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Leah Farrell
uncle don

Don Conroy launches his new Youtube channel: 'People want their kids to experience what they did when they were young'

Conroy plans to provide free drawing tutorials over the coming weeks. It came about, he says, by popular demand.

DON CONROY HAS had a busy week. 

As the country settles in to settling down for the foreseeable, the beloved artist best-known for his long-time stint on RTE’s The Den has just launched a YouTube channel. 

It’s hardly surprising that when the veteran presenter broke the news he sent Irish Twitter into a spin as people in their 20s, 30s and 40s cheered amid the uncertainty of a global pandemic. 

“It’s very encouraging,” says Conroy, speaking to from his home in Dublin. 

The plan for a YouTube channel where Conroy will provide free drawing tutorials over the coming weeks came about by popular demand, he says. 

“Over the years, a lot of people were saying that they took great pleasure from watching the Den which is always nice. And now they have children of their own and they want them to experience what they did when they were young,” says Conroy, who’s also an environmental activist and children’s author. 

In his first YouTube tutorial, the silken-voiced Conroy takes us through how to draw a clown and, over the coming weeks, he plans to roll out classes for both children and adults as the country tries to stem the spread of the coronavirus. 

Don Conroy / YouTube

“I think people are coping very well,” says Conroy, when asked how the country is holding up. “I think you know, that when the Irish are put up against it, I think they get very philosophical and put the best side up.”

Right now, says Conroy, people are being forced into a more reflective mode. What better time, therefore, to break out our pencils and calmly create? 

“To look within, sometimes it’s quite challenging for people and now we’re being asked to drink from a deeper well,” he says. 

“It’s about deciding what is our value in life? What’s our real value? And then we suddenly realise, you know, if we develop this kind of reflectiveness we realise how important people are placed and to step back from the madness,” says Conroy. 

For years, ‘Uncle Don’ graced our screens on The Den where each week he’d teach the nation’s children to draw various animals. 

His own favourite is still the Barn Owl, a creature that “has always held this great mystery to mankind,” he says. 

“Mankind is kind of pretty hopeless in the dark, right? And here’s this creature that can see in the dark,” says Conroy, adding that the owl was held in high esteem in both Roman and Aboriginal cultures. 

As parents across the country juggle both work and family from home, Conroy’s YouTube channel will come as a welcome respite with a much-needed dose of nostalgia. 

He plans to start with one drawing tutorial each week but will gradually include workshops for adults as well as poetry classes. 

“Anything that, I suppose, will elevate and encourage people to use their imagination and their creativity,” he says. 

In 2013, Don Conroy surprised our colleagues by posting in a hand painted barn owl, complete with a lovely thank you message inside.

Thanks again, Uncle Don. 


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