Claire Byrne had every intention of getting an early night in preparation for her new role on RTÉ's Radio 1 Today show when the so-called 'Golfgate' scandal broke. And like the rest of the country, she says: "I couldn't leave the phone down. It was 12.40 when I was going to sleep."
She says she went through a range of emotions - "shock, disbelief and anger" - and describes it as "a kick in the teeth" to people who played their part.
"There is no doubt in my mind that the holding, organising and attendance of that event - they were all wrong. And I am even angry saying that because we've all sacrificed so much."
Broadcaster Claire Byrne at the Intercontinental Dublin Hotel. Photo by Steve Humphreys
"I am so far removed from that world. Do I need to say that I don't have a social life with ministers and Supreme Court judges? I don't. I was the first person in my house to go to a university - without the support of a grant I wouldn't have gone.
"I am very proud of how I was raised and I am certainly not part of an elite. Never was. Never will be. Don't have those connections. And I'm not interested in having them either. End of."
Straight-talking and no nonsense but also warm and affable, she could be seen as Ireland's answer to BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis, having managed to ensure that her beauty plays second fiddle to her sharp interviews and ability to communicate with her audience.
She was a shoo-in for her new role on Radio 1 so it came as a surprise when a Twitter storm erupted, with some asserting that acting host Sarah McInerney should have been allowed to stay in the chair.
"I know there was a storm on Twitter but I didn't read it because I don't think it would have served me well," she says.
She is unstinting in her praise for McInerney. She describes her political interviews as "brilliant" (yes, she did listen) but wants to make one thing clear.
"There is no battle or war or row. People try to create these things all the time. Before it was me and Miriam, now it is me and Sarah.
"If I were a man, if Sarah was a man, if Miriam was a man, nobody would say any of these things. Did anyone say anything about David McCullagh and who he might have been taking over from when he got the Six One News job?
"Did anyone mention who was filling in before?
"This is a construct because we are women. The simple truth is Sarah is going to be working with me as a colleague (McInerney will be placed in another prime slot in RTÉ's autumn line-up) and I absolutely respect her and I don't want to speak for her but I think she respects me too."
On how she felt about the criticism, she holds her fire.
"What more can I say? It's a very difficult position to be in if somebody believes you shouldn't have got the job and the only way I can prove to them that I should have got it is to do it."
She is confident she can bring her 'A'-game and, when I suggest everyone has fears of not being good enough, she looks me dead in the eye and says with impressive assurance: "I know I am good enough."
But she's aware there have also been protests that RTÉ should have brought in some new blood.
She stresses that this does not refer to McInerney, whom she points out has had a successful career in radio, television and documentary-making.
Byrne explains that the show is "a juggernaut of a programme" and believes it needs a well-seasoned broadcaster:
"It's every day, it's two hours where you are dealing with the affairs of the nation and you are trying to represent people at home so you can't bring in inexperienced people to do that job.
"You can try and it might work for a couple of weeks, but it's not a long-term solution.
"You need someone with experience, you need someone with flying hours, you need someone who is not going to be freaked out when a line goes down or a libel potentially happens."
She adds: "I don't see myself as an 'old head' anyway. I have been in RTÉ for 10 years. I don't feel like I'm an 'Establishment', old-school person. I see myself as a young mother of three children."
On what people can expect, she says: "People have come to know me, know my style, I don't like aggression for aggression's sake.
"I like to give people an opportunity to answer a question but I am also willing to hold people to account, and I think that's fair. Fairness across the board, with every party, with people from different backgrounds and positions, is really important to me. And that's how I will do it."
Her new workload is not for the faint-hearted. She already works at weekends to prepare for her Monday night television show Claire Byrne Live and now will have to add a full working day from Monday to Friday to her schedule.
But she is confident: "There will be a mutually beneficial relationship between the radio and television, which means I'll be across a lot of the stories we will be covering on TV and radio."
In saying that, it did take reassurance to ensure it was doable. And there was only one man who could do that. She says: "I met Ivan Yates for a cup of tea."
She called to the broadcaster's Dun Laoghaire apartment. "Ivan did that usual thing where he is lying on the floor (due to his ongoing back pain) having the chat with you."
She describes his no-nonsense approach.
Ivan: "What age are you?"
Claire: "I've just turned 45."
Ivan: "Have you got good childcare?"
Ivan: "Right. You are going to come to a point in your life where people are not going to ask you to do all of the jobs - so do all of the jobs. Just say yes to everything, do it all - and if, in time, you feel you can't do it all, then you can pull back a little by degrees."
"It was such a simple analysis. He got me over the line."
It's difficult to imagine the sharp-suited presenter in her home life. But a throwaway comment about a recent injury sees her face light up when it brought up the subject of her children, Patrick, Jane and Emma, who she shares with husband Gerry Scollan.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly faced ridicule in recent days when he likened the risk of Covid-19 in schools to jumping on a trampoline, so he might want to make a note of the following.
"Myself, Patrick and Jane were each taking turns to do tricks on the trampoline. I thought I would do a forward roll, then a backwards roll, and I was half-way through the backward roll when I heard a crunch - and it was a crunch - I completely pulled my neck," she laughs.
I wonder is she part of that rare breed of women who 'have it all'? She shakes her head. "Nobody has it all. You just don't. You can't. I think about the children sometimes, when I am on the phone, I am always on the phone, and they are just looking at me going, 'Can you please answer my question?' So nothing is ever perfect. And I have all of those flaws and faults and I am always striving to be better.
"But I would be a very unhappy person if I was at home all of the time. That's not me and I would find it much more difficult actually than if I was working."
She says she is not "a good person" when not busy.
"I'm just 'prowling around', trying to find something to do and focusing too much on small problems and turning them into big problems.
"I much prefer to be on the rollercoaster of 'busy'. So there is a workload there - but I enjoy it. I thrive on it.
"When my children say: 'Oh please don't go to work,' I say: 'I love work. This is really important to me. This is my happy place.'"
In saying that, she did revel in her downtime over the summer months, camping in the blazing sunshine with Gerry and their young family - a trip that she says turned into their favourite holiday to date.
One of Ireland's first high-profile Covid-19 casualties, she had no problem staying at home and is still experiencing after-affects from the virus six months on.
"I have had blood tests done and I do have a new allergy to something. We are trying to figure out what that something is. But it is new. Post-Covid new."
Meanwhile, even Gerry experienced disruption to his health regime.
"He was a great man for exercise. He cycled 20km to and from work every day and he only did a proper exercise workout this week for the first time since March."
Now she has taken to building up her strength with online exercise classes by fitness instructor Jillian Michaels in preparation for her return to work and is raring to go for the start of the new season.
"I bought an alarm clock yesterday, which has one of these natural light bulbs (which simulate the sunrise to wake you naturally) and all the devices will be out of the bedroom from here out, so I won't be using them at night."
She is fully aware that even more is expected of broadcasters in the current climate where, she says, the anger is "palpable".
"My job is to be their voice. It's not about me, it's not about my ego, it's not about my relationship with an interviewee, it's about the people at home.
"I have to stay grounded in that and if I don't then I should leave. I'm in the wrong job, I'm done.
"So I would like to reassure people that as long as I am there, I will be representing the people who are listening to the programme, the same people who are listening to Joe Duffy. For me, that's the best barometer as to what is happening in the world."
She says: "I just want to do a good job… I have a duty to serve the listeners and I have a duty to follow in the footsteps of Pat Kenny and Sean O'Rourke and Sarah."
She is under no illusions what that will take: "I have to be on my A-game every day."
'Today with Claire Byrne' will start on August 24 and will air each weekday between 10am and 12 noon. 'Claire Byrne Live' starts on September 21