The London Ear // Show 230 – Irish Ambassador, Adrian O’Neill

Nessy and Ambassador Adrian O'Neill

I was delighted to finally have the chance to speak to Irish Ambassador to Great Britain, Adrian O’Neill, on the show.

Ambassador O’Neill has been in London for about 18 months now and it was great to catch up. Hopefully later in the year, Ambassador O’Neill will come back on the show and choose an hour of his favourite tunes (he chose Villagers to play on this week’s show) but today was all about St Brigid’s Day and how the festivities have grown from a day’s celebration to a whole weekend’s full of events.

‘Get your Irish passports here’

Ok, so not quite. If you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen the tweet I sent last week about new photo booths which enable you to take your photo and get a code to renew your Irish passport online. I had to find out more from the man himself about what was going on.

You can now renew your passport online. Handy url to remember

With all the news about the processing time for passport applications, (Thanks Brexit!) Renewing online will take about ten days plus postage. An added bonus is that you don’t actually need to get your application witnessed as it’s all done online.

Children’s passports are different, you can renew online but you still need to post in parental consent. (I might do a blog post separately on renewing online.

First timers still need to fill in a paper application for the time being.

Ambassador O’Neill chats about St Brigid’s Day

St Brigid’s Day celebrations started in 2018 in London and has quickly grown. Last year’s event in the Embassy of Ireland was one of the most spoken about. The festivities celebrate the creativeness of Irish women.

St Brigids Day in London 2019 - logo

Here are just some of the St Brigid’s events happening:

St Brigid’s Day at the Irish Embassy: You’ll be doing extremely well to bag a ticket for the even in the Embassy. You can read all about what’s happening here.

90 Women Artists – We spoke to Martina Hamilton of Hamilton’s Gallery in Sligo on last week’s show who curated this exhibition. 90 individual art pieces all based around the poem “St Brigid’s Day 1989” by Leland Bardwell in 12 Star Gallery.

The Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith has a number of events during the week.

Jan 31st sees the launch of Old Voices, New Perspectives, an art exhibition fearing six Irish female artists: painters Margaret Egan, Hetty Lawlor, Julie Cusack, Deidre Walsh and sculptors Orla de Brí and Ana Duncan.


St Brigid’s Day itself sees, what I think will be an incredible evening, taking place. Former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese is chairing a Conference entitled ‘Troubles, Tragedy and Trauma: Women in Northern Ireland Politics’.

Taken from the ICC website: “The latest ICC annual conference on politics and society in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement will hear the personal political journeys of:  Margaret Ritchie (SDLP), Claire Sugden (Independent Unionist), Avila Kilmurray (Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition) , Michelle Gildernew MP (Sinn Féin), Sorcha Eastwood (Alliance Party).”

That’s not all in Hammersmith though, February 2nd has all female night of comedy. ‘Gas Gaelic Girls’ is hosted by funny lady Anna Clifford.

London Irish Centre in Camden as an All Female Trad Session on February 2nd, led by flautist Eimear McGweon. It’s an early evening session. Later on that night, Eimear will be playing again as part of a night of music hosted by her of the telly and radio, Angela Scanlon

Get your earholes ready for performances from Tara Flynn, Anne-Marie O’Farrell, Abby Oliveira, Natalya O Flaherty, Lisa Lambe and the amazing Gemma Hayes. I still love her album ‘Night on My Side’.

Irish Film London are running a series of events over the weekend. On Sunday, there will be a Irish Women in Film & TV Panel Discussion + Networking reception at Regents Street Cinema. Taking part will be Dr. Susan Liddy and Anne Morrison. They will be joined by actress Eileen O’Higgins (Brooklyn, Mary Queen of Scots) and film, TV & new media producer Sienna Beckman. 

Later on Sunday, Regent’s Street Cinema will play host to  Katie – UK Premier. This will be the first cinematic screening of Ross Whittaker’s documentary about the Bray Boxer.

You can get a PDF download of all the St Brigid’s Day’s events from the Embassy of Ireland in Great Britain here

The London Ear // Show 230 January 26th 2019 – Playlist

Here’s this week’s playlist for The London Ear.

1. Bouts: Love’s Lost Landings Part 2
2. The Murder Capital: Feeling Fades
3. Dermot Kennedy: For Island Fires and Families
4. whenyoung: Never Let Go
5. The Cranberries: All Over Now
6. Thanks Brother: We Caught It
7. Chat with Ambassador Adrian O’Neill
8. Loah and Elaine Mai: Nothing
9. Chat with Ambassador Adrian O’Neill Part 2
10. Villagers: Sweet Saviour
11. ASmyth: Fever
12. Roisin Murphy: The Rumble

Listen On Demand to The London Ear

Thanks for listening, The London Ear broadcast on DAB radio, Saorview and outside Ireland you can listen online. You can listen to the show again on the RTE player. The show is broadcast every Saturday at 1300.

Don’t forget to check out the RTE 2XM website.

Thanks so much for listening to the show, and for sticking with me this week with a massively dodgy voice. Confession time. I didn’t speak for five hours before recording to make sure something would come out.

Don’t forget, if you’re Irish, outside Ireland and involved in music, arts and culture, get in touch. The London Ear is for you, it’s my job to get your voice heard. (Even if mine is sometimes croaky).

Until next week.. look after yourselves.

Photo of Mary McAleese taken from ICC website.