There are some guests we’re prepared to wait around for and we’ve been trying to get Dorothy Cross to Banter for four and a half years. The dates and schedules and stars finally aligned and the brilliant, remarkable and forthright Cork-born artist joined us at the Shore Shots surf festival in The Model in Sligo the other month. It was, as you will hear, an interview well worth waiting for.
This week, we welcome one of the most interesting politicians around to Banter. Stephen Donnelly may have billed himself as the accidental politician back when he started out in politics in 2011, but that was then and things are much different now. He joined us at Banter to speak about his life before politics, his time as an independent TD, his role with the Social Democrats, including some very candid observations about the party, and his move earlier this year to Fianna Fail.
This was one of our favourite Banter panels of recent times because of the amount of good sense on show. It’s a deep dive into the art, business, blood, sweat, tears and occasional cheers of running a restaurant in Ireland. On this occasion, we were joined by two people who certainly know all about that, namely Jess Murphy from Kai in Galway and John Farrell, the mastermind behind Dillingers, The Butchers Grill, Super Miss Sue, Luna, 777 and other ventures in Dublin. This may be most rock’n’roll and honest discussion you will hear about what it really takes to run a successful food gaff.
A lively gang joined us in Foxy John’s in Dingle for our Bringing It All Back Home panel at Other Voices where Justin Burgess from Bean In Dingle, Shane Finn from WK Fitness and Cormac Begley from Airt spoke about the business of being in business. They addressed a lot of issues during this sessions, including the obstacles they faced setting up in west Kerry, the advantages of being in business in a town like Dingle during the tourist season and life outside that same busy season.
The talk which drew the biggest crowd to the Banter tent at Bloom in the Phoenix Park last year was probably this encounter with The Happy Pear’s David and Stephen Flynn. It was the second time that we spoke to the Greystones food brothers and, though there were no handstands on this occasion, there was plenty of insights about their story to date and their views on food in Ireland in the 21st century.
It was a pleasure to welcome 3FE Coffee’s Colin Harmon to the Banter tent at the Bloom Festival in Dublin’s Phoenix Park last year. Colin is an experienced Banter hand at this state of the proceedings, but this was the first time we’ve had him for an in-depth one on one conversation about how and why he gave up a career in investment funds to dedicate himself to coffee. His move from high finance to caffeine has been a good one, as outlined in this story of his award-winning coffee, food and café business.
Everyone in Ireland has got an opinion good or bad on what our TDs do for a living, so what is it that gets these people into politics in the first place? We were joined by Kildare North TD and Social Democrats co-founder Catherine Murphy at Other Voices in Dingle, who talked about her political activism, life as a public representative, the Irish parliamentary system, new politics, the Social Democrats and making the headlines.
It’s always great when a Banter conversation goes to places you never thought they’d go and we never imagined for a moment that talking to artist Aideen Barry would lead to stories about NASA and vacuum cleaners. It was a pleasure to have Aideen with us at Other Voices in Dingle and she had loads to say about her work to date, her motivations and especially her fantastic Brittlefield retrospective.
Paul Howard is the writer who has brought us the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, but it was another dude who was on his mind when he joined us at Other Voices in Dingle. Paul was at Banter to talk about his new book I Read the News Today, Oh Boy about the life and times of Tara Browne, the inspiration behind The Beatles’ “A Day In the Life” and, as we found out, a colourful character who lived quite a life.
This week, we’re joined by Aoife Kelleher, the film-maker behind such award winning documentaries as One Million Dubliners, Strange Occurrences In A Small Irish Village and Growing Up Gay. She joined us for a fireside chat – yes, there really was a fire behind us – at Foxy Johns in Dingle during our weekend at Other Voices to talk to us about the art of storytelling on screen.
At Banter, we have always a welcome for someone with a great yarn and that certainly applies to Aoibheann McNamara. She’s the Donegal-born firebrand behind Galway restaurant Ard Bia and The Tweed Project who joined us at Foxy John’s in Dingle, Co Kerry during the Other Voices festival to talk about food, fashion and much more besides. It was one of our favourite conversations from the Other Voices series so dig in.
We keep a list of people we’d like to feature at Banter and Paul Kimmage has been on that list for ages so we were delighted to persuade him to join us at the Workman’s Club in Dublin in January to talk about his life and work as part of this year’s First Fortnight mental health festival. One of the most influential and widely read sportswriters in the country, Paul talked to us about his life as a professional cyclist, his career as a sportswriter, the mental stresses and strains that occur in sport and sportswriting and the art of the interview.
Recorded during our annual trip to Dingle, Co. Kerry for the Other Voices festival, here’s Dublin born neurologist Dr Suzanne O’Sullivan telling some tales from the frontline of psychosomatic illnesses. As she explains in her book It’s All In Your Head, the winner of the Wellcome Book Prize 2016, psychosomatic illness, where your body acts as if it’s sick but there isn’t anything wrong, are common but misunderstood and rarely discussed. Here, she talks about some of the extreme cases she has treated and what may have been behind them.
We were delighted and honoured to welcome legendary sports broadcaster Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh to Banter for our 150th outing. Recorded in a packed house at The Yacht pub in the heart of Raytown in Dublin during the No Idle Day festival for Young Hearts Run Free, here’s the mighty Mícheál talking about some infamous games, characters and occurrences during his formidable career to date.
It’s time for the the annual Banter review of the year, the show where we look at the news stories of the past 12 months which have had the most traction. As you can imagine, there was lots of mention of Brexit and Donald Trump from our guests Fintan O’Toole from The Irish Times, Elaine Buckley from the Fair Game podcast, Anna Cosgrave from the Repeal campaign and Emmet Condon from Homebeat and Another Love Story, but there was also room in the mix for other stories too, including Robbie Brady’s header against Italy, Leonard Cohen, Axel Foley and much, much more.
It’s time for our review of the year in arts and culture and it’s also the first broadcast from our now annual trip to Other Voices in Dingle, Co. Kerry. Eithne Shortall, the Chief Arts Writer at The Sunday Times – and the author of the soon to be published debut novel Love in Row 27 – joined us by the fire in the back room of Foxy John’s in downtown Dingle to run the rule over the arts and culture highlights and lowlights of 2016. Here’s Eithne on the books, films, music, theatre, TV shows and much more of the last 12 months.
We’ve heard a lot about 1916 this year so it struck us as a good idea to find out what Irish farmers were up to 100 years ago, as things took an unexpected turn that Easter in Dublin. We were joined by Dr Arlene Crampsie from UCD’s School of Geography at the Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park to discuss the state of the land 100 years ago and the difficulties and challenges which Irish farmers faced.
It’s the first time we’ve had an Olympic medal winner at Banter and that was swimmer Allison Wagner who won a silver medal for the United States at the Atlanta 1996 games behind Irish swimmer Michelle Smith. Allison and former Canadian Olympic swimmer Nikki Dryden joined us for a dive into the deep, murkier end of the swimming pool with a look at the current state of the anti-doping movement as we asked why more attention is not being paid to systematic doping schemes in sport.
It was a pleasure to say hello to Michael Shamberg. The producer of Django Unchained, Pulp Fiction, Erin Brockovich, The Big Chill, Contagion, Gattaca, Get Shorty, Garden State and tons more – and currently advisor to BuzzFeed Motion Pictures – talked to us about the state of the movie business in 2016.
Bruce Pavitt will always be associated with the Sub Pop label. He was one of the co-founders of the hugely influential Seattle grunge label in the 1980s and he joined us at Banter in Lisbon to talk about the label’s genesis, the rise and rise of Nirvana, record labels today and his involvement with new tech play 8Stem.