Tuesday 6 December 2016

I owe my career to Keelin Shanley's advice, says Ear to the Ground presenter Ella McSweeney

Eimear Rabbitt

Published 29/03/2016 | 07:31

ella mcsweeney
ella mcsweeney

She's the presenter of long-running agri-series Ear To The Ground and will front RTE's upcoming Big Week on the Farm.

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But RTE host Ella McSweeney is a "proud Dublin girl". Indeed, she hails from Blackrock and says she has Morning Ireland broadcaster Keelin Shanley to thank for her career in Montrose.

Speaking to the RTE Guide this week, the broadcaster said it's not hard to fall in love with all things country "because it touches all your senses".

"I'm a proud Dubliner too, of course. After school I put down agriculture in UCD on my CAO form, and when I went along to the open day it was basically me and a bunch of rural lads. Someone said to me then that you could only do agriculture if you were from a farm or you were planning to marry a farmer. I was 16 years old and neither of those things were happening," she said.

So Ella went off to Trinity College where she studied Zoology.

But her love for all things agriculture would not go away - and she ended up returning to it through the medium of television.

Keelin Shanley
Keelin Shanley

After graduating, Ella hosted an environmental show on local radio.

"Radio is my obsession. I would listen morning, noon and night. But I knew no one who had done science before and I knew no one in the media. So I just called Keelin Shanley in RTE - and I always say now that I owe my entire career to Keelin.

"She invited me into her home, sat me down and explained how media works in Ireland."

Ella joined RTE's Ear to the Ground in 2008.

A few years ago, she throttled a turkey on the programme just ahead of Christmas - much to the anger of animal rights campaigners. However, she stood by her actions, arguing it was a simple fact of life.

She also raised her own pigs for the kitchen table, and took a course in butchery.

At the moment, the mum-of-two has five hens for eggs and grows her own produce.

The Big Week On the Farm sees her join forces with broadcaster Aine Lawlor and special guests include model and blogger Roz Purcell and country singer Nathan Carter.

Herald

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