‘Revisiting Brideshead Revisited’ & other radio

Things were beginning to return to normal practice as we eased out of COVID late last autumn: one sign being that studios spaces re-opened to those of us who normally visited occasionally.

Although live shows are still not happening at Kinvara FM – where I’m a volunteer radiohead – some of us who didn’t have equipment at home were able to access the studio again at the end of 2021. Sanitisation all the way of course, and our own mic covers! I pre-recorded some Western Skyline shows and then in the end of January I headed off to have an operation. I had a few shows of a ‘general nature’ in the bag and they went out as I gradually began to potter around on crutches. They haven’t been podcast yet, but once I get access to them I’ll share the links as I was doing before the pandemic closed us down.

After my most recent visit to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre I arrived home with a radio essay for RTÉ’s Sunday Miscellany about the 40th anniversary of the TV serialisation of Brideshead Revisited. I was delighted when they accepted it, and we got it recorded pronto to tie in with the anniversary last October. It was so nice to drive into Galway and meet John in the RTÉ studios again.

Here’s a link to the recording: https://www.rte.ie/radio/radio1/clips/22024357/ – click on the URL or the highlighted text and you should get to it. Hope it brings back some memories!

UTV Times – October 1981 with Anthony Andrews as Sebastian Flyte – and Aloysius the bear

The Western Skyline Podcast – Summer podcasts

Dearie me! Where has the summer gone? I hope it has been just peachy for all of you.

Time to get up to date with the podcasts from The Western Skyline. Due to writing and life commitments, the show is being broadcast on a monthly basis since June. Here’s what we’ve been getting up to this summer:

13 JULY 2019

Some arts info on this mid-summer Western Skyline, but July’s show is mostly about the music: Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, One Republic, Fleetwood Mac – and it wouldn’t be summer for me without a does of the Spencer Davis Group.
Enjoy. I’ll be back in September as my August slot is during the Cruinniu Festival – and I’ll be working elsewhere!

15 JUNE 2019

Eilis Haden-Storrie dropped in on The Western Skyline for a chat about her book launch. Spotlight is on this year’s Galway Intl Arts Festival, with music from ABC, David Bowie, Kim Wilde, Howard Jones, Joy Division, Blue Oyster Cult, and The Hothouse Flowers. Plus more local arts news.


18 MAY 2019

On the show I was joined by four members of The Poetry Collective – poets based mainly in counties Clare & Galway.
Patrick Stack, Knute Skinner, Mary Ellen Fean, & Fred Johnston discuss, and read from, their work. There’s some arts news, and the music is from the Middle East and Africa: Senegal, Egypt, Libya, Palestine and Jordan. A wee change from the Eurovision, which happened to be on that night. Ahem.


04 MAY 2019

On The Western Skyline we looked at Fleadh na gCuach as it happened in Kinvara, the forthcoming Galway Theatre Festival, and committee member Tonii Kelly dropped by to chat about the new HEART of Gort Festival taking place on 17/18th May. Plus lots of great music, and news of an arts opportunity for young Co Galway people!

The Western Skyline Podcast – 06 April 2019

On The Western Skyline – a film music special:

Most featured composer: Thomas Newman. Music also from films by Quentin Tarantino, and composers Gabriel Yared, Hans Zimmer. And, a Mozart aria sung by Renée Fleming & Cecilia Bartoli, and a Verdi theme arranged by Jean- Claude Petit.
Some local arts news, and new of the Cúirt International Festival of Literature.

This is one to enjoy by the fire with a cuppa, or a glass of wine.

The Western Skyline Podcast – 16 June 2018

Lots of Arts news, and the music on the Western Skyline is from films and musicals.

Info about Cruinniú na nóg – a national day of creativity for children; art at the Russell Gallery; comedy and theatre in Galway; congrats to Mike McCormack on winning the International Dublin Literary Award with his novel Solar Bones; details about a conference on the ‘Big House’ happening at the Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna; a preview of the Sidney Nolan exhibition and symposium at the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan; and a tribute to the Irish poet Macdara Woods who died the night before the show was broadcast.

MUSIC from shows and films including Chicago, the War of the Worlds, Cabaret, Toy Story, Django Unchained, Gangs of New York, The Great Gatsby, and others …


The Western Skyline Podcast 26 August 2017

Another podcast from my show with Kinvara FM. And we’re live on air now at 92.4fm  .


Tonii Kelly, the editor of Guaire Magazine in Gort joined us on The Western Skyline today to tell us about a new initiative to get the children of south Galway writing poetry and fiction. Tonii also spoke about the magazine, which celebrates Gort and the area around the town. Check out guaire.org for more details.
Music is from Ali Farka Toure & Ry Cooder, M People, Jambalaya Cajun Band, Youssou N’Dour, Andy Irvine & Paul Brady, Alan Stivell, De Dannan, Bruce Hornsby & The Range, and the Buena Vista Social Club.
There’s news of art exhibitions and a seaside installation. Don’t forget to contact kava@kinvara.com if you want to join the day trip to see the Vermeer Exhibition at the National Gallery.
We preview Muldoon’s Picnic, coming next Tuesday 29th to the Town Hall Theatre in Galway, and Moonfish Theatre Company’s production of Joseph O’Connor’s ‘Star of the Sea’ – also at the Town Hall Theatre on 1 & 2 September.
[Image c. Karen J McDonnell]


‘Hail to the Chief’

Ever since I was a child I haven’t been able to help myself when it comes to sounding off.

The first such letter I wrote was to the RTÉ programme, Motley. It was a kids’  TV programme so I don’t know why they were discussing Finance Minister Charlie Haughey’s tax exemption scheme for writers and artists. Perhaps it was part of a news round up.  Anyhoo, they must have asked their junior viewers what they thought about it, because I seem to have expressed an opinion to whatever adult would listen to me.  I thought it was a great idea:  artists and writers should get tax breaks. Someone, probably my dad, said, Write and tell them. So I did. And they read my letter out on the television.

Reader, there was no stopping me after that.

Which leads me to texting radio shows. Sometimes, I shout at the radio and type out furious texts or social media posts. Then, I delete them – as there are times one shouldn’t become radio fodder. Or, I’ll engage and comment here and there. So, when someone asked was anyone watching the U.S. presidential debates, I offered up my ha’penny’s worth.

Which is how I ended up talking to Ryan Tubridy about the second debate and, in the process, extolling the virtue of the Tunnocks teacake.



They  asked me to chat about the third debate – but ran out of programme time. Then they rang the day before the election and asked if I’d be doing an all-nighter again. I sure was. And I’d be going for the Tunnocks teacakes again as treat of choice. Would I chat about it? I sure would:


Up at 1.30am again – Let the games begin! Poor CAT didn’t know whether she was coming or going. Over to her dish, and discovered it wasn’t breakfast time. To the front door, and discovered it was still the middle of the night.


In the end she stuck with me & CNN until dawn, by which time we all knew the outcome. He’d voted for himself, and made sure The Missus did too, by the looks of this:


Unfortunately, plenty more voted for him too. (Hillary won the popular vote, however!)

As a slightly older child, I wrote to President Childers’ widow when he died, and I received a lovely note from her. Imagine: being a kid and getting a black-edged envelope with the presidential crest on it.  As literary editor of the student newspaper in college, I wrote to our current President; requesting a poem for our Christmas issue. I had a lovely call from his personal assistant.

I’d write to the White House … but I’d end up with a permanent ‘Denied Entry’ stamp on my passport if I wrote what I really want to say. It would not “be a beautiful thing”. Bigly.

So, here’s this ha’penny’s worth: ‘Heil to the Chief’.

That’s SO not a typo.

We’ll leave it there.

Broadcast News!

Hello my lovelies!

Just to let you know that I will be talking to Rick O’Shea on RTÉ’s Poetry Programme. The show goes out at 7.30pm this Saturday 23 April on Radio 1.

In this week’s programme – just ahead of ANZAC Day – Australian poet Robyn Rowland will read from her collection This Intimate War:Gallipoli/Çanakkale 1915. You can find out more about Robyn here.

I will be taking a look at an anthology of women’s verse & poetry from World War 1 – Scars Upon My Heart. The interview briefly looks at the range of work, women’s roles in WWI and we read three of the poems from the anthology. The collection was edited by Catherine Reilly and first published in 1981 by Virago. It was republished in 2006 and is available to buy online:  Virago imprints: here .    Amazon: here .

I hope you will listen in – I’d love to get some feedback! If you can’t catch the programme live on Saturday, you can always listen back on the RTÉ Radio Player            See you on the radio!

scars upon my heart



The Western Skyline – Woody Allen’s Music


The Western Skyline – Woody Allen’s Music

First broadcast on wildatlanticwaves.wordpress.com on 30 July 2015

Thanks to my friends and family, and to the listeners who contacted the show via Twitter, and Facebook. And thanks to Sinéad, Tom, Peadar, Gerry & Heather – the people who gave radioheads like me the chance to create, broadcast and podcast my shows. And to the GRETB radioheads … it’s been a blast guys!

Thank you all. X

So: the final show from this series of The Western Skyline on Wild Atlantic Waves Radio …  … The music of Woody Allen’s films, plus a track from the man himself; no mean player of New Orleans jazz clarinet. Check out the documentary film about Allen, his films, and music: Wild Man Blues 

You can listen to the podcast of the show here, and the playlist is below.

The Western Skyline: Woody Allen’s Music  

First broadcast 10.30-11.30am on  30 July 2015


Track Name: Theme from the Purple Rose of Cairo

Complete Work Name: Same [Purple Rose of Cairo soundtrack]

Composer: Dick Hyman

Album Title: House of Pianos

Record Label: Arbors Records 2015

Duration: 02.09

Track Name: Dancing Cheek to Cheek

Complete Work Name: Same [Purple Rose of Cairo soundtrack]

Performer: Fred Astaire

Album Title: Songs from Woody Allen Films: compilation

Record Label: WNTS 2011 (Spotify)

Duration: 03.16

Laaa di daaa  (Note Annie's clothes!)
Laaa di daaa
(Note Annie’s clothes!)

Track Name: Moonglow

Complete Work Name: Same [Annie Hall soundtrack]

Orchestra: Artie Shaw & his orchestra

Album Title: Songs from Woody Allen Films: compilation

Record Label: WNTS 2011 (Spotify)

Duration: 03.20

Manhattan film

Track Name: Rhapsody in Blue

Complete Work Name: Opening scene of Manhattan/ Voicover by Woody Allen

Composer: George Gershwin

Orchestra: New York Philharmonic

Downloaded from YouTube

Duration: 03.42

Martin Landau & Woody Allen
Martin Landau & Woody Allen

Track Name: String quartet No.15. Excerpt from the 1st Movement Allegro Molto Moderato

Complete Work Name: String Quartet in G Major #15 D887 [Crimes & Misdemeanours]

Composer: Schubert

Orchestra: Artemis Quartet

Album Title: Schubert Quartets 13,14,15

Record Label: Virgin Classics

Duration: 04.21

Track Name:  Gymnopedie #3

Complete Work Name: Les Gymnopedies  [Another Woman soundtrack]

Composer: Eric Satie

Orchestr: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Pianist: Philippe Entremont

Album Title: Woody Allen Classics

Record Label:

Duration: 03.25

Radio Days - Joe's family © www.yv.org
Radio Days – Joe’s family
© http://www.yv.org

Track Name: In the Mood

Complete Work Name: Same [Radio Days soundtrack]

Composer: Glenn Miller

Orchestra: The Glenn Miller Orchestra

Conductor: Glenn Miller

Album Title: Songs from Woody Allen Films

Record Label: WNTS 2011 (Spotify)

Duration: 03.29

Radio Days - New Year's Eve 1944: The Masked Avenger & Sally ( post-elocution lessons!)
Radio Days – New Year’s Eve 1944: The Masked Avenger & Sally ( post-elocution lessons!)

Track Name:  If I didn’t care

Complete Work Name: same [Radio Days soundtrack]

Orchestra: The Ink Spots

Album Title: Songs from Woody Allen Films

Record Label: WNTS 2011 (Spotify)

Duration: 02.56

Allen directing Dianne Wiest, Mia Farrow & Barbara Hershey in Hannah & Her Sisters
Allen directing Dianne Wiest, Mia Farrow & Barbara Hershey in Hannah & Her Sisters

Track Name:  Largo (excerpt)

Complete Work Name: Concerto #5 in F Minor [Hannah & Her Sisters]

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

Orchestra: London Strings

Conductor: Sir Neville Marriner

Album Title:

Record Label: Sony BMG

Duration: 03.10

Midnight in Paris

Track Name: La Conga Blicoti

Complete Work Name: same [Midnight in Paris]

Singer: Josephine Baker

Album Title: Songs from Woody Allen Films

Record Label: WNTS 2011 (Spotify)

Duration: 02.18

Woody - Wild Man Blues

Track Name: Come On and Stomp Stomp Stomp

Complete Work Name: Same [Wild Man Blues documentary]

Orchestra: Woody Allen & Band incl. Eddy Davis

Album Title: Wild Man Blues

Record Label: BMG Entertainment 1998

Duration: 04.43


The Western Skyline – Let’s Play!

First broadcast on 23 July 2015  on wildatlanticwaves.wordpress.com #onlineradio

This solo hour was all about play – and playing some good music. I chose a selection from the 1960’s up: moving from soulful to music guaranteed to rock the soul. I defy you not to dance around the kitchen by the end of the show!

Here is the link to the podcast:

A show like this allows me the chance to play long songs, and songs that wouldn’t be heard much on mainstream radio. Who plays John Miles or Judie Tzuke these days?

Some of the tracks here came from re-masters or compilations. Below is the playlist:

New York Minute – Don Henley  End of the Innocence (1989) 2009 Geffen Records

Judie Tzuke Welcome to the Cruise image

For You – Judie Tzuke Welcome to the Cruise (1979) 2010 Wrasse Records


Old Friends/Bookends  Simon & Garfunkel  Bookends 1968 Sony BMG

Dazzling Blue – Paul Simon  So Beautiful, So What 2011 Star Con LLC Hear Music

If These Walls Could Speak – Jimmy Webb  10 Easy Pieces 1996 Capitol Records

Mac Arthur Park Mac Arthur Park postcard

Mac Arthur Park – Richard Harris  (Written by Jimmy Webb, first recorded:1968)                  1997 Geffen Records

Music – John Miles  Rebel (1976) True Rock Compilation 2006 Spectrum Music

Gimme Some Lovin’ – Spencer Davis Group True Rock Compilation  2006 Spectrum Music

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynard Skynard True Rock Compilation 2006 Spectrum Music

Addicted to Love – Robert Palmer Riptide (1985) True Rock Compilation 2006

Robert Palmer  & The Girls!
Robert Palmer
& The Girls!