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The Irish Passport

History Podcasts

Irish culture and current affairs with the historical backstory that explains it all. Presented by journalist Naomi O Leary and lecturer Tim Mc Inerney, this is your passport to Ireland.

Irish culture and current affairs with the historical backstory that explains it all. Presented by journalist Naomi O Leary and lecturer Tim Mc Inerney, this is your passport to Ireland.




Irish culture and current affairs with the historical backstory that explains it all. Presented by journalist Naomi O Leary and lecturer Tim Mc Inerney, this is your passport to Ireland.






Destructive Unionism: Part 2, The Current Day

New survey data suggests majorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland want referendums on whether to break with the union, and a majority across the United Kingdom expect Scotland to be independent within 10 years. With the bonds of the union under strain, Naomi and Tim sum up how the Brexit negotiations concluded, and explore the ways in which the deal pursued by the British government made people’s lives worse. Angry fishermen, queuing truck drivers, and the Irish government stepping in to...


Destructive Unionism: Part 1, The History

With the fallout of Brexit straining the bonds of the United Kingdom, Naomi and Tim look back on a period of history with huge resonance for the current moment. The union that still perseveres today was forged in crisis, as an emergency response by the British government to a Protestant-led Irish rebellion that deeply shook the Westminster government. What followed was a century of betrayal, struggle, and strife, culminating in a desperate attempt by successive British governments to...


Christmas reunion

Past guests including comedian Tara Flynn, Brendan Boyle, Caitríona Perry, Emma de Souza, Sarah Maria Griffin, Caelainn Hogan, Sarah Creighton, Ronan McCrea and Matthew O’Toole join us again for a Christmas reunion! It’s a bizarre one for many of us this year but we hear from people all around the world who are making it special where they are. Naomi and Tim tell some stories of hope as we approach the winter solstice: the darkest day of the year before the days get brighter, that has been...


The most Irish US president ever?

Self-described “Irish Catholic” Joe Biden has elected president of the United States after a momentous election that has the potential to transform international relations and potentially Ireland’s fortunes as the post-Brexit talks reach their final moment. Naomi O’Leary and Tim Mc Inerney discuss the president-elect’s Irish roots, what his Catholic identity means in this historical context, why British Conservatives are unhappy with his victory, and how the result is being received in the...


Electrifying Ireland

In this episode Naomi O’Leary and Tim Mc Inerney hear the voices of women who lived through a profound social transformation in Ireland: the coming of electricity. The ability to turn on a light or boil a kettle with just a switch came relatively late to large parts of Ireland, part of an ambitious project by the young state to economically transform Ireland and help it take its place among the nations of the earth. We explore the ways in which this changed people’s lives, from the design of...


Gloves off, Washington to the rescue! Brexit update

It’s return of the clowns as Naomi O’Leary and Tim Mc Inerney dissect the latest Brexit drama and speak to Congressman Brendan Boyle, whose cutting criticism of the British government went viral after the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared it would break international law. Where are we, how did we get here, and what lies ahead? We sum it up ahead of a crunch week in the talks between the European Union and Britain that have extremely high stakes for Ireland. Featuring...


Scandal! Can Ireland’s government survive?

A golf society dinner for 81 people has thrown the Irish government into chaos. Attended by a host of senior political figures, many at the forefront Ireland’s COVID health strategy, the event appeared to flout the very social distancing regulations some of its guests had devised. This is just the latest in a series of disasters for the recently installed coalition government, which has been struggling to retain public confidence since its inception mere weeks ago. Naomi O’Leary and Tim Mc...


Who were the Celts?

Celtic identity is politically powerful but historically nebulous, a subject of debate among historians and archaeologists, while being a source of inspiration to some and irritation to others. In this episode, Naomi O’Leary and Tim Mc Inerney visit a Celtic music festival in the Netherlands to explore why the concept has such international appeal. Tim explores the political use and abuse of the idea of the Celts in debates about identity and nationalism in Scotland and Ireland. Historian...


Halfpint: New Irish government Q&A livestream

After almost half a year of negotiations and political maneuvering, Ireland finally has a government. It’s unlike any that has come before it, and it doesn’t include the party that got the post votes in the last election, Sinn Féin. In this livestreamed podcast, Naomi O’Leary and Tim Mc Inerney answer listener questions with special guests Aoife-Grace Moore, political correspondent with The Irish Examiner, and Darach Ó Séaghdha of the Motherfoclóir podcast. Is the new government’s policy...


Ireland’s next revolution

Young Black people in Ireland have taken to the streets to demand an end to racism and discrimination in the midst of a global uprising inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Documentary maker Amanda Adé explores the conversations and momentum for change that is happening in Ireland in the wake of the protests. We hear from Boni Odoemene, the co-founder of the Black and Irish Instagram page, which is unearthing a hidden part of Irish history. The curator of Ireland’s first Black...


Halfpints: Bulelani Mfaco on Direct Provision

Protests against Ireland’s controversial system for housing asylum seekers Direct Provision have been re-ignited as demonstrations against racism sweep the United States. We interviewed Bulelani Mfaco where he lives in Knockalisheen Direct Provision centre on the border of Limerick and Clare for our episode on the system published in January. In this bonus episode made specially to thank our Patreon supporters, we publish the full interview with Naomi O’Leary. He tells us about his...


Halfpints: Europe at a breaking point?

In this bonus episode made specially to thank our Patreon supporters, Naomi and Tim catch up on how Europe finds itself at a make-or-break moment. Fundamental questions of democracy and economics are in question, and Ireland will have its role to play in figuring them out as the European Union decides what exactly it wants to be. Plus: why are people still talking about Brexit, and what are the stakes for the island of Ireland? We break it down. This bonus content was made possible by the...


Ireland and Australia

Ireland shares a fascinating history with the Australian continent – by the 19th century, in fact, about 25% of settlers in Australia were Irish-born. In this episode, we speak to Victoria University’s Diane Hall about the history of the Irish in Australia, Tim Mc Inerney meets two generations of Irish Australians who explain what their unique identity means to them, and Naomi O’Leary explores some of the major issues facing the Irish in Australia today. If you liked this episode, why not...


Halfpints: Irish and Native American solidarity

As the Coronavirus hits the Native Americans hard, Irish people have taken the chance to repay a 173-year-old debt. A fundraiser to help the Navajo and Hopi Nations fight one of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks in the United States has taken off in Ireland. Donations have been flooding in, in tribute to an act of kindness during the Great Hunger in Ireland that has never been forgotten. In the worst year of the famine, 1847, the Choctaw people raised what they could and sent it to Ireland as...


The Irish Accent

In our first episode of Season 4, we take on the Irish Accent: where did it come from? What secrets might it hide? And why is it so often an issue of contention? Tim Mc Inerney speaks to accent expert Shane Walshe of Zurich University about how Irish accents are seen by the wider world, Naomi O’Leary talks with Senator Lynn Ruane about why some Irish accents can lead to discrimination and marginalisation, and most importantly we hear from our own listeners about the complications, the...


Halfpints: “Where are you From?” – National Identity in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, questions of national identity often come with some surprising answers. Our reporter Jennifer Smith catches up with two Belfast residents born around the time of the Good Friday Agreement. They explain their understanding of identity in Northern Ireland and how nationality there constitutes a complex and ever-changing web of politics, family history, and social class. This bonus content was made possible by the continued support of our patrons! Sign up to support the...


Halfpints: The good news!

In this bonus episode made specially to thank our Patreon supporters, Naomi O’Leary and Tim Mc Inerney take a look at some of the good news coming out in the times of Coronavirus. We’ll be talking about drive-through testing centres in Dublin, mass volunteering efforts to help neighbours and the health service, EU officials embracing poetry, and some very promising statistics and real concrete help coming out of China. You can sign up to join the Irish health service the HSE:...


Halfpints: Ireland v. Coronavirus

How is Ireland dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak? In this freely available Halfpint episode, Naomi and Tim look into the way different countries in Europe have dealt with the unprecedented pandemic sweeping the world right now. We look at how the outbreak is affecting politics at home and abroad, and offer some advice for those who might be self-isolating right now. We make Halfpint episodes especially to thank our Patreon supporters. If you want to access our full archive of Halfpint...

The election that changed history

A seismic result has emerged in the Irish election: the left-wing nationalist Sinn Fe’in are the most popular party, sweeping away the traditional dominance of Fine Gael and Fianna Fa’il for the first time in the history of the republic. What caused the political earthquake? And what happens now? Naomi O’Leary joins Tim Mc Inerney from the main voting count centre in Dublin to break down the results. The housing crisis, what went wrong for Leo Varadkar, the peculiar nature of Irish...

Rise of the right: what Ireland can learn. With political scientist Cas Mudde

The global rise of radical right nativist parties seemed to skip Ireland. But the last 18 months have seen efforts to introduce anti-immigration politics to Ireland in a way not seen before, amid a backlash against the legalisation of abortion. We hear how a conspiracy theory elevated by US pundit Alex Jones has ended up on the streets of Cork, as protesters ambush an event by ruling party Fine Gael a week out from the election. Naomi O’Leary speaks to Dutch political scientist Cas Mudde...