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Couch-surfing across europe as gaeilge

As part of TG4's new schedule, two Irish women will be couch-surfing their way across Europe while only speaking Irish.

Blathin de Burca and Ciara Ni Bhroin stayed with complete strangers while travelling across Northern Europe to the Baltic States and back during the summer in a new series of O Tholg go Tolg for TG4, which will be broadcast as part of their new autumn/winter schedule.

Ciara (22) is a secondary school Irish teacher and said the show was an entirely new experience for her.

"It was a long trip, I'd never even heard of the project before we left but it was a great 
experience," she told the Herald.

However, it was nothing new for 23-year-old Blathin from Fairview.

"I've been a member of couch surfing for a few years, so I was delighted to be a part of the show. It was really daunting but it's really exciting too because you get to meet loads of new people," she said.

While Blathin studied communications at DCU, Ciara was a bit camera shy at the start saying: "I had no experience with cameras or media before I left, which meant it was a little daunting heading off travelling with a camera crew."

The girls went travelling across Europe for 10 weeks, taking in countries not usually picked by Irish backpackers.

"We travelled all over Scandinavia and the Baltics, all travelling was contained within Europe. We picked countries that we thought would be interesting but that people usually ignore when they're planning a holiday - like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania," said Ciara.


"There's so much more in Eastern Europe that's there to be seen but people tend not to go there."

"We got to go to the more obscure places for the new series which was great, as other series had previously covered the main cities in Germany, Italy and France," said Blathin.

Travelling while speaking in Irish might sound daunting to most people, but the girls said it was brilliant.

"I'd say we spoke Irish around 70pc of the time. It depended on the situation, like if the host said something to us in English, we'd sum it up through Irish on camera. For the most part we spoke to hosts through English as that's the language we have in common but then any interactions between us would always be through Irish.

"It was great fun for us though, it was like we a secret language between us. If we had a hot host, we could talk to each other behind his back and say whatever we wanted without them understanding us," laughed Blathin.