In Ireland, Joe Duffy presents a series of programs hosted by Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin in which guests discuss a range of issues and themes relevant to Irish life today.

Guests include Gabriel Byrne, Maeve Binchy, Mark Pollack and Emma Farrell. The current program airs on RTÉ Radio 1,  28 December through January 1st, 1.30pm.

Why is this so exciting? Mary McAleese is the President of Ireland and the Áras an Uachtaráin is her official residence! Now that’s grand!

UPDATE: the first podcast is now available.

The podcast 

Thanks to Lozzie and Lara for the information on these conversations!

Programme 1:  Monday 28th December: 1.30pm – 2.00pm

The first programme reflects on Irish culture and heritage, in the company of actor, director and writer Gabriel Byrne, poet Paula Meehan and former Cork hurling manager John Allen. Paula Meehan reads a specially commissioned poem for the occasion ‘December in the Phoenix Park’.


  1. I’m tuned in now, and ready to listen.

  2. Just finished listening. Gabriel was, as ever, eloquent, considered, and inspirational. In another life he could have been a motivational speaker, I thought. He was well matched by the other people in the conversation. I wish the United Kingdom had someone with just half the intelligence and energy as the Irish President.

  3. It was indeed a nice programme (if rather short); Gabriel was as witty and insightful as always. President McAleese also struck me as a very intelligent and sensitive woman. May Ireland see a better year next year!

  4. I totally agree with Lozzie. The only correction being that I would replace “United Kingdom” with “India”..

  5. I just listened to this program twice. It was incredible interesting to hear Mary McAleese and the guests speak about Ireland and the culture and the situation in that country. I must say that Ireland is very lucky to have a President like her. They are also lucky to have Gabriel, because he is so able to connect Ireland to the rest of the western world through his experiences and his intelligent comments and thoughts about Ireland, his native country.
    As a Norwegian it is also interesting to hear how another small country in Europe think about themselves. I wish for Ireland that they soon can have a better economy, and that they can work on the effects and wounds of the Ryan Report.

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