'chaos and joy' | 

Radio star turned podcaster Louise Duffy on leaving Today FM and new charity campaign

"I am glad because you have to let yourself evolve, you have to have potential for progression and I suppose I had come to the end of the road at Today FM"
Radio star Louise Duffy

Radio star Louise Duffy

Denise Smith

Louise Duffy is in an especially jubilant mood when Magazine+ dials in for a chat with the much-loved broadcaster — one that can only arise after an unbroken cycle of REM sleep.

The former Today FM star, who is mum to Esmé (3) and 11-month-old Elin, is on night five of uninterrupted sleep, and it’s a revelation.

“It is equal parts chaos and joy,” gushes the Mayo presenter, whose husband is former GAA star, now fashion designer Paul Galvin. “The girls are gas, they are so funny and lovely little friends now because there is three years between them.

“But I don’t think we appreciated the value of sleep until they came along. With Esmé, we kind of just went along with it but Elin just loves getting up for a chat in the middle of the night and sometimes she might just wake up for an hour and chat away.

“Sleep deprivation is tough but we are finally coming out the other side. We are at the stage of counting how many nights in a row we’ve had a full night’s sleep — we are at five nights right now and we just don’t know ourselves.”

Sleepless nights call for some much-needed pampering and the obligatory beauty treatment, which Esmé is happy to provide. The tot’s number one customer just so happens to be her dad and the erstwhile All-Ireland winning Kerry footballer has a penchant for nail polish, his wife jokes.

Louise Duffy with husband Paul Galvin and their daughters, Elin and Esmé

Louise Duffy with husband Paul Galvin and their daughters, Elin and Esmé

“He is so good, I don’t know what I was expecting. He is such a good dad, and such a good girl dad. I’ve seen him with his nails painted and he’s also a very unwilling visitor of Esmé’s salon. It is very funny to watch that but he just gets stuck in. It makes such a difference as a mum when you have such a good partner with you.”

The adoring mum laughs: “When you have your first baby you kind of romanticise it all, but at a certain point you have to relinquish control over your life. It is their world and we are just living in it but they bring so much happiness into our house.”

It is the couple’s enduring love for their girls that has led to them to team up with Circle K and the Jack and Jill Foundation for their ‘Miles for Jack and Jill’ campaign.

“This is really important to us because Jack and Jill is such an amazing charity,” explains Louise. “Because of the work they do and the lives they change and families they care for, it was really important for us to get on board and I hope other people will too.”

Just don’t expect the stylish duo to collaborate on anything else. “For us, we never really do anything together in terms of work — we see each other enough otherwise,” she jests.

There’s undoubtedly a constant juggle that comes with being a working mum, one which Louise is willing to admit she hasn’t quite got the measure of just yet.

Maybe that’s because she’s busier than ever. Whilst still on maternity leave, the ever-stylish presenter helms the Brown Thomas podcast, interviewing a slew of high-profile designers and creatives.

Over on the small screen, she can currently also be seen on RTÉ’s The Ballycotton Sessions, which champions Irish music and has already been commissioned for a second series.

“It is mental, I have a brother and sister-in-law who are having their fourth baby and I am like, ‘Wow’,” she admits. “That’s a lot of work; two is manageable, and we know we are so lucky to have two little girls.

“It is important to acknowledge the struggle and the struggle for balance. In terms of mum guilt, it’s more mum worry than guilt. You worry that you are doing everything right for them and you worry that they have everything that they need, even emotionally that they are happy every day.”

One thing Louise no longer worries about, however, is her much publicised exit from Today FM.

In a shock move, the station axed the radio host’s hugely popular show in 2019. After eight years, Louise found herself navigating new career opportunities and making the move to The Communications Clinic to revel in some consultancy work.

“I think everything happens for a reason. When I was in Today FM, I was quite ready for a change. I am glad because you have to let yourself evolve, you have to have potential for progression and I suppose I had come to the end of the road at Today FM.

“A lovely road though it was, there wasn’t a clear path of progression and professionally that’s not the healthiest place to find yourself in,” she shares.

Moving into the freelance world, however, was not without its concerns: “Going from a very steady job and moving into freelancing, certainly you would be apprehensive but sometimes you have to make room for things to come in. It’s always nice to have something steady but in this business you do have to make way for other things to.

Louise and Paul

Louise and Paul

“You are always looking to the future and it is a very precarious industry — media, radio and podcasting. You never really revel in what you are doing, you always have your eye on the next thing.

“We have to be ready to diversify; there are very few careers where you say, ‘I am going to do this and I am going to do this for the next 40 years’.”

The star’s most natural habitat, however, is where real human stories lie.

“I love presenting and I love interviewing people and I love music and fashion,” Louise lights ups. “It’s always been about the people I am talking to. As an interviewer it is important to be devoid of ego because you are facilitating the star of the show.”

When Magazine+ informs the beloved host that the most Googled question about her is, ‘What is Louise Duffy doing now?, she’s not surprised. “There’s nothing wrong with a bit of mystery — that is quite funny.

“I suppose it was quite abrupt the way I left Today FM so I get it, but I am not too hard to find.”

But what we are most eager to know is if the presenter will be making a return to the airwaves anytime soon?

“The lure of live radio is something that is very hard to leave behind,” Louise admits. “It is just such a lovely medium and the way you connect with your listeners, there is something really exciting about being live on air.

“I think radio is really special and somewhere down the line I’d love to return to it.”

  • From now until July 31, Circle K customers can show their support for the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation by scanning their loyalty app when buying Miles fuel, and help get Jack and Jill nurses to families nationwide

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