Éamonn Ó Catháin

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Éamonn Ó Catháin is an Irish chef, sometime author and journalist and broadcaster, who is a lover of folk music, especially Irish and Breton and is reasonably knowledgeable on the subject.

Originally from Belfast, he lived for many years in Dublin where he owned and ran Shay Beano, a French restaurant. Since then he has participated in some Irish daytime television programmes, such as 'The Afternoon Show', conducting cookery demonstrations on Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ). One then-regular item, called "Meal or no Meal", is a spoof on Noel Edmonds's Deal or no Deal. Ó Catháin picked five numbered red boxes from a mystery choice of 15. Each box contained one ingredient, and when all five are chosen, the challenge is set for him to come up with either a meal or no meal, by the end of the show.

But he was much better-known for his programmes on TG4, among them 'Nua Gach Bia', 'Bia's Bóthar' and 'Cósta Uí Chatháin'. Bia's Bóthar, for example was a travelogue initially of Ireland and then Europe, presented entirely in Irish with English subtitles where he cooks a meal, often outdoors, from local ingredients. It ran for five series from 2001 to 2005. The final series visited many of the accession countries then joining the EU.

He also broadcast a radio show on world music on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta. It was called Thar Tír Isteach and went out on Friday nights, concentrating on music from Russia, Poland, Portugal, Africa, Brazil and various other “new Irish” communities now resident in recently multicultural Ireland. Prior to that, there were long-running series on RTÉ Radio One such as 'Wide World Music' as well as a classical series in Irish, 'Cartlann Uí Chatháin' on RTÉ Lyric FM.

For the most part radio shows were confined to Éamonn's love of music with the exception of 'Love Bites' for RTÉ and 'The Global Gourmet' for the BBC.

He is very interested in languages, speaking Irish, English, French fluently with smatterings of Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese and Welsh. His three books to date are The Irish Folk Music Guide (1981), Around Ireland With a Pan - Food, Tales and Recipes (2004) and The Hard Times Cook Book (2009). He is not currently writing a tome on technology but is a frequent Tweeter (https://twitter.com/culabula) and Facebooker.

At one time he had 29 mobile phones in an attempt to thwart exorbitant roaming charges in Europe, though the need for that any more has been largely negated by the advent of iPhone and the suppression of roaming charges. Instead he has a ToggleMobile SIM with nine numbers on it and a data SIM which he can use anywhere.

A big fan of travelling by train, these days he will more often walk as far as his legs will take him, weather permitting.

He lives alone in 'The Hovel' surrounded by thousands of LPs, singles and unloved Compact Discs.

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