This much I know: Eoghan McDermott


This much I know: Eoghan McDermott

I didn’t plan to get into broadcasting, I wanted to be a guard or a teacher.

I did a degree in Politics and Irish at UCD and started taking dance classes at the same time. When I finished, I moved to New York to enroll in the world-famous Broadway Dance Centre with the aim of becoming a commercial music video choreographer.

My parents both worked in education, so showbiz wasn’t exactly in the blood. My father worked for the Department [ of Education] and my mother was an Irish teacher. I’m the middle child, the only boy.

When I moved back to Ireland, my dancing skills landed me the lead role of DJ Pete in TG4’s Seacht. I’m not sure if being on television came naturally to me. That’s the beauty of starting on a channel that doesn’t have a huge audience: you can make a lot of mistakes that go under the radar.

That led to me going to London to present my own daily radio show on Xfm. More recently I’ve been working on The Voice on RTÉ.

When it comes to work-life balance, I’m afraid I’m completely at the mercy of my work calendar. My default is to go for the work gigs. The amount of holidays and plans I’ve had to change at the last minute ... Luckily, there are very jobs few that I have not enjoyed so far.

I still dance a fair bit. I used to play ice hockey for Ireland. I was exceptionally fit for a couple of years. I’m covering for Louise Duffy on 2FM at the moment — she’s on the mend — so that means I’m going to bed late and getting up late.

It throws off your clock and means my diet is not as good as I’d like it to be right now although I still try to swim three times a week and get in some yoga and a steam.

I don’t have an end goal. I’d quite like to write a novel one day.

I’ve a passion for documentary films — that’s a little hobby. I’ve written a couple of treatments.

Worrying about whether or not there is a life after death is a gross insult to simply being alive now.

My biggest fault is possibly getting a little bit overly self-involved to the extent that I neglect my friends a bit.

The trait I most admire in others is generosity of spirit. I’ve no time for rudeness.

If I could be someone else for a day I’d be Russell Brand, he’s a bit of a court jester. Or maybe Hillary Clinton because I’m fascinated by powerful women. I wonder if she hates Bill underneath it all.

I think the school syllabus should include a whole class on lifeskills: how to rewire a plug, how to tell a cold caller to piss off. Useful things like that.

My biggest fear is the usual stuff, that my parents and family keep safe and well. I always think of the line from Baz Lurman’s Sunscreen, giving advice to school-leavers:

“The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind. The kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.”

The best advice I ever got was from my first boss at TG4, Andy Ruane, who was like a mentor to me. I have never met anyone who so brazenly doesn’t play by the rules. He gets what he wants by being tenacious. He was my producer on Pop4 and we went to New York to film for Paddy’s Day one year.

We were trying to get an interview with Michael Bloomberg on 5th Avenue, along with hundreds of other media, but he was surrounded by 15 armed security who kept him away.

Andy just kept shouting at him, screaming ‘Irish TV, over here’ and eventually he came over and we got our interview. The lesson is — don’t take no for an answer.

I’ve thought about doing stand-up but its so different to presenting. As a presenter, it’s nice to get the occasional laugh now and then but I don’t know how I’d handle having to be funny all the time. You have no protection.

I’m seeing a girl at the moment. Jo Archbald. She is a model and a photographer. I’ve had a pretty charmed existence although like everyone, I’ve had ups and downs.

Pieta House asked me to launch a campaign for them simply because I was a face from the telly.

I knew how amazing their suicide and self-harm support services were but thought it would be disingenuous not to be honest and tell them I’d had a brush with self harm myself, years before, over parting ways with a long term girl-friend. I did a video about it and put it up online and it got a bit of attention.

So far, life has taught me to be nice. Nice people do not necessarily finish last.

n Catch Eoghan McDermott on RTÉ 2fm, Sunday – Thursday, 8 – 10pm and co-hosting The Voice on RTE 1.

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