Irish celebs divulge their desert island must haves

Desert Island Discs is marking 75 years, so Jonathan deBurca Butler asked Irish celebrities what their choices would be on the iconic show.

Seán Rocks — presenter, Arena, RTÉ 1

Music: Bohemian Rhapsody — Queen

It really has everything. That piano and voice. Brian May for the rock out guitar solo.

Ain’t no Grave — Johnny Cash

It was written back in the twenties by someone who thought he was going to die. He is defiantly saying “ain’t no grave gonna bring me down”. But this Johnny Cash version, was released posthumously.

He’s singing to you from the grave and it really makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. I’d bring it to the island as a show of my own defiance. You know ‘I’ll manage here’.

Stabat mater — Jacopo da Todi

Dorothy Cross put on a performance of this in an old slate quarry on Valentia Island, a type of Marian Grotto. I remember that balmy night watching these people singing and playing on these extraordinarily delicate instruments and this amazing music floating out across the open air. So if I needed a little bit of spiritual sustenance, that’s probably what I’d take.

Book: Nineteen-Eighty-Four — George Orwell

There’s an appendix in the book, The Principles of Newspeak. Everything now around this ‘fake news’ is in there but this was back in 1949. Everything we think is new and has us panicking up to our eyeballs, don’t worry, it all happened before.

Luxury item: Shoes

I have this pair of old battered shoes that are almost dead. But they’re really comfortable. And when all is wrong with the world and I put them on, things are better.

Laura Woods — presenter TV3

Music: In my Life— The Beatles

My dad is a huge fan and I remember listening to them all the time as a child. It also reminds me of my first taste of freedom in Irish college. I played this on a loop.

I think now it’s more poignant because even though it’s about his (John Lennon’s) mother, it’s universal. You know, people you lose along the way.

Never forget — Take That

They were the band of my youth. I went to see them on my 17th birthday with a group of friends and I went back with the same gang of friends aged 28.

Never Forget was played in nightclubs at the end of the night and we’d all be together and high on life. It still brings a smile to my face.

Intergalactic — Beastie Boys

I have two little boys who, thanks to their dad, are little rockers. At a playgroup a few years ago, the group leader asked the children what song they wanted to hear. My little fella put his hand up and asked did they know any Beastie Boys. I was horrified but delighted at the same time. So Intergalactic, by the Beastie Boys, to remind me of the boys.

Book: I am Pilgrim — Terry Hayes

I read it two years ago on holidays. It’s phenomenal and relevant to our times. Terry Hayes is a beautiful writer.

Luxury item: Atlas

I’d be useless on a desert island. Even though I love the first few hours of silence when I get it, I’d soon be bored and lonely. So an atlas to get me off the island.

Tom Dunne - Presenter, Newstalk & singer

Music: Something Happens Something - The Beatles

It’s the best thing they ever did and it’s incredible that it’s not Paul or John. George captures a beautiful lyric and a kind of longing that’s just gorgeous. Anytime I hear it, in a shop or wherever, I’ll always stop and pause for thought.

God Only Knows - The Beach Boys

I can’t stop wondering why it’s so good. It has a resonance and a purity about it that’s like a psalm.

I only know one piano player in Ireland who can play it. He always delights in showing me how Brian Wilson subverts the melody slightly, in a way no normal piano player would, and that’s what makes the vocal so brilliant. Just gorgeous.

Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks

That opening line and the story of Terry and Julie and the image of the sunset on the bridge. It’s the sense of impermanence and your dreams and having your love by your side as the sun sets on that bridge. It’s a reminder of the other generations that have stood on that bridge as part of their lives and thought similar thoughts and I just think Ray Davies nailed it.

Book: Women (Charles Bukowski)

I read it 20 years ago. He is very aware of the destruction and desperation of the women he describes in the book but there was a humanity I think at the heart of it.

Luxury item: Tooth brush

Very simple. Life on the island without teeth would be very difficult, especially with coconuts.

Tracy Clifford — presenter, 2FM

Music: Silly Little Love Songs — Paul McCartney

I remember hearing this on the radio and being stopped in my tracks. It was one of those ones that you discover on your own.

I found out later that John told Paul, when they were fighting, to go off and write his silly little love songs and that’s exactly what he did. Still when I hear that drum beat it makes me happy.

Two Months Off — Underworld

I am a raver and will be until the day I die. The tune is just gorgeous. There’s some great orchestral stuff in there and that deadly beat.

So if I brought it to a desert island it would remind me of all the great nights out with friends. We bonded over this tune.

Fitzcarraldo — The Frames

I was at a talk with Glen Hansard once and he said the song came from some leftfield German movie [of the same name] but for me it reminds me of my independent spirit, because I used to go to Frames gigs on my own and didn’t really care that nobody else I knew was really into it. Love it.

Book: Chronicle of the 21st Century

I got it as a surprise from Santa Claus. I was so good at general knowledge in school because of this book. I used to just love opening that book on a page and just going for it.

And it’s got a little bit of everything. It’s like the TV show Reeling in the Years in a book.

Luxury item: My bed

That bed is my haven.

Stefanie Preissner — writer & comedian

Music: Celine Dion — Call the Man

I chose this because no one should ever have to live without Celine Dion and this song hasn’t been destroyed by overplaying.

It was the first song I loved that I discovered on my own.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids — Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan

I love the Eurovision. I remember thinking when I was a kid that Ireland winning the Eurovision was just what happened.

I prefer this to Johnny Logan’s hits. I like the nostalgia in it.

So I’d bring it in case I missed Ireland and the glory days.

Sia — Chandelier

I’d have to take this one just to motivate me to build a hut and source food on this island.

Book: Harry Potter, The Deathly Hallows — JK Rowling

Because I’m on an island I’m going to want a book that I can read over and over again.

So I’d probably bring the longest of the Harry Potters, The Deathly Hallows.

It’s also so heavy it might be a good weapon against any predators and if I needed to reach a mango I could use it as a step up.

Luxury item: Hairdryer

I got a Dyson hairdryer for Christmas and it’s fast becoming an appendage.

I use it to heat my bed before I get into it at night time, it makes a great fake microphone and it makes my hair feel amazing.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Nude dating show Naked Attraction will see singletons revealing a lot about themselves

Sean O’Hagan returns to 'cosmopolitan' Cork

Hand of Fate: Have faith in the hand you are dealt

Walking On Cars walking on water at the Marquee


Lifestyle

Hand of Fate: Have faith in the hand you are dealt

Sean O’Hagan returns to 'cosmopolitan' Cork

Nude dating show Naked Attraction will see singletons revealing a lot about themselves

'Everybody cheats on everybody': Technology and its impact on human behaviour

More From The Irish Examiner