Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain faces her spider terror on new TV show
Published 25/10/2015 | 02:30
RTE star Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain was bitten by spiders on four separate occasions - with one attack leaving her on crutches for a week.
The TV presenter spoke about the incidents which caused her to develop an acute phobia of arachnids, as she faced her fears for her new show Ten Things You Need to Know.
The show, which she co- presents with Jonathan McCrea and Kathriona Devereux, deals with different scientific questions and experiments each week.
The first week, Ten Things You Need To Know About Fear sees Aoibhinn face her fears by placing her hands in boxes, some of which contain spiders.
As Aoibhinn explains, "there was lots of spiders, everywhere."
She says her run of bad luck with the arachnids happened both in Ireland and whilst travelling abroad and was exacerbated by the fact that she suffered debilitating allergic reactions each time.
"I have been bitten by spiders four times and have had really bad reactions to them each time", explains the presenter.
"One summer, I was working as a waitress in Spain and I had just washed my hair and I was putting my hair in the towel and I felt a big bite on my index finger. I screamed holy hell. My hand got bigger and bigger and I had to get anti-histamines from the doctor, so ever since I developed massive fear of spiders.
"Then I was working in Geneva at Cern and I was walking through long grass to get back to work after lunch and this time I was bitten so badly it swelled all the way to my knee and I ended up on crutches for a week. On another occasion a spider bit me on the neck," she said.
Aoibhinn, who recently graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a PhD in mathematics, was speaking as she prepared to launch City of Physics Week.
The campaign will be running across a four-week period, from tomorrow to November 19, with the expectation of turning buses, the Dart and the streets into a vibrant celebration of physics. "I call it gorilla physics," said Aoibhinn. "At some stage this week you can expect to be physiced. We are trying to change the perception that physics is just for nerds. It is not, you just need to have an interest in it and you can learn about the wonders of the world around you."
Meanwhile, packs of giant mature spiders have been invading Irish homes in recent weeks.
According to Irish arachnologist Myles Nolan, the large male spiders invade homes in greater numbers as they go on the hunt for suitable breeding partners throughout the late autumn months.
Unless they are disturbed they won't bite and if they do so it will because they are doing so defensively," he said."There is really no such thing as a spiderless house."