Podcast Hiberno Goethe

Logo Hiberno Goethe German Irish Conversations © Goethe-Institut


This Podcast dives into the many aspects of arts, language and life across cultures. St. Pauli fan and former Düsseldorfer Ciarán Murray and his guests explore the connecting moments of German and Irish life. What do musicians, dancers, artists, writers pick up from either culture? How are they inspired and enriched by the other? For all listeners who like to go and think beyond borders.

Goethe-Institut Irland Logo © Goethe-Institut Irland

Goethe-Institut Irland


Oya Demirci © Rich Gilligan

Intro: Oya Demirci

In the intro episode of the Hiberno Goethe Podcast, Ciarán Murray talks to Oya Demirci, library director of the Goethe-Institut Ireland and initiator of this project. They talk about Oya's love of literature, about music, dance, cuisine and the idea behind this podcast.

Sharon Carty © Frances Marshall

Episode 1: Sharon Carty

Today Ciarán talks to mezzo-soprano Sharon Carty, who tells us about her path to the stages of German and Irish opera houses, her work experience in the two countries, about the history of opera houses in Germany, costumes, poems that became song lyrics and the pub culture of the two countries. 

Deike Potzel © Goethe-Institut Irland

Episode 2: Deike Potzel

This month Ciarán is in conversation with German Ambassador Deike Potzel. Born in East Berlin, she talks about her interest in Irish history and literature, borders in Germany and Ireland, her experiences growing up in the GDR, German and Irish stereotypes and gives many recommendations for those interested in literature and music.

John Scott © Peggy Jarrell Kaplan

Episode 3: John Scott

Today's guest is John Scott, choreographer, operatic tenor, and artistic director of the Irish Modern Dance Theatre. Ciarán and John talk about his first encounters with dance and theatre as a child, his appreciation of the German language, culture, and cultural venues in Germany, as well as the challenges that COVID restrictions brought to the dance world.

Ulrike Gasser © Rich Gilligan

Episode 4: Ulrike Gasser

This month Ciarán talks to Ulrike Gasser, director of the Goethe-Institut Irland, about her interest in and appreciation for Middle Eastern cultures, especially Turkish culture and language. They also talk about the Goethe-Institut's mission around the world, Christmas in Ireland and Germany and the literature of Heinrich Böll, which sparked an affinity for Ireland in Germany after the World War Two.

Don Morgan © Privat

Episode 5: Don Morgan

In this episode, Ciarán talks to Donnchadh Morgan, son of a German mother and Irish comedian Dermot Morgan, about his personal experiences with the German-Irish cultural world. They explore the history of his grandparents who had to leave Silesia and Pomerania, they talk about how his parents met at the Dublin Horse Show, and about the very serious but also humorous side of Germans.

Gerard Byrne © Private

Episode 6: Gerard Byrne

Today Ciarán is in conversation with Gerard Byrne, artist and teacher at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. Together they explore the significance of the Städelschule as one of Germany's most influential art schools, the important role Germany plays in the visual arts internationally and the relevance of cities like Frankfurt, Münster, and Kassel for the international art scene. 

Siobhán Armstrong © Andrew Hendon

Episode 7: Siobhán Armstrong

This episode features Siobhán Armstrong, one of Europe’s foremost historical harpists. In the late 1980’s after finishing college Siobhán moved to a little town close to Stuttgart, to start a harp department in the newly built Music School. Siobhán tells us about the history of the Irish harp, historical harp music, and the social role of harpists back in the day.

Emily Kraft © Wikimedia Commons - Emily Kraft

Episode 8: Emily Kraft

Today's guest is Irish international footballer Emily Kraft. Ciarán and Emily talk about football and the importance of this and other sports in her family, about the differences between life in Sutton and her childhood in Gernsheim, and about her final school days in Germany.

Jan Wagner © Alberto Novelli - Villa Massimo

Episode 9: Jan Wagner

Today Ciarán chats with Jan Wagner, essayist, poet, and translator, about what writing poetry does to the poet, about performance venues for poetry in Germany and Ireland and the process of translating verse, how some of the meaning is lost, but something new is always gained through the linguistic idiosyncrasies.

Mia Gallagher © Robbie Fry

Episode 10: Mia Gallagher

This episode of Hiberno Goethe features Dublin writer and performer Mia Gallagher. Graduating at the time of recession in the late 1980s, Dublin city was a much more monocultural place to live than we know it today. Having German roots allowed Mia to be in a position to observe and process life through another lens which fed into her creativity as an artist.

Arnd Witte © NearFM

Folge 11: Arnd Witte

In this episode Ciarán chats to his former lecturer and Professor of Modern Languages Dr. Arnd Witte. We first hear about Arnd's upbringing in Hiddigwardermoor before turning to the origin of Arnd's love of the English language, not in literature but in Jim Morrison and the Rolling Stones. He tells us about his years in Bristol and Nigeria and how he ended up as a third level German teacher in Ireland.

Hugo Hamilton Marc O'Sullivan

Episode 12: Hugo Hamilton

Hugo Hamilton is our guest on this special edition of Hiberno Goethe live in the library of the Goethe-Institut Irland. Hugo talks about his book Speckled People and what it was like growing up in a strict "language war" led by his father, as the child of a German mother in Ireland after World War Two. He talks about the research for his book The Pages and reads a few passages.

René Böll © Private

Episode 13: René Böll

Today, Ciarán chats with visual artist René Böll, son of Nobel Prize winner for literature Heinrich Böll, about René's memories of his hometown Cologne after World War Two and his family holidays on the remote Achill Island. He tells us about his experiences in the 1960s as the son of a well-known and controversial writer and how Achill Island influenced his own work as a visual artist.

Killian and Helmut Sundermann © Private

Episode 14: Killian and Helmut Sundermann

Our guests in this episode are comedian Killian Sundermann and Helmut Sundermann, teacher and assistant principal at St. Killians Deutsche Schule Dublin. Father and son talk to Ciarán about their shared interest in music, German and Irish humour, football, and observations about the cultural differences between the two countries which are the focus of Killian's online comedy like in Kuchen for example.


Gisela Holfter © Goethe-Institut Irland

Episode 15: Gisela Holfter

This episode features Gisela Holfter, Professor at the University of Limerick and Co-Director of the Centre for Irish-German Studies. Chatting with Ciarán about her time in Dublin, Belfast and later in Limerick, the listeners are brought on a literary journey depicting Brothers Grimm, brothers Thomas and Heinrich Mann, and Wilhelm von Humbold, to name a few.

Christoph Schwitzer © Patrick Bolger

Episode 16: Christoph Schwitzer

In this episode Ciarán is in conversation with Christoph Schwitzer, director of Dublin Zoo. They talk about his journey to becoming zoo director, from his early childhood interest in animals, his experiences while studying lemur monkeys in Madagascar and his time spent at Bristol Zoo.

Stefanie Preissner © Private

Episode 17: Stefanie Preissner

Today, Ciarán chats with actress, director and award-winning stage and screenwriter, Stefanie Preissner. Stefanie was diagnosed with autism as an adult and explains why girls and women are harder to diagnose. They also talk about German humour, the differences between writing for stage and for TV and about the Irish relationship with alcohol and its role in her TV show Can’t Cope Won’t Cope.

Stefan Hutzler © Private

Episode 18: Stefan Hutzler

Today’s guest is Stefan Hutzler, Associate Professor of Physics at Trinity College Dublin. The two talk about his hometown Regensburg, physicists like Kepler and Einstein and the difference between Guiness foam and Weissbier foam. Stefan talks about his second passion, music, and gives us a performance of some of his songs.

Vera Klute © Private

Episode 19: Vera Klute

This episode features multidisciplinary artist Vera Klute, who tells us about the Schützenfest tradition in her home village and invites listeners to delve into her world of visual arts. The two talk about her exhibition with Thomas Brezig The Loneliness of being German, her contribution to the Women on Walls project and her iconic statue of Luke Kelly at the Docklands in Dublin 1.

Elizabeth McSkeane © Private

Episode 20: Elizabeth McSkeane

Today Ciarán chats to author and publisher Elizabeth McSkeane about her Glaswegian upbringing, the work of her publishing company, Turas Press, and Samuel Beckett's time in Germany in the 1930s. We hear Liz reading works by the German-based Irish poet, Jo Burns, from her latest collection Brink.

Dorothee Meyer-Holtkamp © Private

Episode 21: Dorothee Meyer-Holtkamp

Our guest in this final episode of the Hiberno Goethe Podcast is Dorothee Meyer-Holtkamp, producer of the series and Outreach Coordinator of Near Media Co-op. Dorothee talks about her childhood and youth in northern Germany and her travelling, which took her via Scotland and France to Ireland in the late 1990s. Finally, the two look back on the many conversations with the guests of the Hiberno Goethe Podcast.