Friday 24 January 2020

Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh: 'I wasn't cool but I wasn't a nerd either. I always loved the craic'

Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh
Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh

John Costello

She may not have been a bookworm, but RTE host Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh could always get by thanks to the gift of the gab. She explains the importance of a good debate, why education isn't just all about degrees and how she finally came to appreciate her crowning glory.

So what did you love about school?

I loved class discussions. Discuss.

[What, you think you are writing an exam paper or something? – Ed]

You can google and read all you want, but if you really want to understand the world we live in, you have to discuss and debate things.

But in the age of the interweb, text messaging and smartphones, is it a dying art?

My son is 11 and his class was recently discussing the Seanad referendum. So it was great hearing him come home giving his opinion. And he actually got the result right!

Maybe Enda should hire him! But anyhow, just how cool were you in school?

Not very! No, I wasn't one of the cool kids, but I wasn't a nerd either. I was the kid always caught talking. I loved the craic.

And where did you go to school?

I went to national school in Ráth Cairn and then to the VEC in Navan. My dad wanted me to finish school through Irish so I went to Dublin when I was 15 to an Irish boarding school.

That must have been a bit of a culture shock?

It was a culture shock but I was a native Irish speaker with a different dialect and a different accent. So I was probably a culture shock to them!

Is there any famous person you've met that you wish had been a classmate?

[RTE presenter] Brendan Courtney. He's great craic. I would love to have had a gay friend in school. It was a pity back then that people were not comfortable being open about their sexuality. But thankfully that has changed now.

So any fashion skeletons in the wardrobe from back in the day?

Looking like someone from Bananarama. But I still want to dress like that!

You were a real style queen, hey?

I wasn't stupid enough to think I could be cool with my red hair. You don't see the advantage of being different when you are young but as an adult, my red hair has definitely been my crowning glory.

Here, here. Or should I say, hair, hair . . . badum tish!

Irish Independent

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