom and Dad. And, when I need a quick gulp of mother nature I find myself heading for the hills, literally. The Nagle Mountains to the north of the city provide a wonderful airy wilderness within minutes of home.
I love the Irish language and still speak it on ‘Glor Tire’ on TG4. If you have the Gaelic gene then the language is like the key into your own psyche. In terms of place names, a basic grasp of 20 key Irish words will crack the code.
My parents had us all learn piano, violin, and guitar so we always had music around the house. In fact my brother Don is a fine uileann piper and my Dad played fiddle and accordion. But I guess Radio Luxembourg was my real point of entry. From Rory Gallagher I discovered the blues, then gospel and jazz, world music, folk, and on it goes. I did music to Leaving Cert and then worked quite a bit with the RTÉ orchestras which deepened my understanding and love of classical and operatic music.
After school, I went to UCC to study English, Philosophy, Italian and Logic. I can hear my four daughters laughing at that — ‘Dad, doing logic?’
My first real job was as a library assistant in Ballyphehane, following a few summer jobs in the Pepsi factory in Little Island and cleaning the floors in Penneys in Patrick St.
My big crossroads came in 1987 when, after years of frustration I applied, along with thousands of other hopefuls, for a job in RTÉ. After months of demo-tapes, interviews, auditions and a six-week assessment course it was all whittled down to just me. So began the round of four-week contracts and the move to Dublin at a time when money was scarce all around. But it opened the doors of a remarkable university called ‘RTÉ’ and for that I still feel blessed.
My earliest memory is waking up in hospital at the age of four, having caused a black-out on the northside of Cork when I placed a pencil in a kettle socket. Don’t try this at home folks!
I spend any free time listening to music, cooking, going to the pub, walking in the wilderness and following my beloved Cork City FC. City fans are a remarkable band of brothers and sisters and Turners Cross is a great place to spend a Friday night. Try it, you’ll like it; there’s room for a few more down the back there.
The best advice I ever got was ‘To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing’.
That was from former Cork City FC manager Pat Dolan.
I think it’s very important to think about death. Very dangerous to worry about it. I believe that death is not the opposite to life. I believe that death is the opposite to birth, that’s all. So, think about that if you will, but don’t worry about it.
My greatest pleasure is being as melodramatic as a grieving Sicilian in Turners Cross on a Friday night and then coming to peace walking in nature the following morning.
I play a complete rainbow of sounds on my radio show: jazz; hip-hop; blues; bluegrass; classic rock. Everything. The most requested artists at the moment include The Lost Brothers, Fleet Foxes, Gallagher and, of course, Tom Waits’ “Martha” never goes away.
If I didn’t have this job, I’d be walking around Cork looking for someone — ANYONE — that would listen to me.
John Creedon presents an eclectic mix of music every weeknight between 8.30pm and 9.50pm on RTÉ Radio 1.
Tune in on 88-90fm, catch up on Radio 1 Extra on DAB or listen online via the RTÉ Radio Player and on mobile devices.