EPISODE 18: LOUTH: Do we need to get more bogged down?

Ireland recently declared a climate emergency. The bogs of Ireland are our equivalent to the rain forest in terms of their role as a carbon sink, but for some bizarre reason, a bypass for Ardee that was initially planned in 2001, but put on hold, was recently put back on the table. It is due to cut right through one of the only easterly raised bogs left in Ireland.

The plans were put on hold yesterday, but only due to issues raised by the community about potential division of the town, rather than the environmental issues. An Environmental Impact Assessment has never been carried out, but surely now, the question we should be asking is; if we’re in the midst of a climate emergency, why are we building more roads to counter excess traffic, rather than looking for alternative solutions? And why are we looking to build it to the detriment of one of the biggest solutions to our climate problems, the bog?

We’re joined by activist, artist and friend of the Ardee Bog, Katie Holten and Conservation Policy Officer with the Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Tristram Whyte. LEAVE THEM BOGS ALONE!

EPISODE 17: SLIGO: Can improved access to art make a better society?

In a week that brought us the news that the Shaw was closing to make way for, you guessed it, a hotel, we start to look at what can be done to encourage more value to be placed on art and culture from the those who have the power and money to shape our society.

Increasing and improving access to art is one step we think that can be taken to help people understand the weight, importance and benefits that come from having a thriving creative scene in Ireland. But another issue thrown up when you start exploring access to art, is people’s perceptions of what constitutes culture. Comments from some councillors showed that what many considered the centre of their cultural universe with the Shaw, was considered nothing more than a nuisance and eyesore. How can we support people pushing the boundaries not just with their art, but those pushing the boundaries of what art is. And who gets to be the gate-keeper of where art and culture starts and ends?

We talk to two people whose remit is to improve access to art in Ireland. Sinead Rice is Head of Education in the National Gallery and Emer McGarry is the interim Director at The Model in Sligo. We also have Patrick Curley who runs Illuminations in Sligo as our county rep.

EPISODE 16: LAOIS, Live from Electric Picnic

We’re coming live from Electric Picnic this week with our LAOIS episode, asking the question : are festivals the perfect societies? Joining us to discuss utopias and future societies are Mango, Saoirse McHugh, and Bríd Smith TD.

In front of a live audience at the Ah Hear podcast stage in Mindfield at Electric Picnic, we discussed what parts of the festival bubble could work in real life, and local legend Mary White and her son Willie White joined us as the Laois county reps. Contains kebab puns, socialism, and all the Picnic buzz.

EPISODE 15: CARLOW: Are we ready to get serious about the night​ ​time economy?

It’s very easy to moan and groan about the influx of hotels and the homogenisation of the landscape in cities and towns around the country, but it’s worth remembering that it’s not the job of hotel owners to ​shape the fabric of our society, it’s their job to build hotels and make money​. So, who’s job is it?

When it comes to being custodians of culture and city planning, we have the Minister for Culture & Heritage, her department, Dublin City Council and many art institutions and councils. When it comes to the night time economy or life after dark, however, it is that so often these pursuits aren’t considered culture. But, the fact of the matter is — clubbing IS culture.

This week, we’re talking to Global Night Mayor advocate Mirik Milan, who was the first Night Mayor of Amsterdam in 2012, along with Philly McMahon, who has challenged the definition and scope of culture with ThisIsPopBaby. This episode of the podcast is longer than a club night in Dublin and it’s time for us all to get behind and champion culturally relevant nightlife in Ireland.

We also have the “complete Aisling”, Sarah Breen as our county rep for Carlow, news from the week, top Carlow facts, Get In the Sea and of course, our Tuna Chicken Roll.

EPISODE 14: Privacy, the Public Service Card, and big problems…

If there’s anything we’ve learned since the Cambridge Analytica exposé, it’s that data is both very precious to those who own it and extremely dangerous if it’s accessed by power hungry maniacs. Hell, we learned this from James Bond and The Bourne films, but it’s only when it hits you in the face that the stark reality of what’s at stake IRL truly materialises.

Which is why we wanted to fully focus this week’s episode on the fallout from the Data Protection Commissioner’s landmark investigation into the government’s Public Service Card. We’re joined in the studio by the Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon to talk through what happened, why it was found to be illegal and what the ramifications of that are, what they could have been and where we go from here.

We’re also talking about Aches’ Horseboy mural; Tarantino being a forever creep; The Berlin Boys Club, a nomadic men’s group exploring healthy masculinity and just how great Aisling Bea is.

EPISODE 13: DONEGAL: Should Donegal have Universal Basic Income?

We’re all about radical solutions to big issues here at United Ireland, and this week we journey to Donegal, to see whether what’s often called the forgotten county could benefit from new thinking. Joining us this week is the mastermind behind Finland’s Universal Basic Income experiment, Olli Kangas, and Donegal doer and thinker Declan Meehan gives us the lay of the land. Our County Rep this week is Una’s better half, Sarah Francis, who is repping the north west hard.

Andrea bowls us over with her Donegal facts, and we also talk about Jeffrey Epstein, Hong Kong protests, and our all-star drag lineup for Love Sensation when Tuna Chicken Roll goes live!

Enya, Football Special, Tory kings, Donegal queens, fishing, Brexit, wee Daniel, this episode has it all! Donegal abú!

EPISODE 12: United Ireland: Lethal Dialect

We’re mixing things up this week, for a special episode on Lethal Dialect, otherwise known as Paul Alwright. Back to the counties next week! With these bonus interviews, we’re trying to find out what makes artists and doers tick and the importance that their environment and their county holds to them.

Lethal Dialect is back, with a new album on the way and a gig this Friday at the Workmans in Dublin. In this chat with Una, LD talks about place, country and home, capitalism, hip-hop, stoicism, and plenty of other bits in between, as we wandered around Golden Lane, Dublin Castle, Christchurch, before retiring to the Lord Edward pub.

EPISODE 11: WATERFORD: Are there too many festivals and somehow not enough tickets?

We’re popping down to the Sunny South East this week at the same time as all of the music revelers™ making their way to All Together Now, praying for blue skies and some of that famous sun. As another sold out festival hits the circuit in only its second year, it’s clear that there’s still room for a festival with a good vibe and a cracking lineup. But the concert calendar in Ireland looks pretty crowded this summer – or is it possible that our appetite for live music in a field is insatiable? And what about the tickets to those gigs? When people were losing their minds over tickets to Lizzo’s show in the Olympia vanishing in seconds, only to be resold by Ticketmaster at inflated prices, it rightly shone the light again on how tickets are being sold in this country.

We’ll be talking to RTE Brainstorm’s Jim Carroll about what’s going on with these ‘platinum’ tickets and that packed festival calendar, along with journalist Amy O’Connor, who will be filling us in all about the Déise.

EPISODE 10: LEITRIM: Why is Ireland planting the wrong trees?

This week we’re off to Ireland’s smallest county to talk about trees. Listen up, this is an important story that isn’t getting the coverage it deserves. We speak to Save Leitrim about why they’re campaigning against particular forestry projects and enterprises, and we hear about the impact this is all having on the county.

In glorious news, Louise McSharry is our very special guest host this week. ALL HAIL LOUISE. Andrea is back next week to reclaim her throne.

Our County Rep this week is Katherine Lynch, who is repping Leitrim HARD.

Una and Louise choose their fave bits, Louise selects the tuna chicken roll, and our youngest ever guest joins us in studio. That’s right, Louise’s new baby, Ted, is here to make his voice heard.

Save the trees, save the bees, Save Leitrim.

EPISODE 9: DERRY: Lyra McKee was murdered in Derry. What happened next?

On April 18th, 2019, journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead during rioting in the Creggan area of Derry. On this episode about what happened next, Lyra’s partner, Sara Canning, talks about the night Lyra was murdered and how her death impacted her, her community, and Derry itself. We also discuss the protests that emerged in response to Lyra’s murder with Lyra’s friend, Sinead Quinn. One of the most respected journalists in the country, Susan McKay, is in studio to discuss the social, political and economic context of her hometown Derry, and she also gives us added insight into the significance of Lyra’s journalism, and her own relationship with Lyra. Our County Rep this week is the brilliant Séamas O’Reilly, a writer with The Observer and the Irish Times, who delivers a beautiful ode to Derry. This episode examines the legacy of an incredibly talented young journalist murdered in her prime, and what it’s really like to grow up in a place where things like this happen, and how Derry is potentially on the precipice of even more difficulties with Brexit looming. But it’s also about a place of tremendous spirit, creativity, humour and resilience. We’d like to especially thank Sara for being so honest and generous with her time while she is still grieving her partner. Rest in Power,