Meet the Limerick woman celebrating Irish on the airwaves 

Louise Cantillon has firmly secured her place on Irish radio – and she’s bringing the cúpla focal with her. 

There has been a major change in the nation’s attitude towards the Irish language in recent years. The next generation takes pride in using their cúpla focal – and Limerick woman Louise Cantillon is driving this change daily on the national airwaves.  

The Kilcornan native left her steady teaching job at just 23 to dive head-first into the world of media. Louise says it’s “the best thing she has ever done” just two months after claiming one of the hottest slots on Irish radio.  

“I feel so blessed to have had Irish as part of my life growing up, and it was so normal for us to have the cúpla focal in the house,” Louise said. “My mom was and still is an Irish teacher and has a massive grá for Gaeilge so she decided to raise myself and my three sisters bilingually.”  

Louise attended Laurel Hill Coláiste where her love for the language grew, before studying to become an Irish teacher at University College Cork. While in college, the Gaeilgeoir landed herself a job as a SPINI with Spin South West, which is where she was bitten by the media bug. 

Approaching the station manager in Spin South West, Louise made her aware she was fluent in Irish, and soon enough she landed the presenter role on Pop Raidió every weekend. She clearly did a fantastic job, as TG4 contacted her soon after to host several programmes. 

The Limerick woman took over the midday slot on Today FM in January, describing it as “an absolute dream.” 

“I come in every morning and sit down next to Ian Dempsey and Mario Rosenstock, it’s amazing the people I work alongside, I really can’t believe I get to call them colleagues.” 

Her favourite part of her new gig? “I love knowing how many people will hear the cúpla focal and getting to push my Irish agenda on them,” Louise replied. 

“I believe she [Gaeilge] is the moment! It’s great for me because, to be honest, it’s just the way I live – I don’t actively plan links as Gaeilge or script Instagram captions as Gaeilge, it’s how I live my life and I’m lucky that I have friends who do the same. It’s a normal part of how we function and identify as gaels.” 

According to the presenter, gone are the days of people blaming the way it’s taught in school. 

“People have the frame of mind now that, we have this deadly language that has been in the country for thousands of years. Let’s reclaim it, let’s bring it back, let’s celebrate it. There is definitely a newfound grá for it and the revival of it.” 

Although she believes the next generation will bring about a big revival of the language, she still feels there is a fear that comes with it. 

“Getting over the fear of using it is the hardest thing – once you can do that you will be well able,” Louise says. “I always say to people: ‘You have more than you think – just use it daily.’ People become obsessed with grammar and sentence structure, but we make mistakes all the time in English! If you moved to Spain and weren’t fluent in Spanish, you would still say things like, ‘adios,’ and ‘gracias’ so why can’t you do the same with Gaeilge?” 

When she’s not in the hot seat, Louise is currently planning a live ‘How to Gael’ podcast show, as well as featuring on ‘Téacs Taistil,’ a travel show on TG4. 

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