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Surviving Ireland

Holly and Declan are a young couple addicted to 21st century technology. Writer and journalist Colm Tobin follows them to the island of Carnananánachán where they undergo a bizarre, back-to-basics detox programme. An RTÉ Radio 1 Comedy production (2017)

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Documentary Maker: Colm Tobin

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Documentary Maker: Aidan O'Donovan

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Surviving Ireland

Imagine a place where you could go to completely escape the constant distraction of online life? A remote island where all digital devices are confiscated on arrival and where you are returned to a simpler way of life?

In this RTÉ Radio 1 Comedy production, comedy writer and producer Colm Tobin visits a boutique digital detox centre on the island of Carnananaunachán to follow the journey of Holly (Stefanie Preissner) and Declan (Aidan O’Donovan), a smartphone-dependent couple from Dublin.  

Holly is a self-styled social influencer and online opinion manipulator who lives with her partner Declan, a trainee barber in one of Dublin’s hippest grooming salons. They have created a popular personal brand for themselves online and since doing so have found themselves becoming increasingly dependent on their phones. Declan has signed them up for this digital detox bootcamp in an effort to get Holly to put the phone down and pay him more attention. But she has no idea what he has signed them up for.  

Once they reach the shore, our pilgrims set forth on a very unconventional course of treatment designed to reprogramme them to appreciate the simpler things in life. This programme is run by the eccentric pairing of Brother Ponzi Fantastic (Barry Murphy) and his matriarchal sidekick Bean Ní Shuilleabháin (Deirdre O’ Kane).  

Over the course of the next seven days, Colm Tobin observes the couple’s journey as they are led through a series of increasingly surreal treatment modules from cloud appreciation to appreciating your food without having to photograph it and share it online first.   When Holly breaks one of the most fundamental rules of the programme, however, things start to get uncomfortably real for the couple and the bizarre series of events that follow could shake their relationship to its very core. 

Surviving Ireland was written, produced and performed by Aidan O'Donovan & Colm Tobin and featured Stefanie Preissner, Deirdre O'Kane and Barry Murphy.

Recording was by Liam Geraghty and Rachel Ní Chuinn with Sound Supervision by Mark Dwyer.

Surviving Ireland is a Turnip & Duck Production for RTÉ Radio 1 and was produced in association with Kite Entertainment

First broadcast March 17th 2017

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