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Maire Treasa's late summer trad heaven

As Ireland enjoys perhaps its best ever year in terms of visitor numbers, traditional music sessions all across the country have been packed this summer. And so its timely that FleadhTV, a trad music extravaganza and one of TG4's ratings winners from 2014, will return on August 13 for two nights.

This year the channel's coverage of the event will be emceed by a newcomer to the cameras at Fleadh - Maire Treasa Ni Dhubhghaill.

The gig may be a change of pace from her more usual beat presenting TG4's rugby coverage but Maire Treasa comes from a musical family and she seems like a natural choice for the Fleadh. "Traditional music was a big part of life growing up in Connemara", she explains. "We all played instruments."

It's seven years ago this summer since Maire Treasa got her first grounding in television, but the opportunity brought with it a difficult dilemma. She had trained to be a national school teacher and was about to take advantage of the long summer holidays when fame came calling.

Initially however fame's voice sounded suspiciously like her mother's. "I had bought my ticket to go travelling and that summer after finishing up I said goodbye to my pupils, I was so excited to leave", she recalls.

"My mam saw an advert in the paper saying that TG4 were holding a presenters course. I decided to go for it. I was in awe of everything that was happening and I loved the course. What I didn't realise was that they were actually looking for a presenter.

"When I got the job I was left with the dilemma - will I still go travelling, or will I go for it and try to present? In the end I decided to take the job because I really felt that an opportunity like that might not have come along again."

That decision to take up the presenting job with TG4 may have influenced the course of Maire Treasa's life in other ways too.

"My boyfriend at the time, John, was very happy because we're now married and at the time the whole thing came up about the job we'd only been going out for about a year and it was at that whole 'will I, won't I' stage in terms of staying together."

Their anniversary is this coming week and they have moved into a house which was owned by her grandparents. "It's still a work in progress", she laughs. "We're doing it up, we have black bags on the windows still."

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Maire Treasa got her grounding in children's television but she is perhaps most recognisable to TG4's viewers as the face of the channel's rugby coverage, which she has presented for the last five years.

Sexism in sports media has been a hot topic in recent years but Maire Treasa says that while she's conscious of it, it's not something she's overtly noticed.

"I grew up going to Munster matches, so I do feel I have a great grounding in the sport. The majority of people I work with, in terms of other analysts, are male but I never felt they were looking down on me.

"That said, I did probably work extra hard at it because I was conscious that there might be sexism from supporters or others in media."

She says she can slowly see women's sports getting a more prominent billing. "I think it's improving, the coverage of the women's rugby cup was incredible and of course a lot of that was down to (the national team's) success."

Maire Treasa says that the Fleadh is going to be "exciting but daunting. It's the biggest ever this year because it will be over four nights. There's incredible young talent out there and I'm really honoured to be part of it."

TG4 will be airing FleadhTV súil siar 2014 on August 8, at 10:25pm and again on August 9, at 7:15pm

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