Cormac Ó hEadhra (41 years old) is a bilingual broadcaster and Seachtain na Gaeilge ambassador. From An Cheatrú Rua, he lives in Dublin with his wife, Ruth, and their two sons, Eoin (6 years old) and Cian (six months)
I am the fifth of six children. I’m the closest in age to a younger brother and we had a great time – playing football, going to the beach and swimming together. We don’t have all the amenities Dublin can offer, but we do have all the freedom of the countryside.
What are three words that describe you?
It’s not a word but… I need to laugh. Diligent and thoughtful.
What motivates you?
Curiosity. Curiosity is a gift and I love chatting with people.
Best advice given?
There is a very nice phrase in Irish – “ag baint fód as”. It means let go, but the proper meaning is to let go of something – your job or project – and you will get there.
The Irish language is at the heart of who you are…
Video of the day
I grew up in Gaeltacht. We speak English with my father and Irish with my mother. And I spoke Irish with my siblings and still do. When I texted them it was a pain in the butt until the phone type learned Irish. The Irish language informs a lot about our land, culture and way of doing things. Irish is at the core of my identity.
And are you raising your children as Gaeilge?
One of the greatest joys of my life is that my son speaks to me in Irish, and it is a renewed joy every day. His first words were “suí síos” – sit down. He often goes around cafes calling people “suí síos,” whether he knows them or not.
Does your language give you a different perspective?
I come from a minority linguistic background, so my understanding of the language shows my perspective on diversity. I hate seeing people fight just because they’re in the minority.
The best advice you give?
Be kind to yourself and don’t listen to the negative voice in your head.
Has being a father changed you?
Of course. You have to be selfless, especially in the early years. It makes you grateful because it makes you realize how precious life is. It makes you responsible, but also fun. One big change was that I stopped drinking. I did this even though I never had a problem with drinks.
So why did you stop?
When Eoin was six months old, I had a few beers the night before and the next morning he woke up at 5am. I remember saying to myself with a hangover – what am I doing? I’m lucky I don’t need to drink to enjoy a night out. Life would be better without alcohol and I don’t miss it.
Why does it work for you and Sarah McInerney on Drivetime?
We respect each other and we laugh at each other’s rubbish jokes. There is a seriousness when needed but also an appetite to be laughed at.
But you started out as a lawyer?
I wanted to understand how the law worked, and for journalism and broadcasting, it wasn’t a bad thing to study. It also makes it possible for me to interrogate people. I did it so I could have options. I was called to the bar in 2007 and then I went back to work so my wife could finish her schooling. Now she is a lawyer. People who have been at the bar for many years tell me that there is a lot of work but they do not get paid. After that, I still had fun at RTÉ.
Why do you swim in seas and lakes?
It was an instant hit of the day. I am a cold water addict.
Any plans for Paddy’s Day?
I think it’s great that Seachtain na Gaeilge is over a week long, there’s something very Irish about that! Seriously, I think it’s very fitting that it happens on St Patrick’s Day, a day when the whole world celebrates Ireland and we celebrate all things Irish. As a child, I participated in the parade in An Cheatrú Rua – I ‘played’ the triangle. I operated on that triangle every year on Paddy’s Day throughout my childhood.
Seachtain na Gaeilge runs until March 17 (snag.ie). ‘Drive time’ broadcasts on RTÉ Radio 1, Monday-Friday, 4:30 – 7pm
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/radio/upfront-broadcaster-cormac-o-headhra-on-how-the-gaeltacht-shaped-him-41436072.html Prepaid: Broadcaster Cormac Ó hEadhra on how Gaeltacht shaped him