Agallamh 60 soicind: Mairéad Farrell
Name: Mairéad Farrell
Job: TV and radio presenter
How is your Irish?
My Irish is not very good. It is something that I am embarrassed about I have to say. It was something that was pointed out to me in second year in school by my Irish teacher Miss Geary. We were asked ‘what would you like to be when you grow up?’ and I said I really wanted to work in RTE. She kind of laughed and said ‘well your Irish isn’t good enough Mairéad.’
Who’s laughin’ now?
Yeah well, it’s just — it’s not good. I mean, now there’s a gaelscoil in Finglas but at the time you know, Northside Dublin it wasn’t the done thing.
I never went to the Gaeltacht which would be another problem I think. I was the youngest of my group of friends, and they had all started secondary school and I was still in 6th class so a couple of them went then.
I just heard these horror stories of what the meals were like and I just love food so much that I just thought I’m never going there. Three weeks just sounded like forever! I was the baby in the family my mam and dad just didn’t push me into going. They were just so chilled out by the time I came around that was just never forced into it. Unfortunately!
Have you enough irish to speak it when you’re on holidays so the locals don’t understand you?
Ah yeah and around my son as well you know – when you don’t want him to understand something.
I also have a Spanish au pair in the house so it’s quite good if I don’t want her to know something.
We do get by, and I do understand my boyfriend and he would understand me. So yes we have done that and we have done that loads of times.
DO YOU HAVE any favourite irish words?
Amadán I think is the one
That one ‘cause it’s one my dad has always used and I like it.
Mairéad is a very Irish name. Do foreigners ever have difficulty pronouncing your name?
They do. Mainly my Spanish au pair she calls me ‘my-ryde’ – sounds like she’s saying ‘my ride’!
And bizarrely British people seem to have a problem with it as well – but they eventually get there. You can understand that – I know there’s lots of Welsh names that I’d struggle with
But mainly Elena my au pair calls me ‘my ride’
You have a fada in your name does it ever annoy you when pepole leave it out?
No it doesn’t annoy me when it’s left out. It’s there and I always use it once I’m signing anything. I’ll use it but if people don’t put it in, they don’t put it in.
I have two sisters called Olga and Simone, so there was no Irish names in the family, and that’s how I ended up with mine.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to everything, I mean like you kind of have to in here. I’m a pop girl at heart that’s what I am I just love pop music I think people think that means Girls Aloud or something but you know there’s so much popular music now I love. It’s handy working in Today FM because I get to listen to the music I like all day!