Claire Cunningham is an independent radio producer, specialising in programmes on arts subjects and international development.
Contact me to obtain recordings for personal use, license them for broadcast or to discuss a programme idea.
The Poetry Programme is presented by Olivia O’Leary and broadcast weekly on RTÉ Radio 1 on Sundays at 7:30 pm.
Words Lightly Spoken. A weekly podcast of poetry from Ireland which began in January 2019.
The Inishlacken Project (working title). Claire Cunningham tells the story of how the tiny island of Inishlacken, off the coast of Galway, inspired three Belfast artists 70 years ago and continues to inspire artists today. To be broadcast in the Lyric Feature on RTÉ lyric fm in 2021.
Missing Voices (working title). The stories of some of Irish women poets from the past whose voices are being re-discovered. To be broadcast as a series of three programmes in the Lyric Feature on RTÉ lyric fm in 2021.
The Limerick Man (working title). The Irish journeys and friendships of Edward Lear and their influence on his creative life. To be presented by Sara Lodge, Senior Lecturer in English, University of St Andrew’s, Scotland, and author of a biography of Edward Lear, published by Harvard University Press in 2018: Inventing Edward Lear. To be broadcast as a Lyric Feature on RTÉ lyric fm in 2021.
Bull Island Haiku. A poetic exploration of Bull Island by poet Pat Boran. First broadcast as a Lyric Feature on RTÉ lyric fm on 4th October 2020.
A radical life. Biographer Susan Manly explores the radical life of the Irish novelist Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849). First broadcast as a Lyric Feature on RTÉ lyric fm on 19 May 2019 at 6 pm. Repeated Sunday 24th May 2020 at 6 pm.
The Miners’ Way Poet Jane Clarke travels the Miners’ Way in County Wicklow. Broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 3rd May 2020 at 16:30. Repeated Saturday 9th May at 23:30. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000htr0
A Cradle Song The story of a rare collaboration between the Irish composer Brian Boydell and American poet John Berryman. Broadcast as a Lyric Feature on Sunday 22nd March 2020 at 6pm on RTÉ lyric fm.
Crossing the Sound Poet Gerald Dawe brings us on a poetic odyssey through the west of Ireland. Broadcast as a Lyric Feature on Sunday 22nd December 2019 at 6 pm on RTÉ lyric fm.
An Oriental Romance: Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh A programme to mark the 200th anniversary in 2017 of the publication of Thomas Moore’s epic oriental poem Lalla Rookh. The programme was made in collaboration with Project ERIN, which is based at the School of Arts, English and Languages, Queen’s University Belfast, and was first broadcast as a Lyric Feature on Sunday 10 September 2017 at 6 pm on RTÉ lyric fm. Repeated Sunday 1 April 2018. Re-broadcast Saturday 9th November 2019 on RTÉ lyric fm preceding an Opera Night performance.
My Modest Proposal. 290 years after the publication of Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal, six Irish poets make their own modest proposals to tackle today’s social inequalities. First broadcast on Tuesday 15th October 2019 on BBC Radio 4. Re-broadcast Saturday 28th April 2020 on BBC Radio 4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009b34
Poetry Aloud. A programme about the annual poetry-speaking competition for second level students in Ireland. First broadcast as a Lyric Feature on RTÉ lyric fm at 6 pm on Sunday 6th January 2019. Repeated on RTÉ lyric fm at 6 pm on Sunday 6th October 2019.
Undersong. This radio programme is about the life and work of Dublin-born poet Lola Ridge. When she died in 1941 the New York Times described her as one of the leading poets of America, but she has been largely forgotten. First broadcast as a Lyric Feature on Sunday 8th September 2019 at 6 pm. Repeated Sunday 29th November 2020.
No Egos No Divas: New Poets in Irish is a documentary on a new wave of young poets writing in the Irish language. Presented by Louis de Paor, and featuring poets Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Aifric Mac Aodha, Simon Ó Fáolain, Marcus Mac Conghail, Caitlín Nic Iomhair and Séamus Barra Ó Súilleabhain. First broadcast Sunday 28th July 2019 at 4:30 pm on BBC Radio 4. Repeated Saturday 3rd August at 23:30. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000747k
Victor Herbert, Son of Dublin. A programme co-produced with Guy Livingston about the Irish-American composer Victor Herbert. Broadcast as a Lyric Feature on RTÉ lyric fm at 6 pm on Sunday 27th January 2019. Re-broadcast on WNYE 91.5 FM in New York on Saturday 2 February 2019. This programme won silver at the 2019 New York Festivals Radio Awards in the ‘biography/profiles’ category.
Home Againe. Poet John McAuliffe explores the legacy of the Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser and the influence of Spenser’s work on his own poetry. Broadcast as a Lyric Feature on RTÉ lyric fm at 6 pm on Sunday 9th December 2018.
Bantry Bay. A dramatized reading, with music and sound effects, of a sequence of poems by poet Mick Delap which tells stories of Bantry Bay from 1796 to the present day. Broadcast as a Lyric Feature on Sunday 16 September 2018 at 6 pm on RTÉ lyric fm.
What’s for homework, Miss? 80 years after it was created, this programme tells the story of the Schools’ Folklore Collection and explores its treasure trove of contents with historians, researchers, and the children of today. Broadcast on Newstalk on 2nd and 8th September 2018. Repeated 4th and 5th May 2019.
Ducks Down. Children of today learn about the games played by children of the past. They try out games recorded in the Schools’ Folklore Collection 80 years ago and give their verdict. Is there any chance that they might bin the batteries and switch off the screens in favour of playing ‘Ducks Down’? This series of short programmes was broadcast on RTÉjr Radio in October/November 2018. Some episodes were also made available as podcasts accompanying the Homeschool Hub programme on RTÉ2 in April/May/June 2020. The ‘Tap the Slipper’ episode was podcast on Thursday 9th April 2020. The ‘Hoop and Ball’ episode was podcast on Thursday 7th May. The episode ‘Draw, Draw a Bucket of Water’ was podcast on Thursday 4th June. https://www.rte.ie/radio/radioplayer/html5/#/podcasts/series/31814
Home Thoughts A one-hour programme which is part meditation, part performance, as poet Gerald Dawe and singer Eleanor Shanley explore the idea of ‘home’, with prose, poetry and songs from Belfast, Galway and Dublin. Broadcast as a Lyric Feature on RTÉ lyric fm on Sunday 28th January 2018.
The Banshee and the Tiger The story of the life and work of the controversial and ground-breaking American composer Henry Cowell (1897-1965), who produced dozens of compositions influenced by his Irish heritage and by Irish music and folklore. The programme is presented by pianist and radio producer Guy Livingston. Broadcast as a Lyric Feature on RTÉ lyric fm on Sunday 21st January 2018. This programme won bronze at the 2018 New York Festivals Radio Awards in the ‘music’ category.
Mince Pies and Minor Chords A one-hour programme on the life and work of Amy H H A Beach (1867-1944), considered to be the first successful American female composer of large-scale art music, who again and again during her composing career returned to Irish sources for inspiration. The programme was broadcast as a Lyric Feature on Friday 1 September 2017 at 7 pm on RTÉ lyric fm.
His Chosen Islands A tribute to the poet Richard Murphy, who celebrates his 90th birthday this year. The programme was first broadcast as a Lyric Feature on Friday 4 August 2017 at 7 pm on RTÉ lyric fm. Repeated Sunday 31st December 2017 at 6 pm on RTÉ lyric fm and again on 4th February 2018, following the poet’s death on 31st January 2018. This programme won silver at the New York Festivals Awards in the Culture and the Arts category.
When the War is Over. The story of the life and work of Francis Ledwidge through his poetry, from his childhood in Slane to his death in Flanders on 31st July 1917. Broadcast as a Lyric Feature on 23 June 2017 on RTÉ lyric fm.
Crystalline is a 40-minute documentary funded by the BAI’s Sound & Vision scheme telling the story of an extraordinary journey undertaken by artist Siobhan McDonald to the Arctic circle. Broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm on 7 October 2016.
The Sounds of Grief is a 40-minute documentary funded by the BAI’s Sound & Vision scheme telling the story of one of our most infamous and persistent traditions – caoineadh/keening – the Irish funeral cry. Broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm on Friday 29 January 2016 at 7 pm.
Making the Grade is a one-hour documentary on the Local Centre Exams of the Royal Irish Academy of Music, which are central to the musical education of Ireland’s music lovers and music professionals. Broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm on Friday 6 February 2015 at 7 pm.
History on a Plate, Series two – a six-part series made in collaboration with Catherine Cleary, freelance journalist and restaurant critic with the Irish Times, and social historian Juliana Adelman. Broadcast on RTÉ Radio One on Saturdays at 7:30 between 22 November 2014 and 10 January 2015.
A fugue a day is a one-hour radio documentary on beloved music teacher and composer Joseph Groocock, who made an immense contribution to music education in Ireland. Broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm on 21 November 2014.
Counting the milestones – one hour documentary on the life and work of author and tramp Jim Phelan. Broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm on Friday 18 July 2014.
Wagner’s Music in Ireland, a two-part series exploring the relationship of Irish audiences, authors, critics and composers with the music of Wagner over the past 150 years. Presented by Michael Murphy of the Department of Music, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. Programmes broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm on 27 September and 4 October 2013. Re-broadcast 28 July and 4 August 2019.
History on a Plate, a six-part series made in collaboration with Catherine Cleary, freelance journalist and restaurant critic with the Irish Times, and social historian Juliana Adelman. Broadcast on Fridays at 7 pm on RTÉ lyric fm from 5 July to 9 August 2013. Re-broadcast on RTÉ Radio One on Saturdays at 7:30 pm from 11 October 2014.
A Tale of Two Siblings, a one hour documentary on Edith and Charles Hubert Oldham.
Lafcadio, a two-part documentary on the life and work of writer Lafcadio Hearn. This programme is a collaboration with independent radio producer Julien Clancy.
The Belgian Connection, a half hour documentary on Belgian soldiers based in Northern Ireland during World War 2.
Women of Note, a six-part radio series on Irish woman composers.
My Mount Everest, a documentary in which adult literacy students tell their stories. This programme was shortlisted for a PPI Radio Award in 2011.
From the Darkness, a documentary on Ina Boyle (1889-1967), a major Irish Composer of the early 20th century.
Remembered Words, a series of short features on forgotten/neglected writers.
The Fulbright Experience, a series about the impact of a Fulbright scholarship on the lives and careers of Irish people who went to study in the US and Americans who came to Ireland.
Dancing with Two Left Legs, award-wining documentary on music projects which have been set up in Bosnia since the war. This programme won bronze at the 2010 New York Festivals Radio Awards.
What’s the Irish for Bedtime Story?, a documentary on the first ever Irish language production of American composer Tom Johnson‘s Bedtime Stories.
Bound by Regulations, a documentary (my first ever!) on the hiring fair of Strabane.