Where we live is just outside Killarney on the Tralee side. Killarney is the best place to grow up and I’m not one bit biased. Everyone knows everyone. Even if you don’t know them, you stop for a chat and say hello.

My father comes from the bottom of Carrauntoohil, a place called Cronin’s Yard. My ancestors would have been there during the last 200 or more years. That’s my father’s home place and it’s a special spot.

There are several different places you can park going up the mountain, but for some reason – I think it was probably a lot to do with the craic my grandparents would have had with people – Cronin’s Yard was always a very busy spot for parking. Even when there wasn’t a big carpark and it was just the yard.

Katie Jane Cronin presenting on Cork's Red FM.

It’s where the Mountain Rescue Team would have always congregated, because my grandparents would have had them in for tea after rescues and things like that.

Originally it was just the yard. We opened the tea rooms there when I was 11. It was the October Bank Holiday 2006 when we opened the front door and it’s only been getting busier and busier since. It’s really cool to see it happen like that because there was nothing there. All that was there where the tea room is now was a shed my grandad had bits and pieces for the farm in. Now to see it as a full-on business by them is amazing. I’m a proud daughter.

I would say Cronin’s Yard is probably where I got my love of talking from. My grandmother would talk for Ireland – literally – and Dad would be the same. It’s bred into us that when someone is there you talk to them.

It doesn’t matter where they come from or where they’re going, you have a chat and you make sure they’re welcomed. I’ve met people from all over the world since I’ve been little. There’s been people from Egypt, Israel, everywhere.

Behind the mic

I did a course called Cumarsáid in college. It was under the umbrella of arts in NUI Galway, but it was actually based out in the deep depths of Connemara in Carraroe. It was a media, journalism and communications course through Irish. I went to a Gaelscoil for primary school, so I’ve always loved Irish. I’d be a big advocate for it now.

I definitely took a shine to the radio element of the course. Now, saying that, I hated being behind the mic. I had zero confidence in it. I just wanted to push buttons and I wanted to produce things.

But then in our third year we got to go out working for the entire year. I went to Radió na Life in Dublin city. You could say I was made to sit behind the mic. I did a little programme for them once a week.

I think I was there for three months and I did the rest of the work placement here in Kerry in a station that was called Irish TV. By the end of the three months in Dublin, I loved being on the radio. I knew that was what I was going to do or at least that was what I wanted to do. And I was going to give it a good hand.

I came back then from Dublin and I got in touch with Radio Kerry. Putting it lightly, I plagued them. You know what, they were so good to me. They brought me in and basically taught me. By that summer I was covering programmes on Radio Kerry.

Then after that I got a Friday night music programme on Radio Kerry and I also went on to do Sunday news bulletins. I was there for, I think, almost two years.

Katie Jane Cronin presenting on Cork's Red FM.

Then I went to Cork’s Red FM in 2018. I was offered full time there. I was doing a few different bits from traffic to reporting for the Neil Prendeville Show and covering evening programmes.

It was the first weekend in October 2019 that I started The Sunday Show, which I’m still on. It’s a music-driven magazine show. There’s a little bit of craic, a little bit of chat and music.


We’ve a farm at Cronin’s Yard. So that does make it a little bit difficult that we don’t actually live there. But I suppose we’re used to it at this stage. We’ve just under 40 sheep, so it’s handy.

There was always a farm there. My grandfather would have had cattle, I think there were chickens as well. He had anything and everything.

When dad took over the farm, that’s when I was brought in as an assistant. I can still be an assistant from time-to-time. I don’t know how good an assistant I am, but I’m really good at opening gates!

There’s definitely been a resurgence in hill walking. This happened as well during the recession because it was free. Once you had your bit of gear – your boots and whatever – away you go. And it’s happened again. It’s amazing to watch it – it’s the second time that I’m seeing it.

Myself, I’ve only gotten into hill walking in the last few years. Obviously, dad was always into it. He’s in the Mountain Rescue Team since he was a teenager. He was just always up and down like a mountain goat.

Katie Jane Cronin out hill walking.

But I don’t know, he definitely had a fear, from being in the rescue team and seeing things, about me going on to the mountains. He probably won’t like me admitting that, but when you’ve seen bad things happen it’s a logical fear to have.

I shouldn’t even say this but I’ve only climbed Carrauntoohil recently. It was my first time maybe about three years ago, how ridiculous is that?

– In conversation with Anne O’Donoghue

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