Mooney, Wednesday April 9th 2014

On Mooney today, with Marty Morrissey...

On Mooney today, with Marty Morrissey...

What makes us happy, and why? Marty puts happiness under the microscope with U.S. cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff. We hear about how Donegal's happy video has landed it on the Oprah Winfrey show.  And reporter Brenda Donohue visits the happiest school in Ireland!

What Is Happiness?

We're very happy here on Mooney today, and we're happy to say that we have a happiness expert in studio for the duration of today’s show! Nancy Etcoff is the Assistant Clinical Professor of Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts. She just flew into Dublin this morning to be a speaker at Trinity College's 'Science of Happiness Week' which runs all this week.

So if you have questions for Nancy about happiness, you can text them to 51551 or e-mail – or simply just tell us what makes you happy!

Nancy's talk 'Let us smile each chance we get: Neuroscience based nudges toward happiness and health' (which will take place on Thursday April 10th at 6pm, in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute), will discuss the ways we try to achieve and increase happiness and its surprising effect on our bodies.

To watch Nancy's TED talk on 'Happiness And Its Surprises', click here


Placing Happiness under a Microscope: Trinity Week Programme to investigate the Science of Happiness

Details: Trinity Week
Date: April 7th – 11th
Location: Trinity College, Dublin

Trinity College Dublin will be examining, dissecting and prescribing treatments for mankind's eternal search for happiness next week as part of Trinity Week from Monday April 7th to Friday April 11th. Academics and staff from the Faculty of Health Sciences will share with the public what science and medicine know about this elusive state through a series of events on the theme of the 'Science of Happiness'.

The events will include symposia, lectures and talks on the science behind happiness, its influence on mental health, creating balance and the psychology of the smile. Most of the events are free and open to the public and the full programme is available at:

A highlight of the week is a public lecture by Cognitive Researcher Nancy Etcoff, Director of the Program in Aesthetics and Well-Being at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry. Dr Etcoff is part of a new vanguard of cognitive researchers asking: What makes us happy? Why do we like beautiful things? And how on earth did we evolve that way? Her talk 'Let us smile each chance we get: Neuroscience based nudges toward happiness and health' (Thursday April 10th, 6pm, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute), will discuss the ways we try to achieve and increase happiness and its surprising effect on our bodies. Her 2004 TED Talk on Happiness has been viewed by almost a million people.

Tomorrow, a symposium will focus on 'Healthy Happy Ageing' (Thursday April 10th, 10am) and features among others, renowned author and Professor of Psychology, Ian Robertson, who will talk about his research into how we can use our minds to help build its resilience against disease and injury.

Speaking about the pursuit of happiness and its understanding, Dean of the Faculty of Health Science, Professor Mary McCarron said: "Is happiness something gained from others or is it something that is successfully pursued through our own efforts? Do we experience the taste, smell and sight of good food; the joy from hearing a piece of music; the satisfaction from volunteering; the excitement of learning; as simply rises and falls in serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain? Trinity Week’s series of events will look at these questions and more and hopefully provide some answers to help people leave a little bit happier and with a greater understanding about the different sciences and expressions of happiness."

Speaking about the importance of mental health, one of the speakers of the Trinity Week Academic Symposium on the 'Science of Happiness', Professor Jim Lucey, Medical Director of St Patrick's Mental Health Services and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College, Dublin said: "Positive mental health skills and attitudes are associated with greater individual wellbeing and with longer and happier life. Mental health is the resource which will empower recovery in us and in our economy. Modern neuroscience is proving the centrality of the brain in positive wellbeing. The evidence shows that human recovery is enhanced by music and dance and by song and by exercise, and by mindfulness. That is why we mustn’t wait any longer to lead mentally healthy lives. In Ireland we must not wait any longer to be happy."

Trinity Week’s events will also include Tai Chi with Master Hyun Monk in the University’s iconic Front Square, guided walks, relaxation classes, musical performances and short films. 

The events, most of which are free and open to the public, will take place between April 7th and 11th in Trinity.  A full programme of events can be found on

So what makes you happy? A free tub of ice-cream, an unexpected windfall or just a hug from a loved one? Yesterday, our reporter Brenda Donohue went and about in Sligo to ask "what makes you happy"?

"Princess Party" with Ms McDermott and her Junior Infant girls on World Book Day

Continuing on our happiness theme, Brenda visited St. Raphael's National School in Ballyfermot in Dublin, which claims to be the happiest school in Ireland! Earlier this week, we received this e-mail from Mary Hynes, a Junior Infant Resource Teacher at the school:

Greetings from the HAPPIEST SCHOOL in Ireland! On Friday last, we got word from the CARA National Inclusion Awards (supported by the Dept. of Justice & Equality) to say that we have been chosen as the National winners in the schools category.We really are a very happy school and we would love to be able to share our happiness with your listeners. Please accept our invitation to come and visit.

Well never one to refuse an invitation as intriguing as that, we sent Brenda along to find out why St. Raphael's is such a happy school!

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep - the whole staff dress up for the Hallowe'en parade!

"No Slacking Allowed" - St Raphael's students prepare for a green Schools Active walk to the Papal Cross in the Phoenix Park

Characters from the school's musical 'Zoom' - members of the Rabbit, Tortoise and hedgehog family perform on stage for an audience of over 250 people

A time to relax - children enjoy the newly refurbished school library which was officially opened by RTÉ's Joe Duffy!

Nick the caretaker teaches the children how to respect nature and care for plants in the polytunnel

"High Tea at a Low Table" - Principal Sile O Carroll and two 1st Class boys enjoy the school's newly built Aistear Room, funded by the Parents' Association

If you take a look at the above video, you'll see a very happy little YouTube video set to the song Happy by Pharrell Williams.

It's called Donegal Is Happy and it's one of many 'Is Happy' videos that cities have been making all around the world, where local people copy the style of Pharrell Williams' music video by clapping and dancing around in their locality.

Paris has been happy, New York has been happy, Dublin, Belfast and Galway have all made Happy videos too. Check them out on YouTube – they will put you in a good mood for the rest of the day!

But it was the 'DONEGAL is Happy' video that caught the attention of no less than Oprah Winfrey! Denise Blake was one of the film crew who helped make the video and she joins us on the line now from Lifford in Co. Donegal to tell us all about it!

For more information, visit Donegal Is Happy's Facebook page, Twitter page or webpage.

We have it on good authority that we have one very happy man in Los Angeles today! Many of you will be familiar with the fantastic Secrets Of The Irish Landscape that was broadcast last year on RTÉ One.  

This three-part television documentary, hosted by Derek Mooney, followed the footsteps of Robert Lloyd Praeger, Ireland's greatest naturalist and author of the iconic book The Way That I Went.

The series examined many little understood aspects of the Irish Landscape from the last Ice Age until now, with some intriguing findings! It was a huge success when it aired, becoming a firm favourite with audiences and critics alike. And the plaudits keep on coming! Today we can reveal that Secrets Of The Irish Landscape has just gold at the New York World's Best Film and Television Awards 2014 for the best documentary series in science and technology! We chat to Derek today about this amazing win!



The RTÉ Cork series Secrets Of The Irish Landscape, presented by Derek Mooney and broadcast on RTE One last May, has WON GOLD at the final of one of the world’s most prestigious film and television competitions: the New York World’s Best Film and Television Awards 2014, for the best documentary series in science and technology. The awards are now in their 57th year. Secrets Of The Irish Landscape competed against entries from 36 countries.

The three-part series follows in the footsteps of Robert Lloyd Praeger, (Ireland's greatest naturalist and author of the iconic book The Way That I Went), as Derek updates the history of how the Irish landscape came into being, using the very latest science and research.

The series was produced in RTÉ Cork, by Head of RTÉ Cork Colm Crowley in association with the National Botanic Gardens and UCC, and was backed by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

At the Award Show in Las Vegas (which was held as part of NAB, the USA's national association of broadcasters convention on April 8th),  

Derek Mooney said;

"I love making nature programmes. It's part of who I am. I'm genuinely thrilled we've won this award, not just for myself but the crew and for RTÉ. When we think of science and nature programmes we tend to believe that only the BBC can make them but this proves we can do them just as well, if not better. It's fantastic that a very Irish story, about how we got our landscape, has found such a universal resonance and connected with others around the world, and that we also got the chance to celebrate the work one of one Ireland's greatest scientists on the world's stage.  I was aware of Praegers' work but it wasn't until I journeyed in his footsteps that I fully appreciated the man.  The success of this programme on the international stage will, I hope encourage RTÉ to develop this genre of TV. There is a market for natural history programmes in Ireland and there is plenty of subject matter for TV producers to focus on – bring it on!"

Colm Crowley, Barry Donnellan and Derek Mooney

Colm Crowley said:

"It's is a real honour to represent RTÉ at this prestigious festival, which has given us a chance to showcase the work of Irish television on an international stage. Winning gold at this event is a fantastic tribute to the RTÉ Cork team that put the show together, and a special thanks to Derek and his radio team who also contributed hugely to the making of this series. Also special thanks to the chief series consultant Matthew Jebb, Director of the National Botanic Gardens, who was centrally involved in developing the series."

This is the third major nomination the series has received in the last few months. The book to accompany the series was a finalist in the Irish Book Awards and the series also has received a nomination for the Houston Film festival in Texas.

The series is currently on air in Australia and Canada.

The series was shot in HD by freelance DOP Barry Donnellan on a Cannon C 300 camera, with additional photography by RTÉ Cork's Ben Kilroy and a small team of specialists' landscape photographers.

The series was edited by freelance editor Cliona Nolan and RTÉ staff editor Sean Mooney, and dubbed in RTÉ Cork by Niall O'Sullivan. Location sound was recorded by freelance Kieran Curtin and RTÉ Cork staffer Brendan Cahill.

The programme was researched by freelance Naoimh Reilly.

A complex media management solution was required to handle the HD work flow which was managed by Antoin O Callaghan and John Lynch in Cork, and the series was graded in Windmill Lane by Dave Hughes.

The production co-ordinators who worked across the 12 month shoot were Aoife O'Callaghan and Sonya O’Neill

The chief series consultant was Matthew Jebb, Director of the National Botanic Gardens. 

About the 2014 NAB Show 

NAB Show, held annually in Las Vegas, is the world's largest electronic media show covering filmed entertainment and the development, management and delivery of content across all mediums. With nearly 95,000 attendees from 156 countries and more than 1,500 exhibitors, NAB Show is the ultimate marketplace for digital media and entertainment. From creation to consumption, across multiple platforms and countless nationalities, NAB Show is home to the solutions that transcend traditional broadcasting and embrace content delivery to new screens in new ways. Complete details are available at

About NAB

The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at

Mooney's Money

We've €1,000 to give away today to save or spend as you please, take a break from your bills, or a make a break to the sun, it's up to you!

For your chance to win the cash, answer the following competition question:

Wednesday, April 9th 2014

True or false: Las Vegas is in the state of Nevada?

If you think you know the answer, call or text the competition line:

ROI: 1515 71 72 00

NI: 0901 293 3501

text MOONEY followed by your answer and name to 57111 (NI and ROI)

Each text entry costs €1 (incl VAT) or GBP £1.00. Calls from the eircom network will cost €1.02 (incl VAT) and from a BT landline will cost GBP £1.02. Calls from other networks and from mobiles will cost more.

Please note, the person named in the entry must be aged 18 years or older as at date of entry.

Competition lines open from 2pm and will close at 4.20pm today, (09/04/14). Please do not enter outside of the advertised competition window as you will be charged for your entry, but your entry will not be included. From time to time, these open/close times may vary. Any change to the standard open/close times will be announced here and on the show. The cash prize winner will be announced on-air towards the end of the Mooney show each day.


Call Service Provider: Phonovation. Tel: 0818 217 100.

Text Service Provider: Oxygen8/Xiam Interactive. Tel: 0818 444 433

Please do not enter outside the advertised competition open and close times and date(s) as you will be charged, but your entry will not be included in the draw. Please do not enter during programme replays on the RTÉ Radio Player after the advertised close time and date as you will be charged for your entry, but your entry will not be included as the competition will have closed.

Entrants must be aged 18 years or older as at date of entry and a resident of the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland in order to qualify as the prize winner.

Promoter reserves the right to request proof of age, verifiable by birth cert or passport only, and proof of residency, verifiable by recent utility bill only (issued within 6 months of win).

1 x Mooney's Money prize winners will win a €1,000 cash prize. (All cash prizes issued to the winner by euro cheque, made payable to the winner, allow 28 working days for delivery).

By entering the competition, the participants agree to be bound by the terms and conditions; that their surname and county of residence may be announced on-air if they win a prize; and agree to have their details/image/winner sequence used for promotional purposes if required.

Employees of RTÉ, Phonovation, Xiam Interactive and their associated partners, companies or suppliers and their immediate family members are not eligible to win/enter.

RTÉ's decision in relation to selection of winner is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

RTÉ standard competition terms and conditions also apply.

Update - Blind Boys Of Alabama Competition

Tomorrow, we will announce which one of our Gospel groups will be performing as support act for the Blind Boys Of Alabama. Today we hear some of the entries, from Maynooth Gospel Choir, Cabinteely Gospel Group, Gardiner Street Gospel Choir and The Soulful!

Eurovision Green Room Party

Eurovision Green Room Party

Join Mooney in our Eurovision Green Room at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on Saturday, May 10th 2014. The party takes place in the Circle Club.

If you want to be there, all you have to do is tell us in not more than forty words why you and a friend or friends LOVE the Eurovision. All entrants/attendees must be over 18. If you are lucky enough to receive a golden invitation to our EUROVISION GREEN ROOM you will get to see all the action as it happens live from Copenhagen.

  • Tickets will be allocated to couples and groups of four people.
  • All attendees must make their own way to and from the venue.
  • There is no cash alternative to this prize.
  • Closing date for receipt of entries is April 25th 2014
  • Usual RTE terms and conditions apply.

National Dawn Chorus Day

National Dawn Chorus Day will take part on Sunday, May 18th 2014.  If you are part of a group who will be taking part in a Dawn Chorus event in your local area, and want to register your event with us, please send full details - name, contact number, what will be happening and where, to, with the subject line 'Dawn Chorus 2014'. And who knows, we may contact you during our Dawn Chorus broadcast!

Where will you be on National Dawn Chorus Day?


It is an offence to 'cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy hedgerows on uncultivated land during the nesting season from 1 March to 31 August, subject to certain exceptions'. For more information, click here.  

To contact your local wildlife ranger, click here for contact details. To read the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, click here.

Caring For Wild Animals

Please note that many species of mammals, birds, invertebrates etc... are protected under law and that, even with the best of intentions, only someone holding a relevant licence from the National Parks & Wildlife Service should attempt the care of these animals.  For full details, please click here to read the NPWS Checklist of protected & rare species in Ireland.  If you are concerned about a wild animal, please contact your local wildlife ranger - click here for details.


Please DO NOT send any live, dead or skeletal remains of any creature whatsoever to Mooney Goes Wild.  If you find an injured animal or bird, please contact the National Parks & Wildlife Service on 1890 20 20 21, or BirdWatch Ireland, on 01 281-9878, or visit



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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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