The pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates

We asked the six con­tenders about their per­sonal favourites from the worlds of art, lit­er­a­ture, stage and screen

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - NEWS - IN CON­VER­SA­TION WITH SHILPA GANATRA

PETER CASEY

Cur­rent favourite book I’ve read most of Stu­art Wilde’s books, and I re­ally like Life Was Never Meant to Be a Strug­gle. It’s a lovely lit­tle book that ex­plains how once you get in tune with your en­ergy, in tune with the uni­verse, and that the uni­verse pro­vides. You can read it in an hour or two. I give it to my staff and my chil­dren.

Restau­rant

I would eat In­dian food seven days a week if I could. Bom­bay Bi­cy­cle is the best In­dian in Lon­don. There are some nice restau­rants in Dublin that I’m fond of too, I like Locks. It’s quiet and it’s lovely, I can walk to it from my house. It would prob­a­bly be my favourite non-In­dian.

Co­me­dian

That’s an easy one: Sacha Baron Co­hen. He’s so amaz­ingly dis­re­spect­ful, I could watch him for hours. Bo­rat would be an all-time clas­sic of his, but all those Ali G movies are hi­lar­i­ous.

Play/mu­si­cal

I’ve prob­a­bly seen Phan­tom of the Opera about 10 times, that’s def­i­nitely my favourite.

Artist/de­signer

My favourite artist is Steve Pen­ley, and I col­lect his art­work. It’s so re­al­is­tic. There’s huge big blobs of paint and you won­der how each could pos­si­bly have their de­gree of ac­cu­racy. I’ve never seen art like it. I got him to do a paint­ing as a present for my wife of the Ir­ish-Amer­i­can pres­i­dents; it’s a 10ft by 6ft pic­ture of Woodrow Wil­son, An­drew Jack­son, JFK, and Ron­ald Rea­gan, and it’s a beau­ti­ful big oil paint­ing.

City

I love Dublin. It has ev­ery­thing, and Dublin in the spring and au­tumn is ab­so­lutely stun­ning. Syd­ney would be a close sec­ond be­cause I love beaches. When I was in Syd­ney, I would go four or five times a week to re­lax.

Al­bum

I adore all of Adele’s al­bums. My chil­dren download them for me, I’ve got ev­ery song she’s ever done on my iPhone. She’s got the best range, so Adele all day long.

Ac­tor

John Wayne. I re­ally like him in The Sons of Katie Elder. That was my fa­ther’s favourite film, I must have watched it with him two dozen times. John Wayne was the con­sum­mate good guy wasn’t he? He was solid, re­li­able, and al­ways ended up on the right

side.

I’m not into so­cial me­dia. I know that’s a ter­ri­ble thing to say when you’re run­ning for Pres­i­dent, but I’m start­ing to get more into it now. I fol­low Trump just to find out what the lu­natic is say­ing. You think he can’t be more out­ra­geous that he was yes­ter­day. And guess what? He be­comes more out­ra­geous.

TVshow

I haven’t had too much time to watch TV over the year. NCIS is one that I tend to watch be­cause it’s semi-se­ri­ous, and I like watch­ing Friends. If it’s late in the even­ing, I can just zone out with Friends. And I can watch it with the chil­dren, they love it.

Film So­cial-me­di­apro­file

The last one I went to was Philom­ena. Judi Dench just hasn’t made a bad movie. I found that very mov­ing but also dis­turb­ing, and the un­for­tu­nate thing is that it’s still very rel­e­vant. I liked The Dark­est Hour too, the movie about Churchill. He was an amaz­ing leader, and the right man at the right time. I like find­ing out peo­ple’s philoso­phies and un­der­stand­ing how they’re able to achieve what they’ve achieved.

GAVINDUFFY Cur­rent favourite book

My favourite book in the past year was Wounds: A Mem­oir of War and Love by Fer­gal Keane. It’s the story of our Civil War in Ire­land 100 years ago, told from a lo­cal­ity in Kerry, in Ire­land. Keane’s a great sto­ry­teller, and this book gives you a great in­sight into the whole thing, sib­ling against sib­ling and so on.

Restau­rant

The steaks at Monaster­boice Inn in Co Louth are re­mark­able. It’s where I take busi­ness peo­ple. Their eight-ounce fil­let is to die for. It’s not haute cui­sine but I think any­where that has main­tained its stan­dards and rep­u­ta­tion for that long has some­thing spe­cial.

Co­me­dian

Tommy Tier­nan has been my favourite for a long time. I just love ev­ery­thing that he does, and I love the fact that he has mel­lowed with age. Ev­ery­thing I’ve seen him do, ev­ery stand-up show or tele­vi­sion pro­gramme, I’ve en­joyed.

Play/mu­si­cal

The most en­gag­ing pro­duc­tion I came across last year was The Great Gatsby, where the Gate Theatre was trans­formed into the Gatsby House. What an in­no­va­tive way to do theatre. It was par­tic­u­larly suited to the Gate, an old-fash­ioned venue with crys­tal chan­de­liers in the au­di­to­rium any­way. I be­lieve it’s on again at Christ­mas this year, I will be bring­ing friends along to it.

Artist/de­signer

I’ve al­ways been a fan of our great Ir­ish por­trait artist John Lav­ery.

City

The city I love to visit on busi­ness or plea­sure is New York. I have a lot of cousins in New York and some­times I go to see them, and some­times I go but avoid them. I’m an opera fan, so the Metropoli­tan, I would take in on a visit, de­pend­ing on the pro­duc­tions.

Al­bum

Rat­tle and Hum by U2 was con­fir­ma­tion that a Dublin band was world class. And they toured The Joshua Tree again last year as well, so a new gen­er­a­tion has heard the joy of that.

Ac­tor

I’ve sim­ply loved ev­ery­thing that Saoirse Ro­nan has done, and that’s not just be­cause she’s one of our own. She can cap­ture an emo­tion that we as view­ers can con­nect with, just by some­thing as un­der­stated as drop­ping her eyes and look­ing at the floor. It’s not a big showy thing, but you get a great sense of the emo­tion she’s try­ing to share. She’s an out­stand­ing ac­tress.

TV show Film So­cial-me­dia pro­file

@JamesMelvi­lle on Twit­ter has about 100,000 fol­low­ers. He’s clearly a Re­mainer and he’s al­ways able to come up with a funny take on the lat­est thing the Brex­i­teers are do­ing. I would have liked to see the United King­dom stay in the EU. I re­spect their de­ci­sion; it’s go­ing to have a lot of im­pli­ca­tions for Ire­land.

The last boxset I watched was Ozark, but The Wire is my all-time favourite. It’s a story of the drug world in Bal­ti­more, por­trayed with ex­cel­lent writ­ing and a bril­liant cast, and it changed the move­ment and di­rec­tion of TV. It was an ac­quired taste, and I had to go through a pain bar­rier first be­cause I didn’t un­der­stand all of the hood­speak. But once you get in on it, you’re al­most in­doc­tri­nated into the story.

I love movies with a twist, like The Usual Sus­pects and The Sixth Sense. Tully came out re­cently, and it’s a re­ally very un­usual movie about a young Amer­i­can mother strug­gling with a new baby. It’s cer­tainly a topic that I wouldn’t have rushed to­wards, but it’s just one of the clever­est movies I’ve seen in the last few years. It has a bit of a re­veal also.

JOAN FREE­MAN Cur­rent­favourite­book

It’s a guilty plea­sure of mine, but I love John Gr­isham, his books are es­capism at its finest. An all-time favourite of mine is A Time to Kill. I loved it. I read it years ago, though and have since watched the film adap­ta­tion… the book was much bet­ter in my opin­ion.

Restau­rant

I love tra­di­tional Ir­ish food, and The Pig’s Ear on Nas­sau Street in Dublin never dis­ap­points. Their food is the per­fect blend of mod­ern and tra­di­tional. They’re al­ways mak­ing small changes and tweaks to their menu which I like, but their shep­herd’s pie is a def­i­nite favourite of mine, as is the champ mash. And their bread is some of the best in Dublin in my opin­ion.

Co­me­dian

Spike Mil­li­gan was a comedic ge­nius. I loved his ec­cen­tric hu­mour, his per­for­mance style and his prose. He was also a great ad­vo­cate for men­tal-health stigma re­duc­tion and wrote beau­ti­fully about his own strug­gles with bipo­lar dis­or­der.

Play/mu­si­cal

I saw Amaz­ing Grace [with mu­sic and lyrics by Christo­pher Smith] when I was in New York a few years ago. It takes place dur­ing the Amer­i­can Civil War and cen­tres around the pe­cu­liar life of John New­ton, the re­formed slave trader who went on to write that well-loved song. I found the score very up­lift­ing and emo­tional, and the per­for­mances were ex­cel­lent.

Artist/de­signer

The mu­ral artist Joe Caslin cre­ated a stun­ning mu­ral for Pi­eta House a few years ago. I love his larger than life art pieces, and I ad­mire him for us­ing his medium as so­cial com­men­tary to en­gage with young peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties around Ire­land.

City

I love Cork. I lived there for six months many years ago and I felt very at home there. I find the peo­ple very wel­com­ing, warm and hos­pitable. It’s a happy es­cape from chaotic Dublin some­times. I re­cently vis­ited the English Mar­ket, it’s a core part of the com­mu­nity in Cork City.

Al­bum

Songs of Love and Hate by Leonard Co­hen. It’s al­most 50 years old but, for me, his songs are time­less.

Ac­tor

I love An­thony Hop­kins’s en­ergy, sense of hu­mour and hu­mil­ity. I think these qual­i­ties have es­tab­lished him as a re­spected and loved ac­tor. I still re­mem­ber how ter­ri­fied I was when I saw him as Han­ni­bal in The Si­lence of the Lambs. It still ter­ri­fies me, even af­ter all these years.

So­cial-me­di­apro­file

On Twit­ter, @lust­for­life is do­ing great work to help nor­malise men­tal health. I ad­mire the work that Bressie does for the com­mu­nity. He’s a great cham­pion for men­tal health in Ire­land.

TVshow

I pre­fer go­ing for a long walk over watch­ing a TV series in the even­ing. How­ever I did watch The Crown and found it com­pelling. Claire Foy is won­der­ful as Queen El­iz­a­beth. The cin­e­matog­ra­phy and art di­rec­tion was dra­matic and lav­ish, and I thought the cos­tumes and the set de­sign were beau­ti­ful.

SEÁN GAL­LAGHER Cur­rent favourite book

Life Lessons by the late hos­pice doc­tor El­iz­a­beth Kübler-Ross, and David Kessler. She nursed peo­ple at the end of their life, and talked about the most im­por­tant things in their life. Their re­grets weren’t to do with the things they did but they things they left un­done, so it’s about be­ing brave. It’s in­cred­i­bly in­spir­ing. I start ev­ery day think­ing “what would I do if I was brave?”

Restau­rant

It’s the Olde Post in Clover­hill in Ca­van, not far from where I grew up. I was only in it last week. It’s su­perb. Chef Gearoid Lynch is a great au­thor­ity on be­ing gluten-free, but the place is for all di­ets. It’s gor­geous, there’s a big open turf fire, great ser­vice, and lovely food. I love chicken so I’ll al­ways try to have their chicken dishes, but I have a weak­ness for their choco­late desserts too.

Co­me­dian

I saw Michael McIn­tyre when he came to Ire­land ear­lier this year and he was very en­joy­able. His tim­ing is great, his ob­ser­va­tion of sim­ple daily things is in­ter­est­ing and I love his en­ergy.

Play/mu­si­cal

I love any­thing by Ross O’Car­roll-Kelly. He’s re­ally funny. I never laugh so much as when I go to his shows, and I most re­cently saw Post­cards from the Ledge, which was very witty.

Artist/de­signer

More than any one artist, I love paint­ings of land­scapes, moun­tains, woods, and the tra­di­tional Ir­ish cottage that you find in cof­fee shops and lo­cal art fairs. It’s less about the aes­thet­ics than the nos­tal­gic feel­ing it cre­ates in me.

City

I live just out­side Dublin and that’s a vi­brant, dy­namic, cul­tural melt­ing pot. It’s a mix of old and new, tra­di­tional and mod­ern. I love Stephen’s Green, it’s won­der­ful that you can be walk­ing on the bus­ies street in Ire­land then within sec­onds, strolling through the park with its pi­geons and ducks. But my wife is from just out­side Cork so if I say Dublin, I also have to say Cork. The English Mar­ket has in­ter­est­ing stalls, and there’s such a mix of things at the Grand Pa­rade and Pa­trick Street.

Al­bum

I’ve a five-year-old called Bobby, and he’s a fan of Ed Sheeran. So if we’re in a car, we have to have his al­bum Di­vide, and we have to lis­ten to Per­fect. He’ll play it over and over again. It’s a good way to get quiet in the car.

My wife and I like in­spi­ra­tional quotes around mind­ful­ness. In­sta­gram and Pin­ter­est are the best for this, though I like the wide range rather than any par­tic­u­lar ac­count. One quote I al­ways share with young peo­ple to tell them to pur­sue their dreams is: “a ship in the har­bour is safe, but that is not what a ship is built for”.

TV show

Be­cause I have a five-year-old and a two-yearold, if the TV is on in our house, it’s wall to wall Peppa Pig and Un­cle Ge­orge.

Film Ac­tor

Tom Hanks has such depth to him, yet he’s so in­cred­i­bly funny as well. I loved him in The Green Mile, and more re­cently Sully.

So­cial-me­dia pro­file

The last film I went to see with my boy that I also en­joyed was Fer­di­nand. I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to like it but I’d rec­om­mend it even for adults. There’s a poignant mes­sage in it be­cause Fer­di­nand the bull was peace-lov­ing rather than fighter, and he stood up for his values.

MICHAEL D HIG­GINS Cur­rent favourite book

I have found my­self re­turn­ing to Han­nah Arendt who ex­am­ined the act of re­mem­ber­ing and for­giv­ing, par­tic­u­larly in her book, The Hu­man Con­di­tion. She re­minds us that the act of for­giv­ing can re­move the ca­pac­ity of an event of the past to de­prive us of the pos­si­bil­i­ties of the fu­ture. This book has in­flu­enced much of my work through­out our com­mem­o­ra­tion pe­riod in 2016 and beyond. Sarah Bakewell’s At The Ex­is­ten­tial­ist’s Café was also a re­cent read.

Restau­rant

I like Ital­ian food, and have al­ways loved the warmth and at­mos­phere of Da Rober­tas in Salthill, Gal­way. Af­ter walk­ing the prom, hav­ing a meal there with Sabina and my fam­ily is a lovely treat. The Cedar Tree on Saint An­drew’s St would be a Dublin choice for ex­cel­lent Le­banese food.

Co­me­dian

Tommy Tier­nan is in­com­pa­ra­ble as co­me­dian, philoso­pher or hu­man be­ing. But then there is Mario Rosen­stock, who has been im­i­tat­ing me since be­fore I was elected pres­i­dent. And he’s very good at it.

Play/mu­si­cal

The late Tom Mur­phy, my close friend, was for me one of our great­est play­wrights; the play­wright of the em­i­grant ex­pe­ri­ence. Re­cent cir­cum­stances have re­minded me of The Gigli Con­cert of “dy­nam­a­tol­o­gists”. Most re­cently, I re­ally en­joyed Jimmy’s Hall – Lisa Lambe with a multi-tal­ented en­sem­ble cast in­fused a won­der­ful en­ergy into high­light­ing the life of Jimmy Gral­ton, one of Ire­land’s great eman­ci­pa­tory fig­ures.

Artist/de­signer

I ad­mire so many artists from all back­grounds, so many hap­pily still liv­ing, be­tween whom I will not choose. I’ve al­ways loved Van Gogh, the vivid colours and in­ten­sity of emo­tion are mes­meris­ing. One of my favourite paint­ings hangs in my study; Sean Keat­ing’s por­trait of Noel Browne, one of my men­tors. In terms of de­sign, the work of the Fur­ni­ture and Wood Skills Col­lege in Let­ter­frack is in­spir­ing, and the way the stu­dents trans­form fallen trees from the Áras into such beau­ti­ful and prac­ti­cal pieces is a col­lab­o­ra­tion that I’ve been very proud to have played a part in. Car­avag­gio’ s The Tak­ing of Christ is my favourite paint­ing in the Na­tional Gallery.

City

I love all our cities in Ire­land, but be­ing from Lim­er­ick and hav­ing spent most of my life in Gal­way, they are both very spe­cial to me. It has also been a great plea­sure for Sabina and I to spend more time to­gether in Dublin and con­nect with its com­mu­ni­ties, and the de­cency and hu­mour of its peo­ple. But my heart will al­ways be in Gal­way.

Al­bum

I find my­self re­turn­ing to Leonard Co­hen’s al­bums quite of­ten. He was a trou­ba­dour with a great sense of ro­mance, mis­chief, and hope who re­minded us that “there’s a crack in ev­ery­thing, that’s how the light gets in”.

Film Ac­tor

Well, it would be true to say that my wife Sabina is a won­der­ful ac­tor. As a found­ing mem­ber of Fo­cus Theatre, she has had a life­time pas­sion for theatre.

So­cial-me­dia pro­file

@theirish­for is such an in­no­va­tive hu­mor­ous but sub­stan­tial project to pro­mote our love and in­ter­est in our na­tive lan­guage.

TVshow

I don’t get much time to watch TV but on those rare oc­ca­sions I en­joy watch­ing Ros na Rún or Fair City to re­lax – though the tra­vails faced by the peo­ple of Car­rigstown can be quite stress­ful! Mostly, I haven’t kept up with the sto­ry­lines, but I like to see how ac­tor friends are still go­ing strong.

One of my favourite films is Ba­bette’s Feast, a film that brings the cre­ative ca­pac­i­ties to gather a com­mu­nity to­gether. More re­cently I saw The Square at the Ir­ish Film In­sti­tute, a beau­ti­ful filmic piece.

LI­ADH NÍ RI­ADA Cur­rent favourite book

The Woman in the Fifth by Dou­glas Kennedy was full of turns, and quite funny at times. It’s about a man whose life com­pletely turns up­side down, and he has to recre­ate a whole new life for him­self. He ends up hav­ing an af­fair with a woman who doesn’t ac­tu­ally ex­ist. Kennedy is good at bring­ing the fem­i­nine side to things as well; I thought that he was a fe­male writer, but no.

Restau­rant

For a spe­cial fam­ily oc­ca­sional din­ner, we’d go to the Gougane Barra Ho­tel. They serve re­ally nice food, it’s just at the foot of a for­est, and by the lake so it’s ter­ri­bly ro­man­tic. It’s very olde worlde.

Co­me­dian

When I have a chance to switch off with the kids, I watch Jack White­hall’s Trav­els with my Fa­ther on Net­flix. I haven’t watched any of his stand-up shows but it’s in­ter­est­ing to see the re­la­tion­ship that he has with his dad, and their un­usual ban­ter. I also like Tommy Tier­nan. I think he stretches it a bit far but I re­ally like his wild sense of hu­mour, and it’s in touch with the Ir­ish psy­che.

Play/mu­si­cal

I don’t have a chance to go; there’s no theatre near me and I’m a mother of three kids. If I’m not cam­paign­ing for the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, I work as a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, so I’m back and forth to Brus­sels and Stras­bourg ev­ery week. When I get home, I don’t want to see a plane, train or au­to­mo­bile if pos­si­ble, so I chill out at home with my kids and read bed­time sto­ries and watch non­sense TV and it’s bril­liant.

Artist/de­signer

I love the art of my un­cle, Wal­ter Ver­ling, who’s in his 90s now. I lived with him and his wife for a few years when I went to school in Lim­er­ick. He pro­duced a mas­sive amount of work and there was al­ways the smell of paint in the house. Nat­u­rally enough, I’m go­ing to be pro­mot­ing my Un­cle Wal­ter, be­cause his stuff is re­ally quite some­thing.

City

Cork. It’s naff to be tribal but what I par­tic­u­larly like about Cork is when you’re driv­ing in from my place to Cork and it opens on a vista and you see the ex­panse of the Lee. And I ab­so­lutely adore the city it­self. It could badly do with in­vest­ment, but there’s some­thing ter­ri­bly con­ti­nen­tal about it and it’s full of char­ac­ter. I’m de­lighted I have an of­fice right on the quay, and feel con­nected to the city.

Al­bum

There’s not one al­bum, but I find tra­di­tional mu­sic very ground­ing: Al­tan, the likes of Sea­mus Be­g­ley, Steve Cooney, séan-nós singers as well, like Muire­ann Nic Amh­laoibh and Nell Ní Chróinín. I like clas­si­cal mu­sic too. When I’m in my of­fice in Brus­sels, I quite of­ten take charge of the mu­sic sys­tem and put on John Field or Bach, just to make the whole of­fice zen. I like Mas­sive At­tack, Laura Mvula and two girls from Lon­don called Ider, so I have an eclec­tic taste.

TV show Film Ac­tor

I’m start­ing to sound Cork-cen­tric, but I like Cil­lian Mur­phy. Bren­dan Glee­son and Saoirse Ro­nan are bril­liant too, we have a plethora of re­ally tal­ented ac­tors from Ire­land. In­ter­na­tion­ally, Jane Fonda in Grace and Frankie is a great a role model. When women hit a cer­tain age, even the dress style be­comes in­vis­i­ble, but here’s this woman who’s 80 and she’s more en­ergy than peo­ple I know in their 20s.

So­cial-me­di­apro­file

I’m old-school. I’d rather en­gage with peo­ple in real terms rather than look­ing on gad­gets.

I like The Big Bang The­ory, be­cause I like nerdy stuff. And I like Frasier as my kind of laugh-a-minute show to re­lax com­pletely; re-runs are great on a Sat­ur­day or a Sun­day morn­ing, if you’ve time.

I re­ally like O Brother, Where Art Thou? – the sound­track might be some­thing I’d pick as my favourite al­bum ac­tu­ally.

Sacha Baron Co­hen’s al­ter ego Bo­rat; Adele; John Wayne

The Usual Sus­pects; The Great Gatsby at the Gate Theatre in Dublin; co­me­dian Tommy Tier­nan

Tom Hanks in Sully; Ross O’Car­rol­lKelly; Peppa Pig

Claire Foy as a young Queen El­iz­a­beth in The Crown; co­me­dian Spike Mil­li­gan; mu­ral artist Joe Caslin

au­thor Han­nah Arendt

Jenny Dixon, Martha Fitz­patrick and David O’Sul­li­van in Fair City; Ba­bette’s Feast;

The cast of The Big Bang The­ory; ac­tor Cil­lian Mur­phy; singer Laura Mvula

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