Cross Currents – 3 Part Series on Contemporary Irish Composers for RTÉ lyric fm



The 1970s was a defining period for music in Ireland with a number of major talents blossoming. Roger Doyle produced his first LPs; Raymond Deane and Gerald Barry traveled to study at the very epicentre of new music in Cologne, Germany, studying with Stockhausen and Kagel; and Jane O’Leary arrived in Ireland from the US, establishing Ireland’s first contemporary music ensemble, Concorde.

This was the era in which contemporary Irish music came of age, shedding its self-conscious often nationalist image, and becoming internationally focussed, in keeping with the wider political and economic shift in Ireland after it joined the European Economic Community.

Cross Currents is a landmark three-part music documentary series, narrated by award-winning actor Barry McGovern, exploring contemporary Irish composers and their work. Produced by Athena Media in association with the Contemporary Music Centre and RTÉ lyric fm, the last 50 years have seem Irish composition flourish as young Irish composers look to Europe and beyond to re-imagine an Irish identity in music, paralleling many of the societal and economic shifts in post-de Valera Ireland. After the ‘nation-building’ period of Seán Ó Riada’s music and the watermark 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising in 1966, a new generation of musicians and writers sought to explore their identity within the influence of continental Europe.

Episode 1 of the series airs at 7pm Friday the 9th of September on RTÉ lyric fm. Detailed background on the series and composers at

Pantisocracy – RTÉ Radio 1 Series hosted by Panti Bliss

PantisocracyPanti Bliss hosts a late night cabaret of conversations with, and about, contemporary Ireland.

In this series the Queen of Ireland Panti Bliss invites a diverse gathering of intriguing, high profile and articulate guests into her parlour to chat about their life’s journey and share stories.. From singers to scientists, athletes to actors, writers to rebels – all are citizens of the Pantisocracy where Panti herself holds court in a wry and incisive programme combining talk, song and performance. A cabaret for the times we live in. Pantisocracy is a society of equals.

Pantisocracy: Episode 3 Turning Points airs Tuesday September 6th at 10pm on RTÉ Radio 1 with Episodes 1 and 2 available as podcasts.

In this episode, her guests talking of turning points in life are Mark Pollock, the blind now paralysed adventurer who is exploring ways to walk again. Lawyer Simone George, Mark’s partner, is in the mix talking about her journey to make Ireland safer for women and scientist Dr. Niamh Shaw talks of her dream of going into space.
Comedian Jarlath Regan shares what he has discovered in making his hit podcast “An Irishman Abroad’ while composer Michael Gallen, the lead singer with the band Ana Gog, talks about his new opera project, A Month in the Lock, and sings from the James Connolly songbook ‘We Only Want the Earth’.

RSS Feed


Pantisocracy is an Athena Media Production for RTÉ Radio 1

Producer Helen Shaw

Production support Sarah Dillon, John Howard and Pearse O Caoimh

Wilde Stories – Episode 1 now available for download

Wilde Stories our radio series inspired by Oscar Wilde’s collection of fairytales The Happy Prince and Other Tales has now begun airing on RTÉ Lyric FM, for the ‘Lyric Feature’ – on Friday evenings at 7pm for the next few weeks, with Episode 2 (centred on the story of ‘The Devoted Friend’, read by Lauren Coe going to air this Friday the 15th of July.
Episode 1 was broadcast last week and is now available to download via iTunes.
All content ©Athena Media 2016.

RSS Feed

Shelter from Athena Media on Vimeo.

Wilde Stories – new iTunes Podcast channel/RSS Feed

Wilde Stories is an artistic transmedia project around Oscar Wilde‘s collection of fairytales The Happy Prince and Other Tales. This Athena Media project brings together Irish artists including composer Michael Gallen and visual artist Felicity Clear, to re-imagine the stories in a broadcast collaboration with RTÉ lyric fm.

In anticipation for the release of the full episodes this Summer, an iTunes channel/RSS Feed has been established for Wilde Stories, where listeners can access a number of short promo features, with readings by Lauren Coe, Brian Gleeson and Robert Sheehan. As the episodes go to air, the full length radio programmes will be uploaded to the iTunes channel to stream and download.

RSS Feed

Wilde Stories – Taster : 'High Above the City' – Support our Wilde Imagination from Athena Media on Vimeo.

HISTORY’s Vikings Podcast

Athena Media producing ongoing podcast series taking you behind the scenes of HISTORY’s Vikings TV show

Love Vikings? HISTORY’s Vikings Podcast, with host Nick Hodges, brings you behind the scenes of the hit series, featuring commentary from creator/writer Michael Hirst, and exclusive interviews with cast and crew.

It’s the perfect audio companion for fans of the series. New episodes are posted Friday mornings after the premiere of each Vikings episode in Season 4 on Thursdays at 10/9c. Subscribe to the podcast and get involved on twitter using #talkingvikings, or via the HISTORY Vikings Facebook page.

In this week’s episode, Nick talks to Michael Hirst, the sole writer on Vikings since season 1 and gets exclusive access to Hirst on location to talk about the origins of the show and how Hirst approaches writing it.

‘Historians write from the outside, as a dramatist I write from the inside’

Michael reveals and says he quite likes to get the Vikings characters to do terrible things and hope the fans still love them – because they are Vikings! Of course, Michael’s vision would be nothing without the ability to realise them, and Head Costume Designer Joan Bergin provides exactly that. Nick talks to her about where she draws her inspiration from and how she and her experienced team conceptualise the contrasting societies within the Vikings world and manage to execute them with such realism.

Go to for more.

If you want to talk to Nick about Vikings Season 4, email

The Family of Things – Episode 12: Vivienne DeCourcy

Vivienne DeCourcy

Vivienne DeCourcy, the writer and director of the new feature film ‘Dare to be Wild’ is Helen Shaw’s guest in episode 12 of The Family of Things.

‘Dare to be Wild’, is based on the true story of Irish wild garden designer Mary Reynolds who won the Chelsea Garden Show in 2002. The film is Vivienne’s directorial debut and in this podcast Vivienne talks about her connection to the film’s message, the importance of the environment, nature conservation on our planet and the connection between man and the environment. Vivienne, a former lawyer, began writing scripts after surviving cancer and she talks about her instinctive relationship with the outdoors and nature from her childhood.

Her parents, her father was in the Irish Army, and her mother was an English teacher, encouraged her to become a doctor or a lawyer, but as a lover of art and history, she feels she was given a special gift – to take inspirational and enlightening stories and share them with an audience. Stories, she says, that may “positively impact the way we live on planet earth”.

Dare to be Wild will be released in cinemas in Spring 2016.

The Family of Things – Episode 11: Rory O’Neill

Helen Shaw’s latest guest in The Family of Things is performer and accidental activist Rory O’Neill AKA the Queen of Ireland Panti Bliss.

Rory O Neill

Rory talks about his memoir ‘Woman in the Making’ (Hachette 2014) and his personal journey from growing up in rural Ireland to become a ‘national treasure’ as the drag queen Panti who he says has become a sort of ‘avatar for change’. Rory shares the highs and lows of the last two years since his celebrated speech on the stage of the Abbey Theatre which mobilised support for the Marriage Equality Referendum that was passed by the Irish public in May 2015.

The Family of Things – Episode 10: Eleanor Fitzsimons

Author and researcher Eleanor Fitzsimons is our latest guest in The Family of Things.

Eleanor Fitzsimons
Eleanor’s acclaimed biography of Oscar Wilde from the perspective of the women in his life ‘Wilde’s Women‘ opens new windows on both Wilde and his work.
Eleanor’s beautifully written and carefully researched study was published in Ireland in Autumn 2015 and is being released in the US this year. In this conversation with presenter Helen Shaw she introduces us to Wilde’s intriguing mother, Jane Wilde, a celebrated writer in her own time, and his much suffering wife Constance LLoyd as well as the women writers who influenced and inspired Wilde.
Eleanor describes her work as ‘recovering’ lost stories of women in history and sees her journey as akin to excavating the past; bringing forth what has been forgotten or obscured.
Wilde’s Women is published by Duckworth Overlook and you can follow Eleanor’s work and story via twitter.

The Family of Things 9 – Noirin Hegarty

In Episode 9 of The Family of Things, Helen Shaw meets Nóirín Hegarty, former Editor of the Sunday Tribune and now Operations Director with Lonely Planet, to discuss her passion for journalism, how it lead her on an unconventional career path but to her dream job, and how she balances these demanding roles with family life.

Nóirín Hegarty found her calling as a news reporter but moved into news management at just 25 years of age.

She was editor of the national sunday newspaper The Sunday Tribune at a time when there were very few women editors in Ireland and lead that newspaper from 2005 until it closed in 2011. Since then she’s been at the heart of digital change in the print industry but says she’s finally found her dream job with iconic travel brand Lonely Planet. She moved family and home to London to take up an editorial post with Lonely Planet but she then had the chance to open a Lonely Planet office in Dublin – bringing it all back home again.

In this podcast interview for The Family of Things with Helen Shaw, Nóirín talks openly about how tough and macho the editorial newspaper world was and how being a mother of three and a national newspaper editor was a challenging balancing act.

The Brain Box – Episode 1 now on iTunes

“We’ve learned more about the brain in the past 50 years than in the previous 2000” says The Brain Box presenter and lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Maynooth University, Dr. Richard Roche.

The Brain Box, a two part radio series for Newstalk 106-108 fm, brings listeners on a quest into our mind to uncover the secrets of the human brain, ‘the most complex entity in the known universe’, asking questions like What is intelligence?, How are memories made and lost? Is madness linked to creativity? and How close are we to creating true Artificial Intelligence?<p>

“It’s the most complex entity in the known universe. You’ve got these three kilograms of fat, and yet the most fascinating capacities come out of it!”
Professor Ian Robertson, Trinity College Dublin.

Richard meets experts in the field, like Professor Ian Robertson and Professor Fiona Newell from Trinity College Dublin, to talk about the brain and the things that we are still discovering every day, including new research into the exciting area of brain plasticity which states that the brain constantly evolves and adapts, even after damage and into old age, which has implications for the rehabilitation of the brain after trauma and in treating diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Episode 1 – How the Brain Works
What is intelligence, how do we learn, think and create? How do we create and lose memories and why have we learnt more about the human brain in the last few decades than the previous thousands? Neuroscientist Dr. Richard Roche unravels the most complex thing in the universe.
Voices you will hear in this episode include: scientists Fiona Newell, John Foxe, Kevin Mitchell, Shane O’Mara and Olivia O’Leary and synesthete Karen Kane. Part 1 was broadcast on October 17th at 7am and 10pm and is now available for free on iTunes.

Episode 2 – How the Brain Breaks
What causes mental illness? is genius linked to madness? What is autism and how should we treat it? And is dementia inevitable in old age? What happens to us in a stroke or brain injury and how can we recover? Scientist Dr Richard Roche explores the human brain and our quest to know ourselves.
Voices you hear in this episode include neuroscientists Niall Pender, John Cryan and Michelle Kelly, Seamus Cunningham, who has early onset Alzheimer’s, and mother of 2 autistic children Lisa Domican. On Air October 24th at 7am and 10pm. Additional content is available on The Brain Box Audioboom channel.

An Athena Media production for Newstalk made with the support of the TV licence fee via the BAI.
The producer is Helen Shaw.
The presenter is Dr. Richard Roche.
The audio editor is Amy Millar.
Researcher/Recordist is Cormac McAdam.
The Brain Box is made with the funding support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and the TV licence fee.