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

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.

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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.

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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 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.

The Kinder Letters – Podcast now on iTunes

The Kinder Letters is a radio documentary broadcast on Newstalk 106 – 108fm about one Irish man’s quest to unravel the mystery of a thank you book that unveils a web of untold stories of human struggle, childhood innocence, and the complex bilateral relations between Germany and Ireland in post-war Europe. This story about war, memory and the power of love airs is now available for free via iTunes

In 1955, 11 year old Irish girl Mary Walshe came into possession of a colourful book of letters, compiled by schoolgirls in Saarbrücken, Germany in 1946. This ‘dankebuch’ thanks the Irish people for their invaluable donations at a time of humanitarian crises after the collapse of Nazi Germany. More than 60 years later, the book passed to her husband Tony O’Herlihy, who as a loving remembrance after her death in 2011 began unravelling the mysteries behind the origins of the book, revealing a complex story about that time in history.

The story of the Dankebuch is shrouded in mystery. I regret that while Mary was still alive we never tried to find out anything about it….So it was a few months after she died that I came across the book again, and I thought now, hold on, Tomorrow has come.

Tony O’Herlihy

The Kinder Letters follows Tony’s highly emotional journey into the devastation of post-war Europe via modern day Dublin and Saarbrücken as he narrates this incredible story of meeting survivors of the original class, hearing first-hand recounts of the time. Historical experts such as executive editor of the documents on Irish foreign policy at the Royal Irish Academy Dr. Michael Kennedy, Irish Ambassador to Germany Michael Collins and researcher in mid-century Irish-Jewish history Dr. Kevin McCarthy reveal Ireland’s largely unspoken positive, yet at times unsavoury, position at that time, such as with the relationship between De Valera’s Ireland and Germany, and the contrasting fortunes of the German orphan children of ‘Operation Shamrock’, against that of the Jewish refugee children housed in Clonyn Castle whose admittance to Ireland had stringent conditions attached because of their religion.

This documentary captures a rare glimpse of post-war Europe through the microcosm of this children’s book, and through a rich canvas of archive, music and interviews reveals Ireland’s position within Europe at a time of chaos.

The Kinder Letters is produced by Robert Hope and Amy Millar of Athena Media

A short write up about the program is also available on The Independent.

The Kinder Letters is an Athena Media Production for Newstalk 106 – 108fm made with the support of the BAI and the TV licence fee. All rights rest with Athena Media Ltd.

Vocal Chords – In Conversation with Christy Moore – now on iTunes

Christy MooreA life lived with the company of song and the singing voice is how Christy Moore describes it and in this his 70th year he shares his journey with fellow singer The Gloaming’s frontman Iarla O Lionaird. Moore traces his vocal story from his childhood growing up not just in a singing family but in friendship with his boyhood friend Donal Lunny. This Vocal Chords special gives voice to Moore’s story, his music and his musical influence. In Conversation with Christy Moore aired August 14th 2015 at 7pm on RTÉ lyric fm and can be downloaded for free via iTunes.
For this compelling one-on-one interview, Iarla visits Christy Moore at his home in Dublin to talk about his relationship with the voice and songs, and what it means to be a singer. Sitting in the very room where Moore creates his music, he shares with Iarla the inspiration for his songs, his love of the folk tradition, and his many influences over the years including Ewan MacColl, The Clancy Brothers, and even being at singers’ clubs like ‘An Goilín’
The singing voice is one of Christy’s oldest and cherished companions, and for that he is “blessed, fortunate and full of gratitude”, but also knowing the remarkable power he has to share his voice with the world, he describes the relationship that the singer has with their audience, saying
“In order to project yourself out to hundreds or thousands of people, you got to open up, you’ve got to open up your chest, your lungs, your voice, your throat, your mind, and you have to reach out in a way that couldn’t do here now, it’s just impossible, I always think it’s a magic thread, that goes from the song and the singer out to the audience and comes back again and this special air is created, that allows us to listen in a certain way allows us to sing in a certain way, allows the work to breathe and shine and sparkle in a certain way.”

The Family of Things 8 – David Gillick

In Episode 8 of The Family of Things, Helen Shaw’s guest is a man known for his winning speed and more recently his winning food – it’s champion sprinter and Celebrity Masterchef David Gillick.

David Gillick, who is now retired from competitive running, still holds the Irish indoor and outdoor 400m records and he won two Gold European medals as well as being a world finalist during his track career. In this episode of The Family of Things David shares his life story, what motivates him and what he has learnt along the way. Today he is a corporate coach sharing his sporting strategies with business leaders and he is also mentoring school students in athletics as well as playing in his local GAA team.

David Gillick tells Helen about the moment he knew he wanted to be a professional athlete as well as discussing his move to Loughborough University, the place that not only furthered his career but where his met his wife, Charlotte Wickham. David’s story of the boy from Ballinteer who made it to the highest levels of sporting achievement is both personal and inspiring and he chats about how his love of cooking grew from his obsession with fitness and how his Granny, now in her 90s, has been an inspiration in life.

Bright Sparks

Bright Sparks is an eight part science documentary series for RTE Radio 1 presented by physicist, Professor Shane Bergin from Trinity College Dublin. The series broadcasts, 7-8pm Sun May 24th – Sun July 12th 2015 on RTÉ Radio 1. You can catch up with podcasts of Bright Sparks via iTunes.

“Scientists are curious people who wish to explore the world around them. Their ideas are sparked by shared conversations. Bright Sparks invites you to listen in on those conversations and understand the root of ideas, discovery, invention and how science works”
– Shane Bergin

For more information on Bright Sparks you can visit the website and view the press release here. Bright Sparks is on Facebook and you can follow Dr. Shane Bergin on Twitter and join in the conversation with #brightsparksradio & #brightsparksRTE. Read about Dr. Shane Bergin and Bright Sparks in the Irish Times.