Doireann Ní Bhriain

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Doireann Ní Bhriain
Dublin, Ireland
ResidenceDublin, Ireland
EducationUniversity College Dublin (UCD)
OccupationRadio producer; voice and presentation trainer, voiceover artist
EmployerRTÉ (1972–1993)
Known forRadio and TV journalism and affiliation with RTÉ Radio 1

Doireann Ní Bhriain (pronounced [ˈdˠərʲiːn nʲiː ˈvrʲiːənʲ], born 1952) is an Irish independent radio producer.[1] She began her career as a radio and television journalist,[2] and started out reading children's stories on television. From those beginnings, she went on to work for RTÉ for over 20 years before moving on in 1993. She is best known for her work and affiliation with RTÉ Radio 1.

She was a long-running reporter on the radio current affairs programme Women Today,[3][4] for which she is well known. She was the presenter of the Eurovision Song Contest 1981, held in Dublin.[5] In 1993, she won a Jacob's Award for her work on RTÉ Radio.[6]

Early life[edit]

Ní Bhriain was the first of three children born in Dublin in 1952, to Neasa Ní Annracháin, an actress, and Seán Ó Briain, a civil servant. She made her broadcasting debut at the age of eight, in a radio play with her mother, who was part of the Radio Éireann Players. Bilingual in Irish and English,[7] she studied at the University College Dublin and graduated in French and Spanish.[7]

Early RTÉ career (1972–1981)[edit]

Ní Bhriain started her career with RTÉ in 1972, as a presenter of children's programmes. She then went on to co-present the magazine show Tangents and became one of the first Irish female broadcasters to break into the current affairs arena. She worked as a presenter of the flagship Irish language programme, Féach. She took a break from journalism in 1976 and spent a year in Kenya, teaching in a rural school, and later in Nairobi.

In 1979, she started a job as reporter on the landmark radio current affairs programme Women Today, which was hosted at that time by Marian Finucane. She subsequently became presenter of the programme after Marian's departure.

Eurovision 1981[edit]

Outside Ireland, Ní Bhriain is best known for being the solo presenter of the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest. The dress she wore for the occasion was designed by Richard Lewis, while the gold jewellery was designed by Mary Grey.

In a 2004 interview with the Sunday Times (Irish edition), she said of the experience, "I did it for a laugh... it was offered me because I was quite well known, and because I spoke French and Irish with some ease... I always tell people that there was no autocue in those days: I had to learn it all off."

Ní Bhriain provided the RTÉ Radio commentary for the 1991 Contest.

Continuing career with RTÉ Radio 1 (1981–1993)[edit]

After hosting Eurovision 1981, Ní Bhriain left RTÉ again, this time to pursue a scholarship granted to her from the Journalists in Europe programme in Paris. On her return, she co-presented The Women's Programme with Marian Finucane. This was a groundbreaking, prime-time magazine and current affairs programme. She also worked the RTÉ Belfast newsroom (where she met her husband, Andy Pollak) and presented the Book Programme on RTÉ Radio 1. The late 1980s saw her take her first courses in radio production, and soon after she worked as a producer on The Arts Show with Mike Murphy. She also produced several radio documentaries, winning a Jacob's Award in 1983 for her work with Nuala Hayes on 'Moving Statues', a documentary on the work of sculptor Louise Walsh. She left RTÉ in 1993 to run the L'Imaginaire Irlandais festival in France, living between Dublin and Paris until the festival was over in 1996.

Recent life and career[edit]

In 2000, she moved on to work in arts project management and consultancy for a number of years. She developed an expertise in festival management and cultural tourism. She also continued to work in radio as an independent producer, producing series on volunteering, on minority religions in Ireland, on urban development in Ireland, and documentaries for RTÉ radio and Raidio na Gaeltachta. In recent years, she has specialised in voice and presentation training, independent radio production and TV voiceover work in English and Irish. Ní Bhriain currently provides the recorded announcements on the Luas, the tram system in Dublin, in both Irish and English.

See also[edit]


Preceded by
Netherlands Marlous Fluitsma
Eurovision Song Contest presenter
Succeeded by
United Kingdom Jan Leeming