Geraldine Carton investigates the lesser-known, new, and noteworthy podcasts worth listening to in 2019.
2018 was a great year for podcasts, it has to be said. With star players such as West Cork, The High Low, Mothers of Invention and The Teacher’s Pet, podcast chat really took hold of staff canteens and dinner party discussions all over the country.
Now as we venture into 2019, we wanted to examine the podcast possibilities that this new year presents. Which shows will reign the top position of the rankings? Who knows (although you can be sure that Blindboy will be up in prime position somewhere). All we know is that listed below are the shows we are looking forward to listening to on our morning commutes and weekend strolls over the coming 12 months.
Related: Crime podcast 'Teacher's Pet' has led to
the arrest of Chris Dawson
Some are brand new and fresh onto the airwaves, others are actually a few years old (but somehow slid under our radar up until now), while many reside a bit off the beaten track. While the subject matter may vary greatly, the general verdict is that these shows are all worth a listen, so sit back, relax and enjoy.
A new firm favourite of ours, this podcast is hosted by two comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster who invite well-known personalities over to their “imaginary magic restaurant” (which comes complete with magic genie waiter) and ask them about the various components of their “ideal meal”. With all sorts of whimsy, wit and food revelations mixed into each episode, this is one show that’s a true joy to behold.
Star Episode: By far the funniest episode yet, Ep. 2 features the brilliant Aisling Bea talking “tiny bites” and other edible, audible delights.
It goes without saying that the 90’s was the best era of all-time. If you have any qualms with this as a fact, then take it up with my editor. Aside from the inherent greatness of this decade, what makes this podcast so good is that the hosts Emma Doran and Julie Jay provide a supremely enjoyable mix of information and comedic interjections that promise to Spice Up Your Life (or at very least, your morning commute) every week.
On March 26, 2018 Jennifer Hart drove her car off a cliff with her wife and several of their six adopted children. The couple had always given off the impression that they enjoyed an idyllic life; full of love and general hippy good vibes. What this podcast (and the family’s ultimate demise) shows, however, is that things are never as they seem. A heartbreaking story that boggles the mind, this is one podcast that’s sure to catch the attention of many throughout 2019.
This podcast is so new that it hasn't even reached iTunes yet, but already the reviews are flying in with people raving about its exploration of anxiety and the practical tips & techniques it shares to help listeners "own" their anxiety. Having written a #1 best-seller on the subject of anxiety, author Caroline Foran is well able to talk through her story in a relatable way, and her relaxed approach is balanced with the addition of expert input. If you find your anxiety levels rising this week, give this a listen.
What a delight it is to listen to two women as intelligent and funny as Jane Garvey and Fi Glover, chatting about a plethora or topics, from the serious to the absurd. It’s all too rare that women over the age of 40 get a platform like this, and their witty middle-aged musings and meanderings are a very welcome addition to our 2019 ear holes.
This is a bit of a “blast from the past” feature (as the last episode for this podcast was recorded back in 2017), but we’ve only just discovered it and now feel compelled to spread the word to anyone else who might have missed it along the way, too. The premise is pretty simple: Dawn talks to someone interesting (think Amy Huberman, Alan Carr, Jameela Jamil) about why they wear what they wear, and generally uses fashion as a lens through which to look at a person’s life.
Star Episode: Ep. 8 with Chris O’Dowd (Dawn’s husband) is sure to put a smile on your face and reignite your faith in true love.
Whether or not you follow Holly Shortall on Twitter, or have boogied to Conor Behan’s beats in The George on a Sunday night, if you self-identify as a “pop culture vulture” – devouring a Nadine Coyle single as readily as you would a celebrity spat – then this podcast is for you. These Dubs are full of the chats and already seem to be gathering quite the cult following despite being just a few episodes in. As Holly would say, “The neckkk!”.
A podcast for fashion enthusiasts, this show gives you an opportunity to explore your own personal style as you hear guest panellists from the industry speak on a range of related topics; everything from the power of accessorising to the effect that clothes can have on our self confidence. To date our hosts have interviewed big names in Irish (and international) fashion circles, such as Sinéad Burke, Angela Scanlon and Chupi Sweetman, and there are many more big names to come.
Host Dax Shepard is best known for being a bit of a class clown (his fame kicked off when he featured in Ashton Kutcher’s “Punked”), but this podcast sees a somewhat more serious side of the abrasive comedian as he interviews a huge range of big-name celebrities about their life and the struggles and setbacks they have overcome along the way.
Star episode: Ep. 48 Interview with Amy Schumer is peppered with hilarious titbits, but then gets pretty tense…
A podcast for anyone who is as mad about books, as they are nosy about people’s private lives. Here you get to accompany literary queen Daisy Beaucannon as she visits the homes notable names in the literary world (e.g. Dolly Alderton, Caroline O'Donoghue) and snoops around their bookshelves. Find out who has a secret stash of raunchy books, who is a massive literary hoarder and who holds their banged-up hardbacks as dearly as they do childhood memories… A lovely, lazy Sunday morning listen, for sure.
Believed is an inside look at how a team of women won a conviction in one of the largest serial sexual abuse cases in U.S. history. A story from 1996, it provides an incredible account of how these young female survivors found their power when the adults around them failed to protect them. It's an unnerving exploration of how easy it is to fail to see what reality may be staring you straight in the face.
Georgie Crawford has gone through a lot over the last couple of years. Having being diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after giving birth to her daughter Pia, she has since come out the other end and is kicking off 2019 with a thoughtful podcast that focuses on wellness, personal growth and the power of positivity.
Star episode: Ep.1 with Doireann Garrihy is far from what you’d expect from the country’s favourite funny girl, and it's a brilliant listen.
Featuring the hilarious Sophie White and our own in-house Agony Aunt, Rhona McAuliffe, each episode of The Spill feels like a late night conversation with friends where no issue or topic of discussion is left unexplored. Need someone who understands the perils of a family holiday gone awry? Or the drudgery of a friendship in flux? These modern Irish women are ready to let it spill as they share their own personal stories and snippets of advice alongside a glass of vino, if the situation calls for it.
Let it be known that this show is not for the fainthearted... Petrified is the new horror drama podcast created by Peter Dunne and Liam Geraghty that shares the chilling tales of “a darker Ireland”, from the perspective of people who heard something they shouldn’t... A really good listen for people who like a good scare, although we wouldn’t advise listening if you’re home alone for the night.
A podcast that is as synonymous with quick witted conversation as it is with sports, it’s worth mentioning that the “Second Captains Saturday/ Sunday” feature may even appeal to the strictly NON sporty-types amongst us. Hosting interviews with the likes of Sharon Horgan and Blindboy BoatClub, you’ll hear all the unexpected ways in which these individuals have interacted with sports throughout their lives, alongside lots of non-sport-related stories, too.
Star Episode: Second Captains Saturday with Maeve Higgins – we just cannot get enough of this hilarious woman.
As the beginning of the year brings the usual lampooning of diet rhetoric and “body goals” from every corner of the ether, SSB hosts Cait and Alice provide a refreshing step away from all that. Together these two young women share honest insights into their pasts (both girls experienced extreme preoccupation with food, dieting and exercise) and how they moved towards a now-healthy relationship with food and an newfound appreciation for their bodies.
This show was voted the #1 podcast of 2015 by iTunes, and yet it’s one that remains largely unknown in Ireland (indeed, we only discovered it a couple of months ago, so don’t beat yourself up about it). Nonetheless, it’s a flipping brilliant show. Here’s the premise: host Starlee Kine solves a mystery that has been bugging an individual for a long time, one that cannot be solved online. The stories range from the random to the bizarre, and it’s an all-round great listen.
A no-nonsense wellness podcast in which registered nutritionist Laura Thomas, PhD interviews wellness experts, foodies, bloggers, entrepreneurs, body positivity advocates, mindfulness experts (and anyone else who is shaking up the wellness world) about how they stay on top of their game. The show comes with the assurance that it’s "not all headstands and courgetti", and you'll see that Thomas is not afraid to dig deep into the darker side of the "wellness" industry, too.
Britney Spears fans of the world, UNITE! Sassy hosts Bradley Stern and T.Kyle go into incredible detail about every aspect of Spear’s life on a year-by-year basis; from the chart-topping highs to the head-shaving lows, no detail is left behind. Prepare to learn many new revelations about the princess of pop whilst enjoying some flashback-inducing content that your 90’s self would have revelled in.
When you think of George Ezra, his smooth-as-caramel, low, baritone voice and happy demeanour are probably what spring to mind. Now apply that onstage talent and likeability to a podcast recording room, and you’ve set the scene for George Ezra & Friends. The premise of the show is around Ezra having a casual chat about music and the creative process with his famous singer/songwriter friends, but the revelations and level of honesty shared in each episode often go far beyond that brief.
Star Episode: Ed Sheeran (who opens up about his struggles along his journey to worldwide fame)
Each week, comedian Russell Kane and his guests examine the back story of one of the great cultural icons throughout history, and weigh up the good against the bad. So far, it’s featured everyone from Steve Jobs to Roald Dahl, Gandhi and John Lennon. Brace yourself for many revelations about people you once thought could do no wrong.
The Creep Dive is a brand new show to come from Dublin podcasters Sophie White, Jen O’Dwyer and Cassie Delaney who investigate and report on the lesser known details of the bizarre stories that made the headlines. From con artists to encounters with the supernatural, they admit to “delving deeper than any normal person has time for”, and they are not lying on that front. A show that provides a thoroughly enjoyable listen for the chuckle-chasers and die-hard snoops alike.
Based upon the premise that even the most successful experience failure, Without Fail sees host Alex Blumberg interview people from a whole host of different industries, from business to sport and culture, about their life journeys. Although each person is widely known for their success, the focus is on how they failed along the way to the top, and what they learned as a result.
Star episode: Ep.9 with Sophia Amoruso
“Funny people talking about death and grief”, is the premise for Griefcast, hosted by British comedian Cariad Lloyd. Each episode features guests sharing their personal experiences in an honest, frank and open-hearted way, and because it’s comedians who are sharing their experiences, even the saddest tales are interjected with moments of hilarity.
This podcast might not actually kill you, but it covers a whole range of afflictions that can – from Ebola to Influenza; HIV to Yellow Fever. Each episode tackles a different disease, exploring its history, the reasons why it spread, and how scared you do/ don’t need to be about it today. But it’s not all science and biology either, the hosts (both named Erin) manage to make the topic of infectious diseases fun, funny, all the while providing endlessly interesting fodder for dinner party conversation.
Dreamgun Film Reads is an alternative comedy podcast recorded in front of a live audience in Dublin City. Each episode sees the group of actors and comedians pick a different film and then performs the script alongside their own witty quips and interjections along the way. The result? A hilarious recreation of your favourite scenes.
Star episode: The Titanic reading will have you splitting your sides laughing. Fact.
Finding Cleo tells the haunting story of Cleo; a young, Native American girl who was taken from her Saskatchewan First Nations community by child welfare workers in the 1970’s. The story goes that, in an effort to escape and return to her Cree family, 11 year old Cleo tried hitching a ride back home; only to become the victim of a brutal murder. This podcast series follows Cleo’s family as they continue to search for their sister’s missing body all these years later.
Joan and Jericha are the fictitious hosts of an agony aunt-style show that specialises in "life coaching, female sexual health, psycho-genital counselling and sports journalism", despite being qualified in absolutely none of the above. In each episode, the duo receive “listener questions”; with issues ranging from the preposterous to the devastating, and yet the fun is often in the insulting, flippant and hilarious retorts hurled from our hosts. Get ready to laugh.
If it’s a witty assortment of random facts and “titbits du jour” presented and discussed by a gang of comedians that you’re looking for, then oh boy are you in for a treat. In each episode we hear the researchers from the TV show QI share the random facts they discovered from that week, with topics ranging from the bizarre to the fascinating.
This podcast is a must-listen for any aspiring investigative journalists out there as it brings listeners behind the scenes of some of the best investigative journalism from recent years. In each episode we hear journalists talk about the leads, the dead-ends and of course, the tip offs that allow them to get to the bottom of the biggest stories that headline across our news channels. Journalism doesn’t get much more dramatic than this.