BY her own admission, Yvonne Tiernan is a “bit of a chatterbox”.
And there’s nothing more she loves than talking to women. With her background in the entertainment business, it’s seems only natural that she’d end up on RTÉ’s The Couch interviewing high-profile women about their lives — the high and low points.
She believes it’s the depth of shared experiences that brings women together, finding an easy intimacy.
“Our bodies are basically all the same and our relationships with men are ultimately all the same,” says the 44-year-old. “I know there are differences but there’s a communal understanding of what we are all going through. I think it’s something instinctive and we look to each other for support and we are inclined to see ourselves in each other.”
It was her own inner critic she had to deal with when working in front of the camera. “When you’re being filmed you suddenly become super conscious of all the things that maybe you’re a little bit conscious of — your tummy when you sit down, your thighs. But the great thing was I did try to be healthy and in shape for the show and once I sat down on the couch to do the interviews I forgot about all of that.”
In the past, she ran the Irish office of The Chieftains and sang with the group, performing in Carnegie Hall and The Royal Albert Hall along the way. She also managed her husband, comedian Tommy Tiernan.
“When The Couch idea started to happen it was an organic thing for me to step away and concentrate on my own thing again. So now I do my work and he does his and we have great chats about it.”
Living in Barna, Co Galway, her three children aged eight, seven and three, show little interest in their mum’s career on screen. “Kids have a great way of grounding you. It’s not really their business, they get on with what they are interested in.”
A six-part series of The Couch hosted by Yvonne Tiernan is available to watch on the RTÉ player. A one-off special edition of The Couch aired last night.
What shape are you in?
Post-Christmas pudding shape.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
I love chia organic peanut butter by ProFusion on apple slices as a healthy snack. I also eat a lot of organic salmon baked in the oven in tin-foil parcels with just a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper.
What are your guiltiest pleasures?
Keogh’s salt and vinegar crisps and chips from Salthill Fish and Chips shop with lots of salt and vinegar. Basically, any form of potato with salt and vinegar.
What would keep you awake at night?
Late-night recorded TV is a big one but mainly it’s my kids coming in and out of the bedroom — like it’s the Applegreen service station — all night.
How do you relax?
I keep my horse George in the very lovely Moycullen Riding Centre, which is just a seven-minute drive from my door. I love to spend time up there in the fresh air with this enormous gentle animal that I love.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Just me, Elvis, and Oprah that’d be grand.
What are your favourite smells?
Jo Loves Pomelo perfume, George’s stable, my kids’ hair.
What would you like to change about your appearance?
I always want to be in better shape. Last year I worked with trainer Maeliosa Brennan who got me into shape for the Streets Of Galway 8K in August. It was the first time I had ever run. I then seemed to feel the need to hibernate for the autumn but we are already back on the road for this year’s race where I hope to beat my own time.
When is the last time you cried?
I had a little moment when I saw my TV show The Couch appear on the Sky planner for its first broadcast on RTÉ 1.
What traits do you least like in others?
Cruelty of any kind, particularly to children and animals. I’m also not crazy about noisy eaters, bone cracking and loudness.
What traits do you least like about yourself?
My memory is shocking. I really can’t remember so much of what I have experienced in my life. Someone once told me that my going undiagnosed as a coeliac for 40 years affected my memory but I don’t know if that’s true at all.
Do you pray?
I used to but now I talk to my Dad, which feels the same.
What would cheer up your day?
A kiss from my husband or my kids.
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