Still in the early stages of her career, 24-year-old Amy Ní Riada has already worked as a presenter and editor on Radio Kerry’s Sunday night Caint Chiarraí slot, as well as with TG4 and RTÉ.
Growing up with/without Gaeilge
“I am not actually from a Gaeltacht area, but I did go to a Gaelscoil primary school. And it wasn’t until my five brothers and sisters and I started learning it, that we used it at home – especially when we were being sneaky, trying to get something past mum.
“I went to an English-speaking secondary school, but I just adored Irish and knew I wanted to do something more with it. I didn’t really know what exactly, but all three of my first options on the CAO form involved Irish
“So I did my degree in ‘Gaeilge Plus’ at UL (University of Limerick). In that course you study Irish and then pick between a medley of modules and I chose journalism.”
Tús a gairme bheatha – The beginning of her career
“For our final year we took part in news days, one of the biggest assessments of our course. The class was split into two groups and we had Matt Kelly, a professional camera man, record a news bulletin with us. We had the full team set up, with a presenter, editor, producer and group of reporters.
“There was a job going in TG4 at the time, to present the weather forecast. So during this whole thing, I asked if there was any chance that I could use the green screen and camera, to record a show reel to send with my application for the job. Matt said that was absolutely no problem.
I couldn’t give up an opportunity like that
“We didn’t actually get time to do that in the end. But a few days later I had a missed call from him. When I called back, he needed a journalist with Irish to cover a few TG4 pieces with him and had remembered me mentioning my love for Irish. Of course, I couldn’t give up an opportunity like that. So I went.
“From there on, I was going out every week to do a TG4 segment for after An Nuacht, called Guth an Phobail. This was a really lovely segment, with stories on men’s sheds, the Féile football competition and other community initiatives.
“Matt had a room full of aspiring journalists that day, all looking to start their careers in the industry. But because I had mentioned my Irish language interest, he remembered me. If you have Irish, you should push it to the max. You never know who is listening and they may be looking out for that one particular skill.
“As I gained experience and got better, he asked if I would do some RTÉ Nationwide pieces with him. And then when the freelance journalist panel for RTÉ opened up, I applied for it. I started with the Morning Ireland team and now I work with the News at One and Six One News too.
Todhchaí na Gaeilge – The future of the Irish language
“Having Irish is such a step up in the media industry, because you can work in both languages. The ability to tell stories is obviously what you go into journalism with, but to be able to do that in both English and Irish is a bonus. Putting out a new bulletin to the country is a public service. So to be able to serve both the Irish and English language speakers is a privilege.
There is an element of respect involved when interviewing someone from a Gaeltacht region
“I think it is really disrespectful when I hear of people trying to shut down the Irish language, or write it off as unnecessary. What is the harm in conversing in Irish? Why would anyone have a negative outlook on a language that is loved by so many people?
“There is an element of respect involved when interviewing someone from a Gaeltacht region and being able to communicate with them in their native language.
“The Irish language is growing and spreading throughout the country, as people relocate. I am seeing more Irish language Instagram and Twitter pages popping up every day. And I think it is fantastic.”
Bíonn siúlach scéalach
(Travellers have stories to tell)