'I've never felt like a Dub': Nuala Carey on The Today Show, dealing with grief, and her Cork roots 

This Much I Know — 'Before I even knew it, I was on the telly and that was it. Sometimes it's just good to go with the moment'
'I've never felt like a Dub': Nuala Carey on The Today Show, dealing with grief, and her Cork roots 

Nuala Carey for TMIK

I'm the middle of three girls and I grew up in Monkstown in Dublin. Mom is from Mayo and Dad was from just outside Mallow in Cork, so all of our summers were divided between the two. It's funny because I'm not a Dublin supporter. I really don't feel like I'm a Dub and I never have. I've always had a leaning toward the countryside. My dad passed away in 2018 but his two brothers are still farming in Cork. Because of Covid, we haven't been down but I ring them every weekend. As soon as we're all vaccinated we'll be down to see them.

The greatest challenge I ever faced was when dad got diagnosed with cancer. It was very frightening for everybody. We really did think at the start that he would come out the other side. As time went on, we realised that that wasn't to be. That's the biggest challenge. Everybody coming to terms with the inevitable and then when it does happen, keeping going knowing that the family can never be the same again.

We always mark the occasions and talk about him all the time but it was hard, it really was. But that's life unfortunately and cancer affects so many families. Life can throw us surprises. Look at Covid. Who saw that coming? Bad things can happen but wonderful things can happen as well. It’s good to start every day as a new day.

Working in the media was always on the cards for me. When we were in school I got my work experience in RTÉ and would always say to my career-guidance teacher that I'd love a job in RTÉ. I started there in 1999 and I worked in AA Roadwatch before that on the radio.

If I took a different fork in the road I think I'd be in the civil service. I actually got a job in Revenue when I left UCD. My dad was a civil servant and it's a great job but I just said to myself that I'd take the chance on AA Roadwatch and see what would happen. I just had the slight inclination that there was something in me that was a bit more attracted to the media. I took the chance and the chance paid off.

I'm very organised and I'm a disciplined person, which people don't realise are huge skills for television. You have to keep time, there are deadlines, it's not the kind of job where you can be late. In a way, I do think the job I'm in matches what I have to offer. I have a great memory as well. We don't use any auto-cues in weather, so it’s almost photographic by now.

Back in 2007, I did Charity You're A Star. I would never stand up and sing in public but I really got into the swing of it. It was great fun. The charity I picked was the Alzheimer's Society. My godmother Margaret had passed away from Alzheimer's and I always said if I could a big fundraiser I'd do it in honour of her. We raised €41,000 and of all the series’ they ever did I was the woman who got the furthest. I'm very proud of it. By coincidence, they used to show my parents in the audience every night and it's the only footage we have of my dad now as well, which is a lovely thing.

People might remember what I did for a living but the most important thing I'd want people to remember about me was that I was a genuine person who thought of other people. I think I have good empathy and I try to see things from other people's perspectives. I think in life what goes around comes around so we should all try and do our best. I'm sure for people who win the lottery if I pull out the six numbers they remember me for that though. Hopefully, they'll remember me for good weather too. I don't want to be remembered for bad weather.

The person I turn to most is my mum. She's good for advice and she's very level-headed. She always told me to take everything one day at a time. Sometimes people worry about stuff that's really far away. We've a lot to be thankful for in the present moment.

The greatest advice I have is to take opportunities when they come up. Just try it. The very first time I presented The Today Show, I got the phone call at 8:30 that morning. Within two hours I was on a train to Cork and it was brilliant. Before I even knew it, I was on the telly and that was it. Sometimes it's just good to go with the moment.

I'm excited to host again next week. I've hosted before with Dáithí but I haven't seen him in person since Covid hit and any time I've presented it before I've had a ball. I'll be getting out of Dublin as well so there's a lot of adventure wrapped up in it.

  • Watch Nuala Carey guest present The Today Show with Dáithí Ó Sé this Monday and Tuesday, May 17 and 18, on RTÉ One.

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