This is Bantercast number 99 and the first of four podcasts in a row featuring some colourful legends. We welcomed chef, writer and food business owner Yotam Ottolenghi to the Banter tent at the Ballymaloe Litfest in May for a freewheeling conversation about his life and times – and he’d much to say about taste, lifestyles, his own rise to top and much more besides.
We kick off our autumn/winter series with a fascinating conversation about bees. Erin Tiedeken from the All Ireland Pollinator Plan joined us at Bloom to talk about how one third of Ireland’s bee species are threatened with extinction and the efforts being made by the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan to ensure bees can survive and thrive. Funding for implementation of this plan has been provided by Bord Bía and the Heritage Council.
It’s always good to speak to a legend and they don’t come more legendary than Neneh Cherry. She was in Dublin a few weeks ago to speak to us at the National Gallery of Ireland as part of the MusicTown festival. It’s an enthralling encounter with a diamond interviewee who had much to talk about regarding her life and work.
When it comes to putting on events and festivals, the hardest issue most organisers will have to deal with has to do with funding. As part of EventBrite’s Free: Celebrating Free Events For All exhibition at Teeling’s Whiskey Distillery in Dublin in April, we were joined by Colin Hart (founder and creative director of independent ad agency The Public House), Sam Bishop (manager of Happenings and founder of Street Feast and Granby Park) and Aine O’Mahony (marketing and event management consultant) to talk about the ins and outs of sponsorship.
One of the questions which comes up again and again at different Banter discussions has to do with who sets the news agenda. Be it the general election or Syria, people are curious about why certain stories make the mix, the filters which are used to make those decisions and the stories which don’t make the cut as a result. This Banter discussion at Wigwam in Dublin brought together Susan Daly (editor, The Journal), Richie Oakley (editor, The Times Ireland edition) and Vincent Murphy (editor, Morning Ireland, RTÉ Radio One) to talk about their work, the decisions they make, the factors which inform those decisions and other issues around the editorial process.
One of the most fascinating Banter at Bloom discussions last summer involved lessons in looking and listening. We’re joined here by Niall Hatch from Birdwatch Ireland and Richard Collins from the RTÉ Radio One Mooney Goes Wild team to talk about the huge growth in interest in birdwatching – and they’ve also lots of advice for newcomers to the twitching game.
This week, we’re looking at the business of food and specifically what’s required to keep an Irish food business going in the long run. The Country Choice deli and café opened in Nenagh in 1982 and the Burren Smokehouse business opened in Co Clare in 1989. Many years later in a much different Ireland, both are still in business – and still growing. We were joined at Banter at Bloom by Peter Ward from Country Choice and Birgitta Curtin from Burren Smokehouse to hear from them about the changing environment for an Irish food business.
With more and more villages throughout the country now without a local shop, a campaign is underway to change this and bring back a place to go for the messages. Recorded at Banter at Bloom, Declan Rice from the Kilkenny LEADER Partnership Company talks about what’s involved in putting together a network of community-run shops and cafés in rural Ireland.
This week, it’s all about charities. Recorded at Banter at Bloom in the Phoenix Park in June 2015, we hear from Aidan Stacey (head of fundraising at GOAL), Joan Freeman (founder of Pieta House) and Marian Carroll (CEO of the Ronald McDonald House Charity) about the current lie of the land in the charity sector.
Ahead of our return to Dublin’s Phoenix Park in June, we’ll be podcasting some of the highlights from last year’s Banter tent at Bloom in the Park over the next few weeks. Here, we’re joined by Darragh McCullough (RTE’s Ear to the Ground and deputy farming editor Irish Independent), Richard Moeran (chairman Agri Aware) and John Lynskey (Chairman of the IFA National Sheep Committee) to talk about such issues around Irish farming as farm size, price volatility, the ageing population of farmers and farm viability.
Last year at the Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, we spoke to award winning garden designer, author and broadcaster Fiann Ó Nualláin not once but twice. In the first half of this podcast, we hear from Fiann as he talks about how you can find remedies for ailments and source for beauty treatments in your garden. In the second half, he talks about the gardens he’s put together with transition year students from Ashton School in Cork and Collinstown Park Community College in Clondalkin and we’ll also hear from Collinstown students Luke Rothwell and James Adair.
There’s a grand stretch in the evening and that means we’re looking forward to summer and especially Banter at various summer festivals. Last year, we were in situ at the Phoenix Park in Dublin for the annual Bloom festival and here’s Bloom show manager Gary Graham talking about what’s involved in putting on the biggest show in town.
Every year, we host a Banter event as part of the First Fortnight mental health arts festival and this year, we were joined at Dublin’s Sugar Club by snooker legend Willie Thorne. The man known as Mr Maximum talked to us about his career on and off the snooker table and the many troubles and problems he’s faced because of addiction and depression.
It’s five years since civil war broke out in Syria. In those five years, hundreds of thousands of Syrian people have been killed and millions more have been displaced in the brutal conflict between Assad and those opposed to his rule. We were joined at Banter by GOAL‘s chief executive Barry Andrews, Médecins Sans Frontières Ireland director Jane-Ann McKenna and travel writer and author of My Home is Your Home: A Journey round Syria Mary Russell to talk about the human and cultural cost of the conflict to date.
This week, it’s all about the Dublin accent. This Banter saw Story Bud film-maker Jenny Keogh, Dublin Hun illustrator and artist Aoife Dooley and writer and film-maker Derek O’Connor join us at MVP to discuss the evolution of the capital city’s accent, language and slang. You’re going to learn some bleedin’ rapid stuff in the next hour.
Banter is heading back to the Ballymaloe LitFest in May and here’s a taste of what we did at the premier food festival in the country last year. We were joined by food writer, author and former Chez Panisse pastry guru David Lebovitz and it’s one for anyone with a sweet tooth and an addiction to the sweeter stuff in life.
This week’s podcast was recorded during the Audi Dublin International Film Festival and features a conversation with Peter Murphy and Rachael Moriarty, the directors of new Irish film Traders. Staring Killian Scott, Traders is about happens when ordinary folks facing financial ruin and misery decide to kill each other to win money, all the while obeying a strict code of conduct. Peter and Rachel talk about the film, the inspiration behind it and the work which has gone into getting it from idea to screen. It was recorded in the back of an Audi Q7 – the first ever Banter in Cars! – and big thanks to all at Audi, Paddy and Elena at 360PR and Nell at Element Pictures for their help with this.
As the country prepares to go to the polls to vote in the 2016 general election – the first 2016 general election anyway – The Journal’s Sinead O’Carroll, The Irish Times’ Hugh Linehan and DCU’s Jane Suiter joined us at Banter for a review of the campaign so far. In front of a lively and engaged audience in Dublin’s MVP, we look at the coverage of the campaign, the state of the parties and likely outcomes after Ireland votes for a new Dail.
Our final podcast from our December 2015 trip to Dingle for Other Voices is with Conor Horgan and Katie Holly, the team behind The Queen of Ireland. This documentary film focuses on Rory O’Neill, better known as Panti Bliss, and was made in the lead-up to the referendum on marriage equality. Director Conor and producer Katie talk about the motivation and process behind the critically acclaimed film, as well as their own careers and upcoming projects. We think we even got a promise from Katie to bring Grace Jones to Dingle in 2016 so we might hold her to that one.
If you’re interested in Irish pop culture – and Banter certainly is – you will have already come across Brand New Retro, the site which has curated and digitised thousands of images, articles and adverts from an ever-growing archive of vintage Irish magazines and publications from the pre-internet age. To co-incide with the publication of a Brand New Retro book, Brian McMahon, Joe Collins and Sinead Kenny from the site joined us at Banter to talk about Irish pop culture over the last few decades.