11 July 2020 The Irish Film & Television Network

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Making the Cut

Making the Cut…Career Advice from Mairéad Ni Chuaig
13 Mar 2013 : Dylan Newe
Mairéad would happily trade red carpets for outdoor adventure
One aspect that both industry and audiences across the Irish TV landscape have long agreed about is TG4’s pioneering prowess and appeal when it comes to travel shows. From Amú le Hector, Déanta in Éirinn to O Tholg go Tolg, the station has constantly excelled in bringing vivid and subversive twists to the genre and its new six-part series WWOOFÁIL looks to be no exception.

We speak with the gorgeous Mairéad for this weeks ‘Making the Cut’ where she offers an exclusive insight into being a TG4 presenter. She tells us why she trades beauty for charm in the job, who she admires and why she'd rather be milking goats in the Sevilla foothills.

Exploring the world of the organization WWOOF, which stands for ‘World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms’, the presenters, station weathergirl Mairéad Ni Chuaig and sports pundit Conall Ó Máirtín have travelled from farms in Cavan to Sweden, by way of exotic locations throughout The Algarve and Morocco.

The duo have spent time working on organic farms and learning about living organically and self-sustainingly and the show looks to be yet another popular addition to the station as it begins airing next Thursday night (March 21) at 10pm.

Generally, working as a presenter on my new show WWOOFÁIL for TG4 my day usually began with... A double espresso to set me up for the day! Each day with WWOOFÁIL was completely different and unpredictable. We usually woke up to the sound of the crew arriving to film us waking up in our unusual surroundings! We began our adventure in The Gyreum Eco Lodge in Sligo, and completed our journey in Peacock Pavilions, an olive farm and boutique hotel in Marrakech, Morocco. When I set off on my ‘wwoofing’ adventure, I envisioned roaming picturesque countryside, living cheaply on farms, and spending my days happily bathing in the sunshine with like-minded happy people. My ‘wwoofing’ experience was this and more. I learned new skills, sampled beautiful food, learned about different cultures and met beautiful, wonderful and zany people. I milked goats at sunrise on a farm situated in the foothills of the Sierra Morena, some 50 Km north of Sevilla I surfed in beautiful Portugal. I meditated at a Buddhist retreat in Cavan. I rode beautiful Icelandic ponies in Sweden, I picked olives in colorful Morocco and Conall and I helped build a chicken house at an Eco lodge in Sligo. On my journey I met wonderful characters like the energetic Colm, the distinguished Desmond, the Tibetan monk Rimpoche, laid back bohemian Klaus, Meryl the beautiful goat girl, Matt the trumpet player, the forces of nature that go by the names Ninny and Life, and the lovely people at Peacock Pavilion. My advice for future WWOOFers—is to be ready for anything. Enjoy the adventure, and bring your own tea bags. :)

The most common misconception people have about being a presenter is... That it is a glamorous job! Outdoor cold showers and no mirrors on an ecological farm in Portugal. Sleeping in a shed with haystacks and many four legged furry friends in ice cold Sweden. Building a chicken house in torrential rain at an eco lodge in Sligo in the middle of Summer. Picking slugs from plants and freeing them into the wild at a Tibetan Buddhist centre in Cavan. Glamorous? No. Fun? God yes!

The practical tips I would give to somebody who wants to be a presenter is.... Follow your dreams. Play on your strengths. Grow a thick skin, and always stay real. I think it's important to let your personality shine and to choose projects that genuinely interest you. I am a travel junkie, and I always hoped I could combine travel with work.Presenting an alternative travel show in Irish for TG4 with my talented & fun co-presenter Conal, and great crew is a dream fulfilled.

The greatest person or influence in my career that helped me get where I am today is… My mother Maggie and my father Micheál. We were blessed to grow up in a house immersed in the arts. We were encouraged to follow our dreams, and their love of the arts greatly shaped my career and where I am today.

The best thing about being a working as a presenter or weathergirl is... I love what I do. I am very lucky to be able to work through the Irish Language with TG4, a progressive station with excellent programming. I work in a creative positive environment with great people. That is a gift.

The TV presenter I observe and look up to for inspiration would be.... I feel the best presenter is the most inquisitive. I love following Michael Palin’s escapades around the globe. His thirst for adventure is contagious. And his effervescent personality shines bright in his travel shows. I always admired and respected the late Eamonn De Butlers nature documentary making. As a lover of the Arts I think TG4’s flagship arts show Imeall is fantastic.

Having started on TG4, I believe support for Irish-language programming is very important... I believe it’s important to stay resilient and creative through tough times. I am very proud of the high quality programming that TG4 continue to provide, especially in these difficult economic times with cutbacks. Documentaries such as TG4/Sónta Films Lón sa Spéir, the remarkable story of one of the most iconic images of the 20th century have received critical acclaim not only here in Ireland but also at international film festivals. I have great faith that the great support for Irish language programming will remain strong. I feel Ireland's very essence is expressed through its language.

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