Power to the Irish podcast

7 Oct 2019

Image: © bnenin/Stock.adobe.com

Podcasting represents an exciting new area in the Irish media landscape, writes Elaine Burke.

Starting a podcast is the new starting a blog. And anyone reading that as dismissive to podcasters as trendy bandwagoners obviously hasn’t copped the wellspring of writing talent that came from the early days of blogging.

An ‘anyone can have a go’ low barrier to entry will always attract a broad swathe of people. But anyone who has even dipped their toe in blogging will know that only the diligent, hardworking and talented will survive and thrive. Sure you can start a blog or a podcast – or the next big thing – with a good idea and relative ease, but it takes effort and grit to keep that car running long term.

In between blogging and podcasting’s late arrival to the mainstream, we had the influencer scene in the ‘new media’ spotlight. All the YouTubers and Instagrammers seen to be coasting by as one-dimensional internet personalities are, more often than not, hard at work developing that persona, communicating it effectively and ensuring a constant stream of content delivery. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have even heard about them to comment on them.

Early zine-makers, self-taught coders, dedicated bloggers, social media stars and pioneering podcasters have all contributed to a new media landscape. Sure, they can start out a bit rough around the edges, but what idea arrives produced to the highest level on the first try?

It’s a growth exercise: learning the ropes and honing the craft through the sheer passion of doing the thing. And many great Irish podcasters have cut their teeth, now ready to take a bite out of an expanding listenership.

Just look at Liam Geraghty, who always wanted to tell great audio stories in unique ways. Geraghty worked his way up with a career in radio, but the passion for podcasting was always there and now he’s an international award-winner in the field.

Along with fellow seasoned audio storytellers Colette Kinsella and Julien Clancy, Geraghty has founded The Warren, a new network of Irish podcasts joining the HeadStuff Podcast Network, The Tortoise Shack and plentiful independent pods.

I’m glad to say the Silicon Republic team has a healthy diet of Irish podcasts on their listening rota. The Irish History Podcast, Bandwagons, Juvenalia (co-hosted by our former teammate Ellen Tannam), West Cork, Science Drops, My Pod on Paper, David McWilliams, Real Health with Karl Henry, The Shift, The Alison Spittle Show, The Explainer and Ruth’s Natural Selection Box have all bent an ear, representing the impressively varied collection on offer.

Among my own favourites are The Irish Passport, a vital insight into Irish culture, politics and society at a critical time for this education around the world; Motherfoclóir, a fun frolic through the Irish language led by Darach Ó Séaghdha, author of the book of the same name; and Meet Your Maker, Geraghty’s series of conversations with people who create all kinds of things. And an honourable mention must go to Mothers of Invention, not produced in Ireland but hosted by the endlessly charming Maeve Higgins and former Irish president Mary Robinson, presenting feminist solutions to the man-made problems facing our climate.

Call it the gift of the gab, a natural storytelling instinct, or the love for the Irish accent – Irish podcasting prowess is unmistakeable. And with a rich and diverse community of support, there can only be more goodies for our earphones to come.

More power to them.

Want stories like this and more direct to your inbox? Sign up for Tech Trends, Silicon Republic’s weekly digest of need-to-know tech news.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.