JARLATH Regan has revealed he's been inundated with emails from Irish emigrants all over the world who have made his An Irishman Abroad podcast a huge success.
The Kildare comedian, now living in Hertfordshire, said he has been gladly surprised from the correspondence he has received from listeners reaching out after finding some solace and enjoyment in his weekly interviews with high-achieving emigrants.
Since starting the series last year, Jarlath has interviewed a number of Ireland’s most talented and well-known exports over the 31 episodes of the series.
They include Father Ted co-writer Graham Linehan, comedian and TV presenter Dara Ó Briain and former world champion snooker player Ken Doherty.
Regan believes the popularity of the show comes from the fact that listeners can relate to the stories, journeys and struggles of these popular public figures in building a life outside Ireland.
“This was the principle behind the show, describing the underlying theme of how it is hard to get a foothold in a new country, particularly England,” the 33-year-old told The Irish Post.
“And through the generosity of the listeners specifically, that’s what’s given me heart, having moved to London and felt very much alone like a lot of people.”
Over one million people now tune in to the show, with 85 per cent of listeners coming from outside of Ireland, Regan says.
People in countries as far away as Dubai and Thailand have downloaded the podcast, and its creator believes this comes from the yearning to “find company when you’re in a foreign land”.
Since its “simple beginnings”, An Irishman Abroad has been supported by its listeners who keep the show running by making donations through the website.
With each donation Regan also receives emails explaining how the podcast has affected people.
“I’ve been contacted by a number of people who have been through the struggle of being in England and not knowing if things are going to work out, or how to make it work out,” he said.
“Predominantly, guests on the show went to London, so people relate to the overbearing nature of the city and the colossal anonymity of it,” Regan said. “Graham Linehan said this was a positive thing for him as ‘no one’s watching me I can do what I like.’”
The next six months are set to be busy for the comedian, with plenty of “big names” lined up for the podcast.
Regan is confident that the future of An Irishman Abroad is bright, with plans to expand and include people with Irish roots or Irish connections. “I hope the show will run indefinitely,” he added.
Jarlath Regan is a columnist with The Irish Post. Read him here.
***This article was edited on the afternoon of April 29 after its original publication***