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Underappreciated albums and harrowing histories: 4 Irish podcasts to subscribe to this summer

A guide to some of the great podcasts being produced in Ireland covering a range of fascinating topics.

WHETHER YOU’RE COOKING in the kitchen or going for a stroll in the park, you’re never alone when you’re listening to a great podcast. 

Podcasts are in no way a new phenomenon, however, their popularity – both in terms of people getting behind the mic and listeners expanding their library – considerably grew throughout the pandemic. In Ireland, there are numerous podcasts focusing on a myriad of topics from current affairs, pop culture and, of course, the ever-popular true crime. 

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With so many great Irish-made podcasts available, it can be overwhelming to know which ones are worth your time. We’ve compiled some of the best Irish podcasts, each with a terrific back catalogue of episodes, to sink your teeth and ears into. 

Who knows, once you’ve made it through some of these shows, you may even feel inspired to start your own!

 

1. Flop Culture

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What: Hosted by broadcaster and journalist Fionnuala Jay, Flop Culture explores some of the biggest pop culture failures in music, film, tv and beyond. There’s something for everyone given the breadth of topics covered across Flop Culture’s excellent 2 seasons. Each episode, Fionnuala speaks with a new guest about their chosen flop, detailing its context and cultural impact and how the item is perceived today. From Taylor Swift’s 2019 album Lover to the sudden disappearance of Fade Street from our television screens, and the fascinating partnership of a chocolate bar and a celebrity wedding, you’ll easily spend hours listening to Flop Culture due to its abundance of humour and fascinating insights.

2. To Here Knows When 

Screen Shot 2023-06-20 at 11.44.48 Paul McDermott Instagram Paul McDermott Instagram

What: Globally, Ireland is known for arena-filling artists and acts such as U2, Hozier and Fontaines D.C.. Alongside these mainstream successes, there are countless underrated albums produced across the country being celebrated on To Here Knows When, a brilliant podcast presented by broadcaster and documentary producer Paul McDermott. In this ongoing series, McDermott takes an Irish album (previous picks include The Clock Comes Down The Stairs by Microdisney and The Waterboys’ Room To Roam) and explores the making of the work with someone directly involved in the release. Not only does McDermott conscientiously tell the story of the music, but the listener is given a vivid picture of the social backdrop, as well. 

 3. Redacted Lives

IMG_6001 (1) Redacted Lives Twitter Redacted Lives Twitter

What: A poignant 6-part series, produced by The Journal, Redacted Lives shares the stories of several women who experienced Ireland’s mother and baby homes first hand. Orla Ryan investigates the ways the women and children suffered emotional and physical abuse in these institutions and the lack of support they received from the State. Separate to Redacted Lives, which came out at the end of 2022, Sinead O’Shea’s emotive documentary Pray For Our Sinners, looked at the history of corporal violence in Ireland’s schools as well as the Mother and Baby Homes in the country. Whilst the subject matter and the experiences are extremely challenging and upsetting, Redacted Lives is essential listening.

4. The Troubles Podcast 

Screen Shot 2023-06-20 at 12.58.57 The Troubles Podcast Instagram The Troubles Podcast Instagram

What: There are several informative Irish history-based podcasts available with episodes specialising in particular topics and ages in our country’s storied heritage. The Troubles, however, is an extraordinary series which goes through the complex history of one of the most violent periods in Irish history. Host Oisin Feeney explains, in detail, the different events, organisations and individuals involved across the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Amongst some of the topics covered include a guide to The Good Friday Agreement, a profile on Dolores Price and the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

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