Last weekend, I had the pleasure of appearing on RTE Radio 1’s CountryWide programme. There, I was interviewed by my fellow Irish Country Living columnist, Damien O’Reilly, and shared my story of the joys, challenges, and lessons that come from ‘falling for a farmer.’
My first time on national radio was exciting and daunting in equal measure. As anyone who knows me can attest, I have no problem talking, and certainly, I’ve no shortage of stories to tell. But there’s something about the idea of having that microphone in front of you, and seeing the red “On Air” button light up, that immediately results in your mouth turning into oral equivalent of the Sahara desert.
Indeed, right before the interview went out, Jack summed it up best with a “squeaky bum time” text.
That being said, Damien and the team were lovely. I couldn’t have felt more welcome, and after answering the first couple of questions, I settled in and ended up enjoying the experience immensely. If anything, it was over too soon!
Living the Late Late Dream
Following the interview, when Damien and show collaborator Louise arrived down to the main foyer to find me still waiting on a taxi, Damien asked if I’d like a quick tour of the main studio — the home of the Late Late Show. Well, he might as well have been Tubridy himself, ringing me up on a Friday night to tell me I’d won the trip to New York, such was my level of excitement.
The Late Late is an Irish institution. Once you’ve made it on there, you’ve pretty much made it, full stop.
We headed into the darkened studio, where the only light came from the faint glow of the Late Late Show sign on the back wall, and the spotlight, which ran races across the floor and audience section as the technicians tested their system ahead of the following night’s show.
I was struck by how small the space actually is. It’s testament, really, to the clever work of the producers and camera team, who film in such a way that gives off this impression of a sprawling studio, with multiple blocks of studio audience. In reality, there are only three!
Having now seen for myself the limited number of seats available, I’m much less likely to take offence when I miss out on tickets for yet another “Toy Show” . . .
Before we left, and after I’d made sure to warm the seat for Tubs, there was one more thing I had to do. I asked Damien if he’d show me “the walk” the guests make right before they appear at the top of those iconic steps. Thankfully, Damien is a tolerant man, and humoured me, though not without a warning to “mind the cables.”
And so, I fulfilled what I reckon is probably a secret ambition of many Irish people — entering into the studio behind the set, and making my way to the top of the stairs for the big reveal. I’ll tell you one thing: I have a newfound respect for any guest who manages that walk in heels. Even after you’ve sidestepped the cables en route, there’s still those three steps down onto the stage to contend with — no easy feat, I imagine, while simultaneously smiling and waving, aware that the eyes of Ireland are on you!
With no taxi in sight, we popped into the news studio next, where again, I wasted no time in getting a feel for what it might be like to be in there when it all kicks off for real.
- The newscasters keep a stash of grooming products behind their desks
- When they look at the auto-cue, they can also see themselves!
Now, this may not be news (if you’ll excuse the pun) to some of you, but as a less TV-savvy individual, I found this fascinating.
That’s a Wrap
All good things must come to an end, and eventually, the taxi showed up to herald me back to the office, and back to reality.
What a way to kill a couple of hours on a Thursday afternoon, though! Thank you again to the wonderful CountryWide team — for easing my nerves and making my first interview on national radio such an enjoyable experience, and, of course, for the bonus tour of the iconic studios.
Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll make it down those Late Late steps for real. A girl can always dream.