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Upfront: Clíona Ní Chiosáin on being 'quirky, loud and unapologetic'

 

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Clíona Ní Chiosáin

Clíona Ní Chiosáin

Clíona Ní Chiosáin

Clíona Ní Chiosáin (30) is a primary school teacher in Kells, a teacher on RTÉ2's Home School Hub and also an actress. Born in Donegal, she moved to Lucan when she was four. She lives in Kells, Co Meath with her fiancé.

What were you like as a girl growing up in Lucan?

I was very chatty. I was always singing to myself and making up little songs. I used to draw non-stop. That's probably why I do so much art on the Home School Hub.

Choose three words to describe yourself.

Quirky, loud and unapologetic.

You are a Gaeilgeoir. What does the Irish language mean to you?

I wouldn't be where I am in my life without Irish. Every opportunity I've been lucky enough to be given is because of Gaeilge. It's a valuable skill. I speak Irish with my parents and in school. I love the look of excitement that you see on a little face when they use some Gaeilge.

What drives you?

To be happy with a simple life.

Why are you a teacher?

My mother says that it's the most important job in the world because we've so much responsibility. I love working with children because they are so joyful. I didn't go straight into teaching. I wanted to go off and do my own thing - my Masters and acting. Now I feel like I was preparing my whole life for this job. I teach in a small school in Kells and I have junior and senior infants together.

Who are your role models and why?

My mother. I wasn't an easy teenager and I used to curse her to the high heavens but now she is the light of my life. She's formidable, funny and smart with a strong work ethic. And I fell in love with Audrey Hepburn's screen presence. She was so elegant and beautiful, inside and out.

How did Covid-19 affect you?

I was working in a primary school in Blanchardstown last March, and then when the schools closed, I was asked if I'd do the Home School Hub. We were working flat out. We do all our own writing. I was teaching as well as filming. Covid-19 made me realise how little we really need.

Best advice you ever got?

Do your best and be kind.

Are you a glass half-full person?

I haven't always been that type of person. You have to consciously make yourself a positive person because the brain can kick into the negative. If you push yourself enough to be positive, it starts to realise itself.

What are you watching?

Judge Judy. I'm obsessed with her. I think I've become a better person from watching her! She is smart, sassy and beyond direct.

What are you reading?

My mother wants me to read the classics, so she sent me the complete works of Jane Austen. At the moment, I'm reading Jane Austen's Emma and I love it.

You played the lead in TG4's series Aifric and now you are in Home School Hub. Can you tell us about a bizarre incident where you were recognised?

We've all been under lockdown, so I don't really see anyone since Home School Hub although it's gorgeous when kids say hi. In January 2020, pre-pandemic, I went to visit my sister in Berlin. We went to a day spa which was very Berlin - clothes off. I was freaked out about it and didn't know where to look. I didn't strip off. A nude American man told me that my energy was a little chaotic. I explained that I didn't want to take my clothes off, that I was from Ireland and it just wasn't a thing. He laughed and then left. Then a girl sat up and said, "Weren't you on TG4?" I thought, this is where I definitely don't want to be clocked.

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What do you do for laughs?

I call my friends and we reminisce about funny memories because we can't create new ones.

You got engaged during the summer. Do you plan to have a big Irish wedding when all this is over?

I wouldn't be one for a big wedding. I'd be more the type to get married in my pyjamas. Who knows?

'Home School Hub' is on weekdays at 10am on RTÉ2; RTE.ie/learn 

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