Hitchhiking“It probably will never return to its glory days.”

As heard on Today with Claire Byrne

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When was the last time you hitchhiked your way across the USA (or anywhere, for that matter)? When was the last time (if ever) you picked up a hitchhiker? It’s a way of getting around that’s been fading away for a long, long time and Today with Claire Byrne reporter Brian O’Connell decided to pose the question, has the pandemic finally killed off hitchhiking in Ireland? When asked …

Aran Islands Reopening“We can do this as long as we’re safe and follow the rules.”

As heard on Today with Claire Byrne

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As the country slowly moves out of level 5 restrictions, the tourism industry is gearing up for the summer, one that it hopes will be fuelled by people’s pent-up, lockdown-fed desire to go anywhere at all, as long as it’s more than 5km from their house. On Today with Claire Byrne, reporter Brian O’Connell bravely ventured to the sunny Aran Islands to gauge their readiness to receive …

Small Ads Story“I found out that the person I thought was my father wasn’t.”

As heard on Today with Claire Byrne

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Some small ads in newspapers are simple looking-for-love declarations by a given person hoping to meet someone they could strike up a relationship with. And then some small ads are a little broader in their scope, like the one Brian O’Connell brought to our attention on Today with Claire Byrne. This seemingly-humble ad actually hid an epic story of war, romance and a lifelong search. Here’s …

Online Harassment“Many of the women told me it was a daily experience, particularly around men sending them unsolicited explicit pictures.”

As heard on Today with Claire Byrne

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On Safer Internet Day, Today with Claire Byrne reporter Brian O’Connell found out just how difficult it is to have a significant online presence when you’re a woman and not receive – at best – unwanted attention from men you don’t know. Image-based abuse and online harassment are alarmingly frequent and Irish law has been updated recently in an attempt to combat this. Brian …

Dunmore East Amish Community“We try to critique some of the consumerism and maybe the violence and some of those things that might be present in broader society.” 

As heard on Drivetime

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Brian O’Connell’s experience with the Amish community wasn’t so different from Harrison Ford’s in the film Witness. Admittedly, Brian wasn’t a world-weary detective on the run from his colleagues. There was no dancing to Sam Cooke tunes. No barn-raising. No gun of the hand. And Brian was in Co Waterford, not Pennsylvania. But he did meet some Christians who apply the Amish Mennonite traditions to their everyday lives. And, …

Cork University Hospital“If numbers continue to deteriorate as it appears that they are, it’s going to have knock-on consequences.”

As heard on Today with Claire Byrne

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There are many worrying takeaways from Brian O’Connell’s report from Cork University Hospital for Today with Claire Byrne on Thursday, the first of which is the fact that just four weeks ago, CUH had no Covid-19 patients in the hospital. When Brian visited them on Wednesday, they had 20, two of whom were in Intensive Care.   “Everyone I met in the CUH, nurse managers, …

Behind the Small Ads“He gave it to me as the eldest son to mind for the family – which I haven’t done a good job of.” 

As heard on Today with Claire Byrne

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By his own admission, Today with Claire Byrne reporter Brian O’Connell’s long-standing interest in classifieds – the small ads – is bordering on obsession. This is good news for us though, as Brian brought us more stories behind the small ads on Tuesday’s programme. One of his best sources through the years has been The Echo newspaper in Cork and it’s in the Lost and Found section of that paper where …

Love in a Covid Climate“There’s something about being infected with a pandemic disease that just takes the romance out of things.”

As heard on Today with Claire Byrne

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It’s a story as old as time itself: you go out on a first date, end up back in your date’s house and then a coronavirus lockdown is declared, trapping you there for three days. This is what the dating scene looks like in the time of Covid-19, according to Brian O’Connell’s report for Wednesday’s Today with Claire Byrne. Brian spoke to people about their experience …