This much I know: Eibhlín Ní Chonghaile, radio presenter

Eibhlín Ní Chonghaile’s torn between choosing the washing machines and the computer as the most useful invention.


My main skill is listening. I believe it’s one of the most important things I do all day.

I always loved languages and travel. I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher — both my parents were in that profession — so I settled on journalism. 

However, years later I realised it’s not from the wind you get your tendencies. 

My uncle, Tomás, was a journalist and became the ceannaire of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta. 

Another uncle, Liam Mac Con Iomaire, was a newscaster for Nuacht RTÉ; another uncle, Maidhc P. Ó Conaola, worked for the RTÉ current affairs show, Cúrsaí, and my aunt, Máirín Commins, had a cookery show, Cuisine le Máirín, on RTÉ years ago. 

And my mum, God rest her soul, was the first person to read the news, from a caravan, in Rosmuc, on the Irish language pirate station, which preceded Raidió na Gaeltachta in the late 1960s, Saor Raidió Chonamara. 

So when you take all of that into consideration... is it any wonder I am where I am today?

I think I was an outgoing child. I was both girly and a tomboy. I certainly fought my corner a lot, with my three brothers. 

And I remember being very happy and feeling very lucky. I loved my Mamó Kate (Granny) a huge amount and spent a lot of time with her, next door.

I’m trying to get a good work-life balance. We have a two-year-old and a one-year-old, so I decided to avail of parental leave on Fridays, to make life a little more family-friendly. 

I now work Monday to Thursday, and without our Friday together I don’t think things would work for our little unit.

I don’t try to be disciplined, but I think there is a natural inclination that way in me. I enjoy being undisciplined.

Someone once told me ‘you make your own luck’. And it was the first time that I realised it is you, not other people, not the cosmos, that makes your own life work. Take the responsibility and go with it.

I admire people who are genuine. People who know who they are and, whether that is attractive to other people or not, they are themselves.

My main fault is impatience, but my partner might say stubbornness. I quite like my stubbornness.

This much I know: Eibhlín Ní Chonghaile, radio presenter

My idea of happiness is a nice relaxing day outdoors, with Alan and the kids. Followed by their bedtime — and a bottle of wine and a nice meal.

When I dream of reincarnation, I dream of being an opera singer. So I would probably like to come back as Maria Callas, or some other wonderful, glamorous diva.

If money was not an issue, I would travel and explore the world, and learn and read and laugh and cry and dance.

If I could change one thing in our system, I would love if people didn’t always have to fight to get answers and fair play. 

I wish our government and state bodies would work for the greater good, instead of always covering their own backs. 

I wish people and state bodies would take responsibility when things go wrong, and stop wasting our hard-earned money on covering their tracks.

I’m torn between choosing the washing machines and the computer as the most useful invention. I think the washing machine wins!

My biggest challenge, in life so far, has been losing my mother, suddenly four years ago, and dealing with the grief that ensued.

The one thing that I didn’t learn in school, that I wish I had, is budgeting. I just went crazy with credit cards, when I started working, and subsequently spent years paying things back. 

I wish somebody had explained the economics of household budgets to me: ie, if it’s not coming in, it shouldn’t go out.

I’m a lark. I’ve been doing morning radio shows for so long now that the brain has been programmed to wake up ready-to-go.

I believe we don’t just end when we die. I’m not sure how we continue, but I think our energy lives on. 

I believe when I ask for something from my mum that it happens for me. I believe those who have gone guide us. This may be wishful thinking, but I feel it very strongly.

So far, life has taught me that things don’t happen like you think they will and that’s not always a bad thing.

Eibhlín Ní Chonghaile presents Iris Aniar, on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Monday to Friday, 9.15am, and also presents Cleas Act, on TG4, on Sundays, at 8pm.


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