Caroline Lyons and Sarah Benner met a few years ago through their daughters, who are in the same class in primary school, and hit it off straight away. Little did they know that when they met, they would go on to produce a podcast together.

Both women live in Tralee, Co Kerry and have three children each. The What a Woman Podcast came about after they confided in each other that they were looking for a creative outlet to work on now that their children were a bit older. They both have been inspired by women in their lives who have achieved great things and felt their stories could empower even more people, if they reached the right audience.

And so, an idea was born.

What is the concept?

“It is to give women a platform to talk about their lives in a world where they have been silenced for so long,” says Sarah. “It is also to inspire people, get them to reflect on their own lives and to enjoy the company of these amazing women.

“We have a library of interviews such as: Jacqui Hurley, RTÉ Sports commentator, talking about the grief of losing her brother and the determination she needed to make it in broadcasting; Nina Carberry, former champion jockey, on her amazing career, racing equally against men and her retirement; Helen Collins, leading divorce lawyer; Nicola Tallant, crime journalist; Laura Dowling aka The Fabulous Pharmacist, talking about female health; Grace Alice, sex expert; The Dirt Birds, comedy duo; Carol Brick, CEO of; Louise Galvin, Kerry footballer and former Irish rugby international; and Irish Country Living’s Maria Moynihan. We also just interviewed comedian Deirdre O’Kane, who was incredible to chat to.”

Tell us about plans for future guests?

“We are extremely excited to be interviewing Lorraine Keane and Pamela Laird over the next few weeks,” says Sarah. “There are lots of topical issues we are keen to cover on the podcast as well, like domestic violence and stalking, caring for a partner or parent, and women and homelessness. We are being inundated with messages from women that want to come onto the show, which is pretty amazing. We are very open-minded and are keen to highlight the challenges that we all face on a daily basis, be it individually or collectively.”

Sarah Benner and Caroline Lyons with comedian Deirdre O’Kane

<>Have there been any topics that really surprised you?

“There have been many. We spoke with Laura Crowley, who is a lecturer on autism in girls, which was incredibly interesting. The amazing fashion designer Helen Steele on her ADHD diagnosis; Ali Keane on overcoming adversity after a life-changing accident; and Dr Patricia Sheehan was fascinating too. She talked about palliative care and end of life and the regrets people have, and about enjoying the now. It was such a strong message.

“Dr Mary Ryan and Laura Dowling personally got me thinking about my own health and to start putting it at the forefront of my life, they both had a big influence on me, I started to question things more and take my health a lot more seriously,” says Sarah.

Caroline agrees, and adds: “I have been struck by how the guests that faced adversity like Ali Keane (accident survivor) and Maddie Wilson Walker (amputee athlete) would not change what happened to them because of the positives that have come from their experience which made me reflect on how good can come from adversity. The list is endless, after each interview we have been blown away by these women, there’s really a woman on the podcast for everyone.”

Any other future plans?

“We would absolutely love to do a road show later in the year,” says Caroline. “We are extremely ambitious and, currently, we want to be one of the most popular podcasts to listen to in Ireland. In order to do this, we really need to concentrate on getting the right women to deliver the most interesting and diverse topics of conversations. We are also eager to partner with the right sponsor that will fit with our brand, as there is huge potential to engage with our audience and benefit from cross-marketing opportunities.”

What podcasts do you listen to?

“We both love Steven Bartlett’s podcast The Diary of a CEO and also, The Women’s Podcast hosted by Kathy Sheridan and Róisín Ingle,” says Sarah. “After having the fearless Nicola Tallant on, I’m addicted to her podcast Crime World – she has an incredible way of telling a story and it is very well presented, capturing how good and evil merge in a crime world and beyond.”

“I love How To Fail with Elizabeth Day because it highlights that there is always something to learn from our mistakes,” says Caroline.

• The ‘What a Woman Podcast’ is available on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts

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