Podcasts for the New Year

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New Year, New You. Comment Editor Katie Larkin offers a map to the best podcasts you’ll need this year.

The past five years have seen an exponential rise in the amount of podcasts available across a variety of platforms on the Internet, such as Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, Acast and Buzzsprout. Podcasts have become a radio-esque style of media, and with the sheer amount of podcasts available, it is highly likely that everyone can easily find a podcast tailored to their interests. Yet podcasts are not merely a source of entertainment, as there are many which can be used for educational purposes. Podcasts can also be a form of escapism that enables good habits and positive distraction. In times where students can be stressed, busy and on the go, podcasts are a good way of relieving tension in a restful and healthy way! 

With the sheer amount of podcasts available, it is highly likely that everyone can easily find a podcast tailored to their interests. Yet podcasts are not merely a source of entertainment, as there are many which can be used for educational purposes.

Below there are some suggestions of a variety of podcasts to start a year of happy listening the right way! 

1.    The Blindboy Podcast 

‘The Blindboy Podcast’ is created by Ireland’s own David Chambers (a.k.a. Blindboy) from Limerick, who is a comedian, satirist, author and podcaster. The Blindboy Podcast is a weekly installation that targets a variety of very random topics. Topics range from Baileys, the history of carrot cake; bootcut jeans; mental health and interviews with climate experts. He also occasionally gives a reading of his own short stories. Chambers dulcet tones and the gentle background music make the listening experience both soothing and greatly resourceful. 

2.   The RedHanded Podcast 

‘The RedHanded Podcast’ is curated by British-based podcasters and researchers Hannah Maguire and Suruthi Bala. The podcast delves into the world of true crime; dealing with mysteries, cults and crimes committed globally. The pair have a definitive knowledge of law, government structures, sociology and psychology, and this comes into play as they discuss their topics in a digestible and simulating manner. While often the topics of discussion are gruesome and upsetting, Maguire and Bala manage to convey these stories in a calm, easily understandable and engaging manner. But worry not, this podcast is not all doom and gloom; the pair are quite funny together which often breaks up the nature of their content. Episodes that I might get you into this show are: 283 - Rasputin: Russia’s Greatest Love Machine, 302 - Grenfell Tower and 303 - Anthony Gignac: Prince of Fraud

3.   Please Shut Up

Aoibh Carroll is an Irish content creator from Dundalk who rose to fame on TikTok with her daily vlogs, initially detailing her time as a student at Trinity College Dublin while working and living in Dublin. Nowadays, Aoibh discusses a range of topics on her podcast including her daily life, her family and dogs, her sexuality and experience living with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). Aoibh is fairly off beat, natural and relatable in her podcasts. The conversational tone of her episodes are a great form of escapism as listeners can connect with her through personal monologues on life. 

4.   Binchtopia 

‘Binchtopia’ is hosted by Americans Julia Hava, a PhD candidate, and Eliza McLamb, a musician. The pair delve into a world of social issues, pop culture and alternative history in their weekly episodes. They offer a sociological and psychological analysis on popular culture. The show is incredibly informative, benefiting from being well researched and providing a great deal of entertainment. The two hosts certainly have incredible chemistry, which greatly benefits the charm and humour of the podcast. 

5.   I’m Grand Mam 

PJ Kirby and Kevin Twomey from Cork are the pair that make up the iconic podcast ‘I’m Grand Mam.’ Named after the pair’s love for their mammies, PJ and Kevin discuss (often over a cuppa) what it is like to be gay in today’s world, and in particular the experience of being Irish gay men living abroad, as they both currently live in London. Their episodes include interviews, AIDS awareness, coming out and popular culture. They even released their own book this year, The I’m Grand Mamual, where they give tips and advice on surviving the world, while also being an ode to their mammies. 

6.   BEO ar Éigeann ar RTÉ Radio One

For any Gaeilge speakers or aspiring ones among us, RTÉ have a weekly podcast as gaeilge by Siún Ní Dhuinn, Áine Ní Bhreisleáin and Sinéad Ní Uallacháin. The three women discuss a variety of topics conversationally and casually, making their use of the Irish language palatable and enticing. The podcast is a great opportunity to brush up on some Irish from the Leaving Cert (or for those who didn’t do the Leaving Cert, to enter the realm of Irish language!) and perhaps become familiar with new vocabulary and topics. 

These are my six recommendations to get into podcasts this coming year. I myself have become a podcast addict and find them a great way of learning and relaxing during busy and often stressful times. Hopefully you will come to love them too!