If there was a theme to this week’s episodes of Irishman Abroad it would be personal battles.

The world-beating podcast started by telling the stories of Irish emigrants, it continues to grow this week focusing on Foil Arms & Hog’s rocky road to global success, Sonia O’Sullivan on the hardest discipline in running, and a moving account of life through the pandemic from the perspective of someone listed in the vulnerable category.

The Big Interview: Foil, Arms & Hog

Jarlath Regan, the host, and creator of the Irishman Abroad Podcast can relate to the lads from Foil, Arms & Hog. Not only did they attend the same university and found their college courses to be a huge distraction from their passion for messing, but they also created beloved online content with millions of downloads and regular subscribers across the world.

Conor McKenna (Arms), Sean Flannagan (Hog), and Sean Finnegan (Foil) take us through the story of how they went from being an unbookable sketch group to the creators of perhaps the most beloved Irish YouTube videos of all time. They were labeled an overnight success, in spite of their ten years of graft they put in playing minuscule venues, barking for an audience in the rains of Edinburgh, and paying their rent with loose change. In this hilarious and unmissable feature episode, Jarlath drills down with the help of some deep-dive research into how they first came together, found their voice and their audience as a direct result of the 2012 recession. The Irishman Abroad big Sunday interview is available here.

Coronapod: Tina Regan tells her story

In the early days of the pandemic, Irishman Abroad began a mini-series of COVID myth-busting podcasts featuring a wide range of experts in the field of immunology and sources close to the government in Ireland. This Friday the series returned for a discussion about the large group of people who still remain vulnerable in spite of the success of the vaccination rollout.

In the rush to open up and return to “normal” life this group remains scared and completely reliant on those who are in good health if they are to return to anything nearing a regular life. Jarlath sits down with his wife Tina for this chat and the result is a powerful and moving account of the struggle pre and post-pandemic to hold onto her dignity, sanity, and health.

This episode is an absolute must-listen regardless of where you stand on the lifting of lockdowns and vaccination. It is a brave and personal piece of podcasting from a woman reluctantly baring her soul in the hope that it might help others. Make time to listen to it today.

Running Abroad with Sonia O'Sullivan: “Take my breath away"

Sonia O’Sullivan has been a regular contributor to the weekly Irishman Abroad series for the last year. Not only has she helped countless listeners reach their personal best running times and fitness, she has advised us on everything from nutrition to mobility, recovery, and mentality.

This week, from her training camp in Park City Utah, she delves into an area that most of us take for granted - breathing. A recent book entitled Breathe by James Nestor is the jumping-off point for the Irish Olympic icon. From there she examines the benefits of nasal breathing to runners of all levels.

This weekly podcast is essentially a free personal coaching session with Sonia with the added benefit of big laughs from her conversation with our host Jarlath. In the extended cut of the show, available to patrons of the podcast here, Sonia’s own coach from back in Cobh, County Cork, joins the chat to give us the 3 top marathon training tips that everyone seems to forget.

Selection Box - Cian Byrne

Selection Box - Cian Byrne.

Selection Box - Cian Byrne.

Finally, the Irishman Abroad culture show Selection Box has been traveling the country to find the most extraordinary independent book shops. This week, Cian Byrne tells us about taking the road less traveled, forgoing the plan he laid out in big business to return to his family home in Maynooth and take over the running of Maynooth Book Shop.

Publicly Cian appeared to have it all figured out. Then over a cup of coffee with his father, he realized that he needed to leave the big machine in favor of that which was personal, small, and beautiful. This is the seventh installment in a ten-part mini-series that has traveled the length and breadth of the country to help promote bookshops that have gone toe to toe with the Goliath of Amazon and won.

What's in store next week

Next week on Irishman Abroad Jarlath serves up another buffet of brilliant listening with the return US correspondent Marion McKeone, a one-on-one chat with airline CEO Dec Ryan, the hidden world of rare book collecting with Will De Burca, and more training tips from Sonia O’Sullivan. Irishman Abroad is crowdfunded series. To support its creation and in return gain access to the full archive of interviews from the last 8 years of the podcast simply click here.