Mother Tongues Connections. Meet Áine Gallagher

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Mother Tongues Connections

Meet Áine Gallagher
Mother Tongues Festival 2019. Tallaght, Áine Gallagher

I’m a comedian and I work a lot with the Irish language. I try to make it accessible for people, in a non intimidating and fun context. I am not a native speaker, hence I can relate to the average Irish person who simply learns the language in school, with little other experience.

How would you describe your last year in a nutshell?

Explorative! I decided to move country and cut off all access to safety nets to see what would happen next…I definitely have more belief in myself. I’m confident that work comes next.

What is the role of art in your life right now?

Comedy keeps me motivated and excited about life. I can’t help but frame all of my life experiences through it. I was having a particularly bad week last week, feeling very lonely. I decided to go to a lake and when I was there, 5 police people approached me, told me I was breaking the ‘covid rules’ and fined me. Obviously I started crying in front of them, and didn’t stop crying for approximately 8 hours after that. But even through the misery, I was still thinking of the potential this had for a good story. Reading books also keeps me alive.

What projects are you working on right now?

I’ve just launched an online web series called ‘Irish Matters‘. It’s a new cutting edge current affairs show examining issues related to Irish language and culture, such as what’s the difference between a cup and a mug. Like I said, hard hitting stuff.
We (director and co-writer Ruth McNally and I) are hoping it will be fun and also encourage people to engage with the Irish language more.

How did Covid-19 affect your work and your lifestyle?

It hasn’t been brilliant actually. Whatever positive thinking that was there at the start has definitely worn off at this stage. My boyfriend and I were supposed to travel to Australia at the end of March to visit our families, instead of doing that we broke up.
So Covid has been pretty lonely. But of course, I can’t help but think about how to write real and funny stories about being alone, in a strange country.

Do you think the current pandemic has changed you? If so, in what way?

No. I still put myself under huge pressure to be productive, which has always been my biggest problem. I’ve been learning German everyday, plus writing, producing content and trying to sort out my personal and financial admin. But am I feeling guilty that I haven’t written that book this month? Yes.

what is the biggest challenge for the creative sector right now?

To avoid the pressure of producing Covid specific content. Every creative person I know has so many other projects that they want to do and feel guilty about because they aren’t making fast enough progress. Don’t let Covid put extra pressure on you.

What do you look forward to the most right now?

Breakfast and beer.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I want to let all hairdressers know, in my opinion your work is absolutely essential.

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