by Gordon Nary
Gordon: Where did you attend University, what was your major, and what degrees did you earn?
Ruadhan: I attended University College Cork (UCC), in the south of Ireland. It was my local university and I majored in Film and Screen media, with a minor in English. It was a mixture of practical and theory – we made at least one film every year, which was a pleasure and I found the practical side more to my liking.
I was blessed to have a small, but strong Catholic community in the college. The Faith in Ireland is not as strong as it once was, at least numerically, and having grown up a Catholic, I was nervous that heading to a secular environment would be a challenge. It was, but proved to be a pleasant one, as I deepened in my faith and made a number of close friends.
Our Catholic society had a strong international flavour. There were a good number of Americans, including my future wife!
Gordon: When and why did you decide to be a Journalist?
Ruadhan: I studied at UCC from 2015-2018. When I finished up, I didn't know what I wanted to do, so I took some time to work, save up money and do some traveling. I headed to the US for two months, taking advantage of the hospitality of friends I had made in Ireland and staying in spare beds across the country. It was on that trip that myself and my wife decided to try out a long-distance relationship – we got married in May 2021, deep in the heart of the pandemic.
Coming home in late 2018, I continued working, saving, and wondering what to do. I knew I wanted to do a master's somehow related to writing and English, but I wanted a practical degree. I chose journalism spontaneously, doing a Masters in Technological University Dublin (TUD). It was an excellent course and from that I got an internship with The Irish Catholic. This was right at the start of lockdown (April 2020), so it was remote.
As it happened, they were looking to take on a new journalist and offered me a role. I started part-time, then full-time and here I am, almost two years on and still working for them.
Gordon: What was the first article that you wrote that was published?
Ruadhan: My first published article was about the popular cult emerging around a young Irish nun who had died in an earthquake in 2016. It was a two-page feature on her life and the great devotion that had arisen around her. It was, to my surprise and delight, the front-page story in The Irish Catholic that week!
Gordon: What are some of your favorite subjects that you report on?
Ruadhan: My paper has a compact team which means that we all get an opportunity to work on the various parts of the paper. That means lifestyle features to hard-hitting news stories, two-page features to detailed analysis. I get to work on a weekly profile feature, not dissimilar to this interview, and I think at this point it involves my favourite subject – people.
I enjoy talking to old missionary priests and nuns who have spent 50 years out on the missions in Africa, Asia, South America – you name it and we have a religious there. But also, I like talking to young people here in Ireland. It is a difficult time for Catholics in Ireland and young people and old alike make a great counter-cultural commitment in remaining true to the Faith. It is a good thing to hear and report on their stories.
As well as that, I enjoy digging around for news stories, trying to make use of my position to highlight the good as well as the bad going on in the world. The mainstream media have little interest in religious affairs, so we play an important role in giving an outlet to the Catholic perspective in Ireland, fighting our own corner however we can.
Gordon: You also do a film and TV podcast, The Catholic Index, for Radio Maria Ireland – how did that come about?
Ruadhan: The Catholic Index is a bit of a pet project. I was invited by a priest I know to come onto a breakfast show weekly to do a book or film review in 2018, which I did gladly. After doing that for a year, I offered to take on a weekly slot of my own, which I co-host with my brother.
It's an opportunity for me to make use of my academic backgrounds and an outlet for my love of the arts. We host a website as well, thecatholicindex.wordpress.com, where we review the arts with a Catholic eye.
Gordon: Some of our readers may know you as a cricketer. For those who may not, please share some information about your involvement in this sport.
I played for underage Irish international teams, as well as for my local semi-professional team. I continue to play it recreationally for my club in Cork, Cork Harlequins. It is a passion of mine and has been a great outlet to fruitfully employ my talents.
Gordon: Thank you for a great interview.