Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill: On My Culture Radar

The singer on her favourite gadget, and why she loves Maeve Higgins and Caravaggio

Current favourite book

I often go back to Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows but right now I'm reading Alice McDermott's Someone. She's an American writer but of Irish roots, and I went to a talk of hers for Druid Theatre in Galway in the summer. I found her fascinating. The book is about an Irish-American girl growing up in Brooklyn in the 1920s in an Irish-Catholic building, and it has that great feel that Irish people can identify with because it's about Catholicism, and how people were in those days. It's a lovely read.


I love Forest & Marcy on Leeson Street. They do tapas-y plates and nice wines, and I love the atmosphere too. I tried goat for the first time there – it was delicious and gamey.


I'm a fan of Maeve Higgins. She explores a lot of women's issues and has a way of getting her point of view across in a way that makes us think. She can make fun of something, but you know there's a serious side to it. It's a skill. I listened to her podcast with Mary Robinson, too, and I thought that was fascinating, because we're all worrying about global issues.


Liam O'Connor's The Loom. It's a beautiful album. I played it all summer. It's traditional but he's classically trained, so he tackles it in a beautiful way.


I loved Foyle Punt, which was put on this summer by The Local Group. My daughter Roíse Goan, an ex-director of the Dublin Fringe Festival, is one of the founders. It dealt with the whole folklore about boat-building – it's about six generations of a family who build boats, but then they have no one to carry on the tradition. It was a beautiful piece of interactive theatre, performed at various harbours around Donegal, Derry and Sligo and I saw it at Bunbeg Pier.


I've been following Marie Mullen for years. She was recently in On Raftery's Hill in the Abbey, and she was in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, which won her a Tony Award. Every time I see her, I think she's one of our greats. She's a true character actress; with every decade of her life, she's progressed to different roles. In Sive, she played the part of Pats Bocock, which is normally played by a male, and she had a very strong personality in that role.


I adore Caravaggio, I always have. I’ve gone to the National Gallery and his various exhibitions. Any time I’m away I try to get to art galleries – like in Chicago, New York and the Uffizi in Florence – and when you walk into a room, you spot a Caravaggio straight away. It stands out. I adore the colours, the textures, the light.

Social media profile

I've come off most social media but I still enjoy scrolling through Instagram, and I keep an eye out for Dorothy Cross (@dorothy_cross). Her feed is artistically done, with animals and landscape as her subjects. I think her work is beautiful.


I’m a kitchen gadget fanatic. I have all these little gadgets, but my favourite one, being of a certain age with arthritis, is a bottle opener where you literally tap it and the next thing, the bottle opens. I got it in a kitchen shop on the main street in Westport.

TV show

I love cookery programmes. I'm following the Great British Menu at the moment and I'm waiting for the Masterchef with the professionals in it. I also watch Rory O'Connell's show How to Cook Well religiously too. It's recorded in his house with very little fuss, wholesome food, and he champions Irish food. He gives useful tips on how to do the basics in a great way.


I'm going to go and see Mamma Mia tonight with a crowd of friends, that will be a bit of fun. I saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri during the summer and thought it was a powerful film. Frances McDormand was amazing, it was unusual to see a woman in such a strong role.