For the RTÉ Radio 1 programme 'The Book On One" in March 2015, I recorded 'The Overcoat' by Gogol. It was broadcast on each weekday night from 9 to 13 March; and in December 2014 I recorded some Christmas stories by Truman Capote. They were broadcast over three nights during Christmas week (22, 23 & 26 December). The radio programme is broadcast after the 11pm News each night. This photograph was taken during the December recording session in the studios of Tinpot Productions, Dublin. Photograph shows (l-r) Declan Brennan and Producer Zoë Comyns. Read more and listen below.
Some of the narration projects that have featured my voice, including television series and corporate video, are included on my YouTube Channel. This selection can be viewed in sequence or individually from the PLAYLIST drop-down menu (☰).
In addition to the narration for corporate video presentations, television documentries and other media shown above, examples of my work for commercials is on the Voiceover—Advertising page.
The Audio Playlist has a selection of material from corporate, broadcast and story-based projects, some of which have been used online or in a range of other presentation formats and environments.
To listen to one of the audio samples, select the file name or format (MP3 or OGA). To download one of the files, right-click (Windows) or ctrl-click (Mac) on the MP3 or OGA format link beside the file name.
(OGA is an audio OGG file required by some internet browsers.)
The playlist tracks marked 'Video-VO' are audio edits taken from videos produced for the web and business presentations, which you can see in the YouTube Channel playlist above. Some of the other tracks include material that might be used on radio and television or as part of corporate presentations. Examples without music or sound effects are included as voice only references.
The examples listed below represent some of the many products, services, brands and organisations that have featured my voice in their projects and promotional campaigns.
Business makeover show
'The Takeover', on RTÉ Two television, was a documentary series that gave staff in various businesses the chance to make changes to their workplaces after their bosses left them in charge for two weeks, with some help from a mentor. Six episodes of 'The Takeover' were produced by Toto Productions for RTÉ Two television in 2013. An extract of part of that series is in the YouTube Channel playlist above. Production of the series for 2014 moved to Animo Television Production and also features my voice. Read more.
VO on video promoting tourist attraction
Storm Gertrude brought winds as high as 232kph (144mph) to Ireland in January 2016. On a tree-lined road in Armoy, County Antrim, known as The Dark Hedges and made famous by the HBO television series Game of Thrones, several trees collapsed onto the road. Tourism Ireland worked with Publicis in London to transform the trees that fell that day into 10 beautifully crafted, bespoke doors that celebrate Northern Ireland's heritage and craft. Each door depicts an episode from 'Game of Thrones' season 6 and was designed to mark the country’s connection with the award winning show.
The doors were installed in 10 pubs across Northern Ireland, each one representing the local pub of a 'Game of Thrones' filming location. My voice over for the video, produced to promote this tourism initiative, was recorded in Moynihan Russell, Sound & Post Facilities, Dublin. Read more.
Presenter & VO
A corporate video for the IBM Software Lab Mentor Programme was produced in May 2013 by Jimmy O'Brien at the IBM Technology Campus in West Dublin. In the video I played the role of a visitor to the site, who conducted interviews with executives and staff involved in the worldwide Mentor Programme and spoke about it through off-camera voiceover. Read more.
In the RDS, Dublin on 3 July 2014, Audi Ireland announced the return of an iconic car within its range, at the Audi TT Launch Event. A lighter frame, with improved driving dynamics and handling and lower fuel consumption, combined with better high speed stability and traction from a revised quattro all-wheel drive system, informed the the message behind the launch — the return of a safer, sportier, high-spec, iconic car.
The audio and visual elements of the show included a short video on the heritage behind the TT and a shorter version of the video was posted on social media. That is the version featured here on this site and on my YouTube Channel. I recorded the VO for both videos and announcements used during the launch event.
Audi A1 case study video
A digital media campaign for the Audi A1 won a gold award in the 'Best use of Film/Animation' and a bronze in the 'Best Digital Marketing Campaign' categories, at the Digital Media Awards in Dublin during February 2011. The Case Study video, which was produced by the agency responsible for the campaign, Cawley Nea\TBWA, is here on the YouTube Channel.
Readings from books on national radio
The Book Show on RTÉ Radio 1 is a weekly independently produced programme that talks to writers, discusses books and sometimes includes readings. I have recorded readings for the show and some of those are included in the Narration playlist above.
On Valentine's Day, 14 February 2015, the show featured a discussion about ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses’ (Dangerous Liaisons) by the French novelist Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. As the panel talked about the dark side of obsession and sexual politics in the book, I read a couple of short extracts from two of the letters that play a prominent role in this 1782 classic.
On 6 December 2014 at The Twisted Pepper, in Dublin city centre, the show announced the winners of a writing competition that it organised for very short stories (less than 200 words) called, '100 Words, 100 Books'. The event was before a full and very enthusiastic audience and broadcast live to listeners on RTÉ Radio One. A book with 100 of the 600 entries received for the competition was launched on the night. I read two of the runner-up pieces, Wishing by Barry Troy and Mrs Flood by Eoin Devereux. Fiona O'Shaughnessy read Polaroid by Jennifer Davidson and the winning entry, The Poodle Coat by Jessica Magee.
The aim of the programme, produced by Zoë Comyns, is to include more than just studio chat and the readings I’ve done for some of the shows are part of that approach. Presenter Sinead Gleeson said that the show is for "Anyone who loves books and reading. As well as trying to introduce people to new writers, we hope to resurrect classic or obscure authors who have been forgotten or overlooked”. During the 2013/2014 season, the show was broadcast on Saturday evenings at 7pm on RTÉ Radio 1, 88-90fm and on the RTÉ Radio Player. Read more and listen here.
Late night readings on national radio
The Book On One on RTÉ Radio 1 is broadcast on weekday nights at the end of the day. It presents writing from all over the world in a series of 15-minute excerpts from a single book.
The page for the programme on the RTÉ website allows you to listen back to the last four weeks of 'The Book on One' and there is an archive of past readings including a selection of classic books.
My readings from 'The Overcoat' by Gogol were broadcast for The Book On One over five nights in March 2015 and repeated in December 2016. Together with ‘Diary of a Madman’ and ‘The Nose’, Nikolai Gogol's long short story ‘The Overcoat’ (1842) is perhaps one of his best known works. Read more.
In December 2014 Producer Zoë Comyns asked me to read extracts from two Christmas stories written by Truman Capote. The readings were broadcast over three nights during Christmas week (22, 23 & 26 December) after the 11pm News each night in December 2014. They are nostalgic reflections from childhood, but being from the pen of someone whose childhood encompassed a family breakup and ‘multiple migrations’, they are a mix of much that is heart-warming, with some of what is heart-rending. Above all, they are beautifully written, as you would expect from the man who said that “the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music that words make.” Read more and listen here.
RTE Lyric FM radio documentary
'Ethel Voynich – Music, Mystery and Manuscripts' is a radio documentary presented and produced by Zoë Comyns and broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM on Sunday 15 March 2020. Ethel Voynich was a remarkable Irish woman – writer and musician – with many facets to her character and personality.
Ethel was born in Cork in 1864, daughter of mathematician George Boole, and she died in New York in 1960 – a long and full life with more than its fair share of espionage, strange manuscripts, love affairs and revolution. She remains unknown to many of us today, and indeed her popularity in Russia and China remained unknown to her until she was in her nineties. Her novel, ‘The Gadfly’, sold millions of copies and was translated into many languages.
Zoë Comyns invited me to read a few short extracts from ‘The Gadfly’ for the documentary. Read more and listen here.
Powers Whiskey Short Story Collection
'Celebrating What Truly Matters' is the second volume of 50 very short stories (450 words) published by Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard in 2012 under their Powers Whiskey Brand as part of a writing competition inspired by a very popular print advertising campaign for Powers, developed by McConnells Advertising in the 1980s.
The writing competition was organised in association with The Irish Times and proceeds were in aid of The Irish Hospice Foundation.
When I read the book, I was drawn to three stories in particular to present here. Each is a short, well written, evocative few hundred words that were a joy to read. The 'read more' link below has extracts from the introduction written by the novelist Maeve Binchy (who died a few months before the book was published), an image assembled from some of the illustrations and an audio playlist with the three readings I recorded. Read more and listen here.
Bard Mythologies online and disc collection
The Bard Summer School explores some very old stories — the Irish myths — and goes on a unique journey of discovery for their contemporary relevance. At a time chosen during the summer months, Clare Island, County Mayo, plays host to this three and a half day event, which concludes with the annual Bard Féasta, a Celtic feast.
The 32 readings, which I produced and recorded for a series of audio books, were from scripts written by Sorcha Hegarty, 18 of which were read by me and 14 by Sorcha. They are based on ancient myths and legends and recall some of the stories that are deeply embedded in Irish culture. The extract that is included in the audio playlist above is taken from the story of the death of Connla, son of Cuchulainn. Read more.
VO on online animated presentation
The Irish Life Corporate Business website has a section devoted to Retirement Planning. In addition to tools that help to calculate the level of funds required to sustain a defined lifestyle, the site includes videos which outline some of what needs to be taken into account and introduce the options available. The voiceover accompanies animated graphics which highlight the key points.
The National Standards Authority of Ireland, NSAI, is Ireland’s official standards body. The corporate video produced in 2010 outlines their work and complements other communications including a national radio advertising campaign. This corporate video is in the YouTube playlist above and the radio advertising is on the Voiceover — Advertising - Radio & TV page
Voiceover work on corporate videos includes many well-known brands in addition to new product development projects and other non-broadcast applications for commercial and other organisations.
The nature of some of this corporate work is that it is not in the public domain and therefore not included in the examples shown on this website.
'Your Country, Your Call' was a competition organised under the patronage of the President of Ireland. The aim was to find and reward two ideas that could help promote job creation and, as a result, contribute to increased prosperity in Ireland. The competition website included two tutorial videos for the project. The videos, which I produced, explained how to register and submit a proposal. Two winners each received €100,000 in prize money. The web tutorial videos are included in the YouTube playlist above. Read more.
The Irish Cancer Society is a charity dedicated to the prevention and early detection of cancer with the aim of reducing the number of people who get the disease. The organisation also helps to ensure better outcomes for those who are affected by cancer.
The society produced a video, 'Understanding Chemotherapy', in 2015, for which I provided the voiceover. The audience for the 25 minute video was patients, who are beginning a course of treatment. The video informed them about the many different types of chemotherapy drugs and what to expect as the treatment progresses. In addition to factual information and answers to frequent concerns about chemotherapy, the video was designed to be part of a wider programme of support for all who are affected by cancer.
As part of the planning for a proposed property development in Dublin city, this video was produced by a group of architectural and commercial development clients. The proposal explored development opportunities along one of the main roads in and out of Dublin city. The video in the playlist above is an edited version of the final presentation.
Dublin Exhibition 1907
On a site that is now Herbert Park, in the Ballsbridge suburb of south Dublin near the River Dodder, close to three million people visited the Irish International Exhibition between 4 May and 9 November 1907. Those who attended were presented with an array of trade and entertainment displays that included the latest motor cars, electrical goods and machinery — the finest examples of the industrial revolution. They also found food and funfair amusements, with a Helter Skelter, Crystal Maze and a water chute, which was reputed to be the biggest in the world. All that remains today in Herbert Park is the bandstand and the pond — everything else was a temporary structure, removed not long after the last visitor left the exhibition.
My brief for this piece of animated history, created by Bill Felton, was to play the part of the Lord Lieutenant, John Campbell, Earl of Aberdeen, delivering his opening address at the Exhibition in the summer of 1907.
Bill produced the animations from still photographs and drawings made just over one hundred years ago. Each image was reconstructed in layers and then animated separately. In the compressed extract here on my YouTube Channel, have a close look at the ten second street scene sequence outside the entrance to the exhibition. It starts at 1min 50sec and has been made to look like a movie taken at the time, but was created from one, very old still photograph. Read more.
'Doors of Thrones' — Tourism Ireland
Tourism Ireland is responsible for marketing the island of Ireland overseas as a holiday and business tourism destination.
The promotional video for 'Doors of Thrones' was part of a campaign to promote tourism in Northern Ireland. Following storm Gertrude in January 2016, Tourism Ireland worked with Publicis in London to develop an initiative that found a silver lining within the destruction caused to 'The Dark Hedges', an important tourist attraction in County Antrim.
'The Dark Hedges' — a beautiful avenue of beech trees in Co Antrim, known as 'Kingsroad' to the people of Westeros in 'Game of Thrones'.
Winds up to 232kph (144mph) brought down some of the trees that had withstood the ravages of time and rough winds for over 250 years. The avenue of beech trees was planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century as an impressive corridor on the approach to their Georgian mansion, Gracehill House.
Wood from two trees that fell in the Januray 2016 storm was carved into 10 doors, which were then located in pubs close to 'Game of Thrones' filming locations. Each intricately carved door tells the story of an episode from Season 6 of the popular television series based on George R.R. Martin's best-selling book series 'A Song of Ice and Fire' brought to the screen by HBO. The designs for the doors represent different episodes from the series. Using symbols and scenes from the show, the carved woodwork on each of the doors combines to tell the story of Season 6.
Some of the intricate carving used in the 'Doors of Thrones' campaign. The 10 doors were placed in pubs at 'Game of Thrones' filmimg locations around Northern Ireland.
Tourism Ireland’s ‘Doors of Thrones’ campaign reached an estimated 61 million people around the world, with the campaign’s short films being viewed 17 million times. The campaign also earned over 20 awards and accolades from the marketing and advertising industry across Europe.
Publicis in London asked me to record the voiceover at Moynihan Russell, Sound & Post Facilities in Dublin. Given the campaign's objective of promoting tourism in Northern Ireland, they also asked me to deliver it with a suggestion of a lyrical northern tone. You can see the promotional video here.×
Production of video at IBM Innovation Centre, Dublin
The IBM Campus in Blanchardstown, Dublin is set in 100 acres about 20 minutes dive from Dublin airport and the city centre. It is home to several IBM enterprises including the Dublin Innovation Centre and the software lab mentor programme. The video, in which I played a part and which I narrated, included interviews with members of the IBM management team and businesses which had worked with the mentor programme.
You can see the finished video here on my YouTube Channel.
Declan Brennan recording a piece to camera at the IBM Innovation Centre, Dublin with video producer Jimmy O'Brien.
The Book Show on RTÉ Radio One
"You live several lives while reading." — William Styron, 'Conversations with William Styron'
Finlo Rohrer, writing in the BBC News Magazine in May 2014, noted that recent books had recommended walking for its own sake. And while commenting on its connection with clearing the mind and thinking, the article asked "are people losing their love of the purposeless walk […] particularly in cities?" The writer noted how Wordsworth was a walker. "His work is inextricably bound up with tramping in the Lake District. Drinking in the stark beauty. Getting lost in his thoughts." It is something he shared with Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and George Orwell among many others.
Producer Zoe Comyns and presenter Sinead Gleeson took walking as their theme for the final programme of ‘The Book Show’ on RTÉ Radio 1 on Sunday 15 June 2014. The show featured a collection of pieces including extracts from Sweet was the Walk by William Wordsworth and Ulysses by James Joyce.
Readings broadcast in 'The Book Show' on RTÉ Radio 1
(right-click on MP3 or OGA to download audio file in either format.)
In the excerpt from the programme, in the playlist above, Declan Kiberd talks about Leopold Bloom’s journey in Ulysses and says “I think the greatness of ‘Ulysses’ is partly that when you walk through streets, you encounter strangeness, the unexpected, including your own strangeness.”
Strangeness in ordinary and extraordinary aspects of everyday existence feature much in the work of Samuel Beckett. In another programme from the radio series I read from The Lost Ones, which Beckett completed in 1972. The extract (also above) refers to an "abode where lost bodies roam each searching for its lost one". The small, flattened cylindrical world in the story and those who live there may be the stuff of dreams or nightmares; or its strange mental landscape may be what Beckett referred to in his 1953 novel Watt: "The unconscious mind! What a subject for a short story."
The final extracts that I read for ‘The Book Show’ are taken from an earlier programme in the series, which looked at A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood. That book doesn’t share the strangeness of the Beckett story, but its main character, George, inhabits a similarly claustrophobic mental space after the death of his partner in the middle of his life. While the beautifully written story does not follow its protagonist on long walks (apart from one lonely drunken stroll to his favourite haunt), perhaps one of those ‘purposeless’ walks might have been a leaf well-borrowed from Wordsworth and Joyce.
'The Book Show' on RTÉ Radio 1, presented by Sinead Gleeson and produced by Zoe Comyns, featured the work of many writers including (l-r) William Wordsworth, Christopher Isherwood, Samuel Beckett and James Joyce.
"In a certain department there was a certain official — not a very high one, it must be allowed ....."
Akakiy Akakievitch is the man at the centre of this story; and even if a foreign reader is unaware that his name sounds like one of the vulgar Russian words, 'kakáshka' or 'káka', used by children to describe their 'poo', it becomes clear early on that here is a very ordinary man, living an “utterly insignificant life”. Akakiy finally gains entry into the exclusive inner circle of St. Petersburg society, but — surprise, surprise — it turns out to have its shortcomings and is not all he expected or desired.
Beneath the simple and seemingly inconsequential episodes recounted about his work in a branch of the Russian bureaucracy of the 19th century, the story casts a cheeky, sometimes scathingly satirical eye on the power and pomposity reigned by those who have it, over those who have not.
Apparently Gogol spent two years writing the 12,000+ words in ‘The Overcoat’. Crafting that many memorable words, about the how-and-why behind a low ranking civil servant’s desire to trade up from a shabby to a fine new overcoat, is an achievement in itself; but heralding the beginning of a new literary movement puts a completely different spin on this little tale. His style of literary realism in this short story was a departure from the romantic and rhetorical writing to which many, if not most, Russian writers conformed at the time. Many authors followed his lead, which was also eventually endorsed by the Soviet government, usually known for its cultural conservatism. In fact, in a comment noting just how influential it became, Dostoevsky said "We all come out of Gogol's overcoat."
Together with ‘Diary of a Madman’ and ‘The Nose’, Nikolai Gogol's long short story ‘The Overcoat’ (1842) is perhaps one of his best known and most popular works.
The RTÉ Radio 1 'Book On One' website is at www.rte.ie/radio1/book-on-one
I made the background for this image of Nikolai Gogol using an illustration of a scene from Gogol's short story, 'The Overcoat', completed by the artist Boris Kustodiev in 1905.
"Imagine a morning in late November.
A coming-of-winter morning more than twenty years ago."
Those opening sentences begin what has become a classic story about an aspect of Christmas that is evocative and emotional. Part of its enduring appeal is undoubtedly connected to Truman Capote's masterful use of language; but it may also have something to do with how he weaves a harder reality into his nostalgic snow and frost-tinted concentration on good cheer and togetherness.
The first of two extracts that I read for 'The Book On One' during Christmas week in December 2014 was A Christmas Memory. It was first published in Mademoiselle magazine in December 1956. It is set in the 1930s and includes much that is autobiographical. The narrator is a young boy, seven years old and he talks about an elderly woman, whom he describes as a distant relative, his cousin and his best friend. The finely sketched narrative gives the reader pictures of country life, friendship, and the joy of giving at Christmas. But, without blowing out the happy candles in those memories, the story reinforces the warmth and light of all that with the shadow of loneliness and loss.
Readings broadcast in 'The Book On One' on RTÉ Radio 1
(right-click on MP3 or OGA to download audio file in either format.)
One Christmas was the shorter of the two extracts broadcast during Christmas week in 2014. It was written in the early 1980s, much later than A Christmas Memory, and parts of it were originally published in a 1982 issue of the Ladies’ Home Journal magazine before appearing as a book in 1983 published by Random House. The story takes the reader further into his memories of Christmas as a child. It was the last short story written by Truman Capote.
This photograph was taken during the recording session in the studios of Tinpot Productions, Dublin. Photograph shows (l-r) Declan Brennan and Producer Zoë Comyns.
Radio documentary on RTÉ Lyric FM
The extracts I was asked to read for the radio documentary about Ethel Voynich were taken from her book 'The Gadfly'. The book tells the story of Arthur Burton, a young Englishman who travelled to Rome, to study to be a priest, in the mid-19th century when a combination of political and social movements, the Risorgimento, brought different states together to form the single state of the Kingdom of Italy. He discovers radical ideas, renounces Catholicism, fakes his death and leaves Italy, but returns with renewed revolutionary fervour, where he lives with his lover, Gemma, and becomes a journalist, writing radical and satirical pieces under the pseudonym "the gadfly".
Ethel Voynich’s own story is full of intrigue, mystery, love affairs, revolution, music and writing – a remarkable life lived by a unique woman.
Ethel Voynich was an extraordinary woman. She was born in Ireland’s second city, Cork, in 1864, the daughter of George Boole, famous for Boolean algebra and logic, which underpins much of what makes information technology work today. Most of his short career was spent as the first professor of mathematics at Queen's College in Cork. Ethel died, aged 96, in New York in 1960 – it was a long life, lived by a remarkable Irish woman. She experienced cruelty and love in her childhood and went on to find in real life all that an intriguing leading lady might find in a fictional film noir.
Her most famous work, 'The Gadfly', was translated into many languages and came to be widely read in Russia and China. She was as revered as Dickens or Mark Twain by the Soviets and in China, but she had no idea of her popularity until she was in her nineties.
‘The Gadfly’ was published in 1897. It was an immediate international success, but the authorities in Tsarist Russia did not approve of the book. Later, however, its themes of rebellion and social change made it popular for many years in the Soviet Union, Iran and the People’s Republic of China. It was also widely read by republican and socialist prisoners in Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison after the Easter Rising in 1916. In the Soviet Union, it was adapted for the screen in 1928 and also in 1955, when it became popular again, but Communist officials in China suppressed it during the Cultural Revolution, fearing that it would inspire anti-Maoist feelings.
‘The Gadfly’ is out of print in the English-speaking world, but its popularity continues in some former communist countries. Three more novels were published by Voynich, but none of them matched the popularity of her first book.
Zoë Comyns, producer and presenter of the documentary, 'Ethel Voynich – Music Mystery and Manuscripts'. This composite combines two promotional images for the documentary with part of the cover of one edition of 'The Gadfly'.
The documentary about Ethel Voynich was presented and produced by Zoë Comyns and was broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM radio on Sunday 15 March 2020.×
Powers Irish Whiskey Short Story Collection — Volume Two
Maeve Binchy began her Introduction to the collection of stories, 'Celebrating What Truly Matters', by saying "What we REALLY want is to love and be loved in return. It doesn't sound at all cool to say this but basically that's it."
In acknowledging and praising the work of the 50 selected writers, from 4,200 entrants to this competition for 450-word stories, she said that "It's hard to give an impression of what matters in such a short space yet they do it very well, it's like opening up little windows into other people's minds and feelings. And through those windows they draw us into an amazing variety of scenes. [...] This is a series of snapshots about what does matter to people. None of them are about financial gain, or personal recognition. These are not tales of triumphing over enemies, of making a killing, getting away with a gamble or pulling a fast one. They are about local heroes, poignant memories or images frozen in time. What they have in common is that they are about loving and being loved."
A selection of readings chosen from 'Celebrating What Truly Matters'
(right-click on MP3 or OGA to download audio file in either format.)
What struck me about what these writers created in such a short space was the depth and colour of the pictures conjured up in the immagination by words alone; and how they can resonate in a very personal way with each reader or listener. As Maeve Binchy went on to note, "This book reminds us, in a patchwork quilt of very different images, about what exercises our mind when someone asks us that cosmic question about what matters and what doesn't".
I produced this montage using images from some of the wonderful illustrations in the book 'Celebrating What Truly Matters' which were created by Ian McCaffrey, who makes comps, roughs and storyboards for the advertising and film industry in his company Storyboards Ltd. The book was published in 2012 by Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard.
The Bard Mythologies
Bard Mythologies is described as 'a guide on the path to cultural fitness'. An appreciation of any culture comes from some understanding of the stories it tells and the myths that capture the essence of its outlook on life. Many cultures began as spoken traditions, passing on history and wisdom in the tales of its victorious and vanquished heroes, long before people began to write. Bard Mythologies and the Summer School it runs on Clare Island in County Clare, explores these stories. Literally strange, but metaphorically very meaningful, the guided discovery undertaken with Course Directors Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop and her husband Sandy Dunlop examines how these stories continue to resonate and have relevance today.
One of the readings I recorded was ‘The Death of Connla, son of Cuchulainn’. The short extract on this website, which you can listen to in the Audio Playlist on the Narration page (or an audio player here), begins close to the end of the story where father and son meet in battle.
The reason Cuchulainn ends up fighting his son Connla is that his wife, Aoife, set out to get revenge by pitting son against father in a fight to the death. Aoife had borne Cuchulainn’s son against her will. Cuchulainn had defeated Aoife in battle and afterwards raped her. Aoife trained her son to be a warrior and sent him to Ireland with three ‘geasa’, sacred prohibitions, that were designed to force a situation where either he or his father would be killed by the other’s sword. With all the drama and passion associated with such stories from all ancient cultures, this tale comes to a bloody, tragic end.
More about the Bard Mythologies is on the website.
One of the many stunning images created for the Bard by Bill Felton, Artistic Director. In addition to his work on visualising the material covered at the summer school and online, Bill is responsible for producing limited edition posters, which have become collectors items.
Recording VO for 'The Takeover' in Number 4, Windmill Lane Studios
The 2013 series of the RTÉ television programme 'The Takeover' was produced by Toto Productions. The voiceover sessions for the 2013 series were recorded in 'Number 4', the audio facility within Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin. In 2013 I met the very funny and equally efficient scriptwriter John Murphy (see red shirt below). I discovered a similarity between my circuitous route to a recording studio and John's. We both started out doing something very different. The beginning of his working life was, however, very far removed from mine. John's 'former life' was as an officer of the law working in England for the Metropolitan Police. As a detective he led the investigation into the theft of Bob Monkhouse’s jokebook, which contained 50 year’s worth of the talk show host’s handwritten material. One thing led to another and now in addition to writing scripts for quiz shows, reality shows and soaps, he advises on programme development and format.
Mark Henry has modulated, equalised and worked his magic on my voice in many VO sessions for commercials, narration and ADR. Writers and editors (sound and video) - two of the unsung heroes of the business.
The 2014 series of 'The Takeover' is in production under the direction of Animo Television and I'll be back in this studio again to do the voiceover. You can see part of one of the 2013 episodes here on my YouTube Channel.
(l-r) Mark Henry, sound engineer, John Murphy, script writer with Declan Brennan in one of the VO sessions for the 2013 series of 'The Takeover' at Number 4, Windmill Lane Studios.
The Irish International Exhibition - Dublin, 1907
This Exhibition was held in the summer of 1907, the idea being first mooted in 1903 after the successful International Exhibition held in Cork in 1902. Guarantors were requested from every section of the community and they eventually subscribed £155,000 to the fund to cover any possible financial loss.
The site chosen was Herbert Park, only one and a half miles from the city centre. It was presented to the Urban Council of Dublin by the Earl of Pembroke, K.P., one of the Vice-Presidents of the Exhibition. The Presentation was made on the coming of age of his son, Lord Herbert, and the grounds kept the name even after the Exhibition closed. The Executive Council was also able to obtain a short lease for several acres adjoining the park, altogether they had 52 acres available for the Exhibition. On another boundary of the Park were the grounds of the Royal Dublin Society where the famous Dublin Horse Show was held every August.
The entrance in Ballsbridge was on the main tramway line into the City from Dalkey. Inside, the Celtic Court was the site of many exhibits concerned with the Industry of Ireland. The principle building consisted of a central octagonal domed court with four radiating wings. The court had a diameter of 215 feet and was capped by a dome that was approximately 150 feet from ground level. Each of the wings was 164 feet long and 80 feet wide. Pavilions contained the latest technologies, industrial machinery and a fine art gallery.
Visitors could listen to vocal and instrumental performances in the Concert Hall as well as trying out the delights of the Water Chute and Switchback! The Electric Tramway system (to which the city is now returning) ensured that the visitors could reach the Exhibition from any part of the city. It was also served by the Dublin, Wicklow and Waterford Railway.
The Exhibition was regarded as a great success in that it achieved its aims, which were to promote the Industries of Art and Science in Ireland by the display of the products of the country and also to promote and stimulate commercial development by inviting all countries to exhibit their goods.
The entrance to the 1907 Irish International Exhibition in Ballsbridge, Dublin, at the site of the Royal Dublin Society (RDS). The image is from IrishHistoryLinks.net
'Your Country Your Call'
Following a brief from the organisers, which outlined the objective of the video and the key items of information that it should contain, my work on two videos for the website covered:
The competition was launched in February 2010 with the aim of getting and rewarding big ideas that could have a long-term impact on the social, economic and/or cultural life of the country. The project was launched by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese. Her husband, Martin, conceived the idea, which invited the public to submit proposals to the project website
Two winners each received €100,000 in prize money and a further €500,000 was allocated to develop the ideas. The closing date for entries was the end of April 2010.
I produced two video tutorials for the website. The brief was to create a short communication which would help to make people aware of what they needed to do in a way that was as simple and concise as possible. It included 'green-screened' live action edited with screen-captured video, graphics and voiceover audio track.
Dr Martin McAleese, President Mary McAleese and Declan Brennan at an informal gathering just before the launch in Áras an Uachtaráin, the President's residence, on 12 February 2010. The reception was attended by many of the people who contributed services to the project on a pro bono basis.
The competition was administered by An Smaoineamh Mór, a not-for-profit organisation chaired by former Bank of Ireland governor Dr Laurence Crowley. Directors included Martin Murphy, managing director of Hewlett Packard Ireland and Eugene McCague, chairman of Arthur Cox solicitors. Dr Crowley said that the €2 million donated to the competition came mostly from companies, but also some individuals. Speaking at the launch of the project, Dr Crowley said that the Government was fully behind the project. The judging panel had between 12 and 18 members and was chaired by former EU commissioner David Byrne.×