Tuesday 18 June 2019

Fiona Ness

'From the receptionist to the doctor who took time out to say “there, there” while I sat and cried, there wasn’t a single Grinch in sight in Temple Street over Christmas.' Stock image

Fiona Ness: 'Festive heroes in HSE should take a bow' 

I never thought I'd say this but thank you, Taoiseach Leo. Back in November when the good doctor cancelled Christmas for his hospital colleagues I had thought, poor show. Having worked every holiday and Friday night for the guts of 10 years as a newspaper sub-editor, I knew what it was like to toil while the world partied and eventually, a person could come to feel quite put upon. Even if it was your duty, it was nice if someone whose heart wasn't two sizes too small asked you nicely if you wouldn't mind turning up to the front line. Again. While they were at home talking turkey.

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Nutri Ninja

Personal shopper: Kitchen blenders 

So many kitchen gadgets take up lots of space on the worktop yet are only used occasionally. And if you put them away in a cupboard, then it's a case of out of sight, out of mind - it's just such a faff to drag them out only to have to clean them and put them away afterwards. One that's worth making room for is a multi-tasking personal blender for making smoothies, soups, sauces and dressings. Go for one of the 'bullet' style versions that's compact enough to fit in the smallest of kitchens. There are cheaper versions available, but they will not be as powerful, and you may...

Always on: 'I couldn't switch off from work,' says Nuala Grant. 'That stress is on very woman'. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Fiona Ness: Are we seeing the return of the stay-at-home mum? 

The first thing you notice about Linda's home is the dog. After a brief moment of ecstasy over the unexpected arrival of visitors, he scuttles back to his basket by the window and looks dolefully out to sea. Rows of misshapen pottery crafted by little hands are stacked over the TV and a clutter of family pictures butt up against colourful pots of homemade slime. A "posh coffee" machine whirs in the background. It's 10.30am on a school-day and there's not a breakfast dish in sight.

Career path: Claire Byrne is very good at 'doing the swan', presenting a calm and unruffled exterior to the audience of her TV show Claire Byrne Live. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Claire Byrne: 'It's living the dream. I'm happy for it not to change' 

Claire Byrne is no stranger to the art of improvisation. Her television and radio shows place her front and centre in curating the national conversation on the hoof; putting it up to politicians and navigating debates on emotive subjects, live on air. But last Monday, as viewers settled down to watch the last Claire Byrne Live show of the season on RTÉ One, they could have had no idea of the masterful improv going on right under their noses.

Master: Dublin-born Kevin Geary

Debut a barbaric yawp across the world's rooftops 

Underprivileged - that's what we'd call Sonny Knolls nowadays. But in 1980s Dublin, he is a boy much like any other. A boy with a beautiful face who works in the butcher shop after school, smokes in the field with Sharon and watches his mother crumbling at the kitchen sink; waiting interminably for the light to break. In writer Karl Geary's Dublin, there's no Jimmy Rabbitte yakking in the bath. This writer has previous. The youngest of eight, he left a desolate Dublin in the 1980s for New York, aged 16. Here he went on to typify the emigrant dream, co-running the legendary music bar Sin-...