This much I know: Yvonne Tiernan

I’ve always been a big talker and an over-sharer. It would be ironic if that love of talking were to become the basis for a new career, with my online interview show ‘The Couch’.
This much I know: Yvonne Tiernan

As a child, my red hair made me instantly unpopular. Yet I always sang and sought the limelight, wanting to answer the teachers’ questions, wanting the lead role in musicals and plays. I think it stemmed from a mix of being quite insecure and really wanting to connect with other people. My best friend was my dog and I spent ages at the local stables.

I remember feeling a bit lonely, although I have two sisters and had a big gang of friends. I still frequently think other people are better than me. I have no idea why.

I grew up in Rathfarnham in Dublin with a very strong work ethic. My father was a barman and my mother was a housewife who occasionally did silver service waitressing.

I’m in my forties and live in Galway with my husband [comedian Tommy Tiernan] and our three children Isobel, eight, Louis, seven and Theo, three. The move has educated me about our country. I even went back to a beginners Irish class because my kids were becoming so much better than me at the language.

I always wanted to work in the music industry and I did so from the age of 17. I went on tour with The Commitments. I sang with Abbaesque. I went on the road with The Chieftans, but I never thought I was a good enough singer to focus on that alone, and I always had stage fright, being afraid I’d forget the lyrics - so I also became a pretty good manager.

For a long time I managed other people who are performers.

Is there an after life, a heaven or hell, or such a thing as fate? I no longer know. Everything changed for me when my father had a stroke. He was only 68, just retired after years of hard work, and was left unable to talk, in a nursing home. When he passed away, some of my innocence was shattered. Even my faith was changed. I’m still trying to figure it out.

One thing I do know for certain is that I couldn’t love the man I married any more than I do and I am a much better person for being married to him. My husband Tommy is one of the most generous people I know. Not just in a material way, but with his time and his loyalty.

One of the positive effects of my father’s death is that I have started singing again, with The Black Berries, and I no longer have stage fright. We do kind of ‘serial killer country music’ - you know, like the theme to shows like ‘True Detective’.

I like the fact that Tommy and I have always had unconventional jobs. It means our children are growing up in a house where they can see that it is possible to make a living from doing something you are passionate about.

The question of whether or not to have cosmetic surgery is not a huge concern of mine. I’d be too afraid to touch my face. However, being magically shrunk to a size 10 in the morning... that’s something I might consider.

My idea of misery is to work in a place where people are being badly treated.

The trait I most admire in others is kindness. It is so precious.

I’m very capable and determined.

Being very determined is also one of my biggest faults. But it is how I made ‘The Couch’ happen. I didn’t take no for an answer. I’m a long-time fan of interview shows, and wanted to make an online one with a difference, one that provides a forum for women to talk about the challenges they face on a daily basis.

I still feel like a rookie. But I am improving with experience and it was a privilege to interview women I admire, like actor and writer Sharon Horgan, businesswoman and perfumier Jo Malone, and singer/songwriter Eddi Reader about everything from love and beauty to relationships and wisdom.

Maybe I do still believe in a bit of magic after all. Now that I think about it, how could I not?

‘The Couch’ is available on RTÉ Player on www.rte.ie/player

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