Tommy Tiernan Show recap: Denise Gough on overcoming alcohol and drug abuse to act

Tommy Tiernan Show recap: Denise Gough on overcoming alcohol and drug abuse to act

Saturday night’s Tommy Tiernan Show saw topics as diverse as overcoming alcohol and drug abuse, how to put together a top GAA team, and why more people need to advocate for disabled people living in nursing homes.

Football manager, broadcaster and Tommy Tiernan’s former Geography teacher Colm O’Rourke was the first guest on the show and he looked back on his early life, local characters in Navan and his experience with the GAA.

“Did you ever think when you were throwing me out of geography that this situation would arise,” Tiernan joked.

O’Rourke said he “always liked young people” so he found teaching enjoyable.  

“I find them entertaining and amusing. I have had great fun with them. I slagged them plenty when I was in school, and they give it back to me a lot as well. But I found them to be loyal and I found them just to be great people and getting better all the time. I couldn’t say enough positive things about them.” 

Speaking about their native Meath, O’Rourke noted there are fewer ‘characters’ now than in his youth and he believed education is behind it.

“I think education has taken away a lot of the characters,” he said, adding of he ‘characters’ he remembers fondly: “They may not have had education beyond their primary schools but to me, a lot of them were the most clever people of all that I met. They were wonderful characters to meet in the pubs or around the place. And they had an earthliness and a worldliness about them that you didn’t get with more educated people.

Colm O’Rourke on the Tommy Tiernan Show

“I think education has brought a bit of a boring similarity and conformity in a lot of people. Those types of people had no conformity. They had a great sense of the word as mood. They could read the mood of the place and they had great wit.” 

O’Rourke said “character is the most important part of all” when picking a team. “Strong characters and people who have personality traits of strength and resilience and determination and a never-say-die spirit are the important things that you would look for, along with ability.” 

The second guest was actor Denise Gough, who told Tiernan about her experience with alcohol and drug addiction, saying they were a result of “grooming and abuse” when she was a young teen.

The star of Andor and Under the Banner said acting “saved my life” and although she has been clean and sober for 16 years, she said alcohol and drugs played an important role in her life for a time.

“That little girl needed all the medicines she could get,” she said. “The solution was alcohol and drugs and I’m so grateful that I had them for that length of time.” 

She added: “I don’t want it to be the thing that defines me but anyone who is looking at me who is in that place — who’s closer to that little girl than I — know that it can be okay. It takes work and everything but there’s a way out of that and into something so bright.” 

She said some of her secondary school teachers were unkind to her and she internalised their criticism, She urged adults to be careful about how they speak to young people.

“Be careful how you speak to children, it becomes their inner voice. My inner voice was really dark and negative and so that’s where the alcohol and drugs came in and helped

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