Documentary on Newstalk recently aired the premiere of ‘Trinity’, my radio documentary about the lives of the many people who live, work study, and play in Trinity College.

Using a lively mix of interviews, location recordings, sound effects and music, TRINITY  explores the stories behind Ireland’s oldest university.

Patricia Mc Cormack and Paul Kelly tell what it was like to medical students in Trinity during the Seventies, while current chaplain Julian Hamilton gives an insight into his job.

Head of Sports, Michelle Tanner, talks about the huge range of sporting activity taking place in the college, and Linda Doyle explains the role of provost, and the fact that she’s the first female provost in the college’s 430 year history.

Aoife Lucy tells about being awarded the coveted role of scholar, with its benefits of academic opportunity – and free food.

We hear how Trinity has produced four Presidents and two Taoisigh among its graduates, and Leah Keogh from the Students Union discusses the issues that affect today’s students.

Linda Doyle tells what it’s like to live in the provost’s house at Number One Grafton Street, and librarian Helen Shenton talks about the stunning Long Room in the library and how the college is a repository for over five million books.

A vox pop features a colourful selection of people’s memories of Trinity, while Leonard Hobbs reveals how the college, despite its fabled past, is at the cutting edge of research and innovation.

Student Oisin O’Reilly enthuses about Trinity Players, one of the oldest college drama society’s in the world, and we hear of the many famous writers and actors who are graduates of the university.

Kathleen O’Toole-Brennan talks about the Trinity Access Programme and its success in opening up a college education to those who previously would have seen Trinity as out of their reach, and Daire Hennessy, a graduate of the programme, tell how he now mentors others to follow in his footsteps.

Aoife Lucy reminisces about her time living in rooms on the campus, while attendant Alan O’Keefe talks about his job, and the many changes he’s seen in the college in his 44 years of service.

Domhnall Fahey recalls social life in Trinity, while Patricia McCormack tells of her wedding in the historic college chapel.

We hear of the many films and tv series that used the campus as a location, and botanist Jane Stout then looks to the future, explaining Trinity’s role at the forefront of biodiversity.

Provost Linda Doyle gives an overview of the college’s many roles, and we finish with other contributors reflecting on their hopes for the future of Trinity.

Quotes from TRINITY:

“It was like a gateway into Wonderland for me.” Patricia McCormack, former medical student.

“He thought to himself: ‘God – I’d love to be there’, but didn’t think it was possible.” Kathleen O’Toole-Brennan, Deputy Director, Trinity Access Programme.

“The social side is probably more fun than you’ll ever have in your life.” Domhnall Fahey, business graduate.

“If you say: ‘What’s a university there for?’ I’d say to you ‘A university is there to change the world’.” Linda Doyle, Provost.

“We’ve got 850,000 maps – it’s so rich, what we have.” Helen Shenton, archivist and librarian.

“The best thing is seeing people flourish.  That for me is the reason I get up every morning.”  Michelle Tanner, Head of Sport.

“I’ve always thought of Trinity as this giant treasure chest, with resources that we can open up to the wider public.” Kathleen O’Toole-Brennan, Deputy Director, Trinity Access Programme.

“It’s a little green oasis in the middle of the city.” Jane Stout, botanist.

“My hope for the Trinity Access Programme is that we get to the stage where it’s no longer needed.” Daire Hennessy, graduate via the Trinity Access Programme.

Trinity can be listened to as a podcast on Documentary on Newstalk.

the bots

Bots picDocumentary on Newstalk recently aired the premiere of ‘The Bots’, my radio documentary about the National Botanic Gardens, and the lives of those who live, work, study, and relax there.

Using a lively mix of interviews, location recordings, sound effects and music, The Bots explores the stories behind one of Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions.

Director Matthew Jebb gives an overview of the role of the Botanic Gardens and explains how it hosts six hundred thousand visitors each year. Matthew also tell of its research role, and how the blight that caused the Potato Famine of the Eighteen Forties was identified by the then director of the Gardens.

Blathnaid Farrell, who grew up nearby, reminisces about the Gardens when she was a child, while librarian Alexandra Caccamo tells of a history going back much further, with some books in the library dating back to the sixteenth century.

Matthew Jebb talks of the joys of living on site, and tells the story of the Director’s Residence, which predates the founding of the Gardens in 1795.

Brendan Sayers gives an insight into the running of the glasshouses, and how tropical heat needs to be generated for some plant species.

Glyn Anderson and Charlotte Salter Townsend talk about the guided tours they give, with Glyn reflecting on the refreshment options available to the modern-day visitor.

Contributors and visitors reminisce lightly about their memories of the first thing they ever grew, while Ciaran Kavanagh and Alfreda O’Brien, who run the nearby Gravediggers pub, talk about the colourful associations between their premises and the Botanic Gardens.

John Mulhern, Principal of the Teagasc College of Horticulture, discusses how hundreds of students study at their Glasnevin site within the Gardens, while Felicity Gaffney, the manager of the Visitor Centre, gives details of the surprising range of cultural and artistic events that are staged each year in the fifty-acre grounds.

Matthew Jebb tell of the wildlife he’s encountered while living on site, and Colin Kelleher talks of his role as a taxonomist and the task of naming the vast numbers of specimens that have been catalogued in the Gardens.

The programme concludes with contributors revealing what the Botanic Gardens means to them, and their hopes for its future.

Quotes from THE BOTS:

“The first place we made for was the glasshouse. And when you went in the heat would just hit you. In those days you wouldn’t have central heating at home – so that was super.” Blathnaid Farrell, childhood visitor to the Botanic Gardens.

“Our back garden is about an acre and it backs onto the Botanic Gardens and the cemetery. The neighbours are basically the cemetery people and plants.” Ciaran Kavanagh, The Gravedigger Pub.

“One of the real pleasures of the job is that I wake up at work each morning.” Matthew Jebb, Director, Botanic Gardens.

“Our book collection extends back to the Fifteen Thirties.” Alexandra Caccamo, Librarian.

“The pub, the cemetery, the Botanics, it’s like the Bermuda Triangle – you do disappear in that triangle in Glasnevin, and before you know it, four hours have passed.” Alfreda O’Brien, The Gravedigger Pub.

“In the Herbarium there are about six hundred thousand dried specimens”. Colin Kelleher, Taxonomist.

“The world is changing quite a lot, and I think the big positive is that more and more people are paying attention to the natural world.” Charlotte Salter Townsend, tour guide.

“It took 25 years to put it together. There are 11 kilometres of glazing bars in this building, and it’s a work of art.” Matthew Jebb, Director, Botanic Gardens.

“I used to go into the hothouse – when I missed Italy.” Ciaran Kavanagh, The Gravedigger Pub.

The Bots can be listened to as a podcast on Documentary on Newstalk.




Bray HeadDrama on Newstalk recently aired the premiere of SECRETS” my radio play that travels back in time to a seaside holiday in Sixties Ireland, during which two women face an intriguing moral dilemma.

“Secrets” tells the story of the extended Lawlor family who take a summer holiday in Bray, County Wicklow, in 1964.  Unaware that such holidays will be soon made redundant by package holidays to sun destinations, they go about their usual two-week break. Despite the surface good humour, tensions are evident in the family dynamic, and when the Lawlors cross paths with a holidaying Scottish family the seeds are sown for a dramatic outcome.

The 1964 scenes are viewed through the eyes of twelve-year-old Damian Lawlor, while simultaneously the now-adult Damian looks back on the action.

Reappraising the moral choices of that summer, over fifty years later, gives Damian another dilemma now as he has to decide whether or not to leave the past undisturbed.

Starring Aonghus Og McAnally, Mary Murray, Mark O’Regan, Marion O’Dwyer, and Claudia Carroll, SECRETS was written and produced by Brian Gallagher.  The programme was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.

SECRETS can also be listened to as a podcast at :

literacy association of ireland book awards

Very exciting to have Pawns short-listed for the Literacy Association of Ireland book award 2019, in the 10-13 Children’s section.

The ceremony took place in St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra, and the overall winner was Bright Sparks.  It was an honour to be invited to the prize-giving ceremony and to be presented with a cut glass trophy as the author of Pawns.

wigs on the green

My new radio documentary, Wigs on the Green, is scheduled for broadcast on Newstalk 106-108 fm.

St Stephen's GreenExploring the stories behind Ireland’s most popular park, St Stephen’s Green.

This weekend, Documentary on Newstalk airs the premiere of ‘Wigs on the Green’, in which IMRO-nominated producer Brian Gallagher looks at the lives of those who work and play in the vicinity of Ireland’s most famous park, St Stephen’s Green.

Wigs on the Green will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 21st July at 7am with repeat broadcast on Saturday 27that 9pm

Using a lively mix of interviews, location recordings, sound effects and music, Wigs on the Green explores the stories behind Ireland’s most popular park, St Stephen’s Green.

Historian Arthur Flynn tells how the Green was originally used for pubic executions, before becoming a private park that in time was gifted to the people of Dublin by Arthur Guinness. Therese Casey, the Park Superintendent, talks of the challenges of running a city-centre park that gets 4.6 million visitors annually.

The programme looks at the human interest stories associated with institutions located on the Green, such as Adolf Hitler’s half brother working in the Shelbourne Hotel, and the canvas from the portrait of Queen Victoria in the College of Surgeons being used to make bandages during the 1916 Rising.

Sinead O’Kane and Pat Rooney reminisce respectively about being a boarder at Loreto on the Green, and visiting the 1500-seater Green Cinema, while Arthur Flynn tells the story of the little-known Huguenot cemetery at Merrion Row, and its link to the family of Samuel Beckett.

Niall Burgess, the Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs, gives a fascinating look behind the scenes at the historic Iveagh House, while Raymond Mooney tells of the changes that have taken place at the Hibernian Club, which was originally a gentlemen’s club founded by Daniel O’Connell.

Contributors reminisce light-heartedly about their memories of Stephen’s Green, while Edmund Lynch, one of the founders of the Irish Gay Rights Association, recalls the important role played by Rice’s, one of Dublin’s first gay-friendly pubs.

We hear of the social changes to the area, as observed by Eddie McEvoy, who has been a barber on Grafton Street for fifty-five years, then Bridget Spain explains why she loves her job as the minister of the nearby Unitarian Church.

Looking to the past, Arthur Flynn tells of Dublin’s first Catholic University at Newman House, while looking to the future the impact of one-way streets, pedestrianisation and the Luas system is reviewed.  The programme concludes with contributors expressing what Stephen’s Green means to them, and their hopes for its future.

BROADCAST ­TIMES: WIGS ON THE GREEN will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 21st July at 7am with repeat broadcast on Saturday 27th July at 9pm

PODCAST from after the first broadcast.

CREDITS: WIGS ON THE GREEN was produced by Brian Gallagher, and funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.

Quotes from WIGS ON THE GREEN:

“Adolf Hitler’s half brother, Alyious Hitler, worked here.  He would have washed the pots in the kitchen.”  Denis O’Brien Concierge, Shelbourne Hotel.

 “I started in ’64 and I’m still working there – I must be the oldest working in Grafton Street,” Eddie McEvoy, barber.

Trying to get the work done safely – with 4.6 million visitors it’s impossible sometimes to get grass cut,” Gerry Donaghue, St Stephen’s Green Parks Service Manager

“For a lot of people, going into Rices was the start of their journey to their full freedom as a person.” Edmund Lynch, founder member, Irish Gay Rights Movement.

“We employ over seventy nationalities, speaking forty languages, working in almoist every time zone.  So this is a global organisation, working for Ireland, centred and headquarted, in a quiet house on the south side of St Stephen’s Green.” Niall Breslan, Director General, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

easy rider

My new radio documentary, Easy Rider, is scheduled for broadcast on Newstalk 106-108 fm.

Easy Rider: Documentary On Newstalk

New Irish Radio Documentary Celebrating 60 Glorious Years of the Honda 50

This weekend, Documentary on Newstalk airs the premiere of ‘Easy Rider’, in which IMRO-nominated producer Brian Gallagher looks at the social and transport phenomenon that is the Honda 50.

Easy Rider will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 20th January at 7am with repeat broadcast on Saturday 26th January at 9pm

Using a lively mix of interviews, location recordings, sound effects and period popular music, Easy Rider explores the story of Ireland’s love affair with the Honda 50.

Sixty years after the first Honda 50s were produced in Japan, the programme explores the huge social impact that mass-produced, affordable transport had on Irish life, with the Honda 50 going on to become the biggest selling vehicle in the history of motor transport

Our narrator takes us on a journey through early-Seventies Ireland – with music and news snippets of the period recreating that world – beginning with the day he buys his new Honda, and ending when he gets his first car, and sadly bids the Honda farewell.

Side by side with the narrator’s story we hear from a fascinating array of individuals whose lives have been shaped by the Honda 50, from playwright Seamus O’Rourke, who used real motor cycles onstage during his play Ride On, to Niall D’Alton, who has traversed Route 66 from Chicago to LA on four occasions for charity, to bike enthusiast Alfreda O’Brien, who travelled by motorcycle in her wedding dress on the day of her marriage.

Conal Newman talks entertainingly about running the annual Nifty Fifty race in Mondello Park, while Jason Plunkett tells of setting up the Leinster branch of the Vintage Japanese Motor Cycle club, which holds an open day each year at the National Exhibition Centre

Contributors reminisce colourfully about their first motor cycle experiences, we hear of the clever marketing strategy employed by Honda to popularise the Honda 50 – and how versions of it are being manufactured in Asia to this day – and we close the programme with people’s final memories of a bike that has become both a firm favourite and a transport icon.

Quotes from EASY RIDER:

“When I’m out on the bike I’m not seventy any more.  I’m still seventeen.”  Conal Newman, Nifty Fifty Race organiser.

“In rural Ireland women were on the lookout for bicycle clips.  If you were seen putting down a helmet in the corner of the dancehall – then you were on your way!”  Seamus O’Rourke, playwright and actor.

 “The only person who gets an escort like we get, is the president of the United States of America.” Niall D’Alton, Route 66 charity fund-raiser.

 “I see some of the undertakers now have converted a sidecar into a hearse.  Not that I want to go anytime soon, but I can imagine that if I’m going, I wouldn’t mind going in something like that!”  Philip Carey, Goldwing rider.

“He’d pulled out the wires, and I said ‘get off, that’s my Honda Fifty.’   And he said ‘How do you know?  They’re all red and white.’”  Mary Mulherin, retired teacher.

“And I just got on the back, in my wedding dress, with my bouquet, and we cruised off, all around Glasnevin and back to the wedding party.”  Alfreda O’Brien, motor cycle enthusiast.

“You could actually start the ignition with a lollypop stick, and once you got the ignition on you were free to go.” Niall D’Alton, Route 66 charity rider.

LISTEN LIVE: EASY RIDER will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 20th January at 7am with repeat broadcast on Saturday 26th January at 9pm

PODCAST: The podcast will be available at after the broadcast.

CREDITS: EASY RIDER was produced by Brian Gallagher, and funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.

that will never catch on

Chinese take-away menuMy radio documentary THAT WILL NEVER CATCH ON   was broadcast recently on Newstalk 106-108 fm, and can also be listened to as a podcast via the link below.

When did Ireland go from being a country with very limited cuisine to every town having a pizza parlour and Chinese take-away? And how did people react to the change? When did smoking go from being all-pervasive to being frowned upon? Is the convenience of the mobile phone outweighed by its capacity to be disruptive socially?

These and other, wide-ranging questions are examined in lively fashion by a disparate group of contributors in THAT WILL NEVER CATCH ON.

From Seventies banking practice, when men were recruited in the autumn and women the following spring – to give them time to train for their role as typists – to present day technology etiquette among twenty-somethings, the shifts in how Irish people live their lives are explored.

The programme looks at work, the arts, food, technology, religion, holidays, sport, and the elderly

Ranging from light-hearted recollections of changes that were only fads, and colorful memories of people’s first experience of take-away food, to serious discussion of social isolation and the effect of technology on children, the programme combines entertainment with thought-provoking reflection.

Coming for a wide range of occupations, and with ages ranging from their twenties to their seventies, our contributors look back on the best and worst change in their lifetimes, ending the programme with their aspirations for what they would like to see in the Ireland of the future.


“Dogs in the office is a big thing. In San Fran Cisco there are more dogs than children.” Peter Rogers, marketing worker.

My first sweet and sour chicken – I can’t tell you how awful I thought it was. The idea of putting something sweet like pineapple with chicken just destroyed meat. And rice on top of it – rice was something you had for a pudding.” Pat Moylan theatre producer.

“One husband told me his wife didn’t know anything. And he was terrified he’d pass away first.” Mary Rooney, computer trainer.

“You counted the rings – if there were four rings the call was for you If the phone rang it was ‘shush! Count the rings!’” Clare Garrihy, Doolin Ferries.

“There were these older ladies who served the meals, and they’d shout ‘Gent’s liver!’. The guys got a bigger portion than the ladies.” Miriam Rogers, banker.

Everything is over-packaged. You can’t get a bar of chocolate you can open any more.” Pat Moylan, theatre producer.

“This is the best time to be alive, from a music, movie, television perspective – this is the golden age of television.” Peter Rogers

THAT WILL NEVER CATCH ON was edited and produced by Brian Gallagher.  The programme was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.