One of Galway’s most cherished daughters, media darling Síle Seoige has sculpted a remarkable career since first hitting our screens 20 years ago. Since then, the Spiddal native has come through a momentous transition, all while in the public eye. GALWAYnow caught up with the broadcaster to chat about wellness, motherhood, and the empowerment of women.
By Rebecca Reilly
The youngest of four siblings, Síle began her media career in Dublin and has since graced every forum from television, radio, journalism, theatre, music and back again. Despite broadcasting being a family talent, Seoige maintains her manoeuvre into television was a happy accident. “For me, and I presume for a lot us of, by the time the CAO came around I had no idea what to do. Law, nursing, teaching – all the options were thrown at me, but what really made me tick when I was younger was anything practical. I wasn’t so great at maths or science, but English, drama, music – I loved! I was a total choir geek. I was always going to do something in the realm of performance, and I’m incredibly thankful that it’s lead me to where I am today!”
ONE ON ONE
With a natural gift of the gab, despite being a self-confessed introvert, the mum-of-one explains that what really siphoned her to the media was her love of communication. “Just having a chat with someone, being present, and really listening – that’s the beauty of it. And that’s the best bit of advice I’ve ever received – just tune into what the other person is saying and the rest will follow. Obviously, I love having the craic, but chances are at a party, you’ll catch me in the corner having a one-on-one, rather than in the centre of the room!” Television and radio presenter, columnist, singer, actor, the strings to Síle’s bow are seemingly endless, a diversity which she thrives on. “I’ve been incredibly lucky with my career. Working with my sister Gráinne, working on I, KEANO, and getting to record a single for Childline and the Make-A-Wish foundation, whom I’m an ambassador for. Those kinds of opportunities are surreal. I loved my show on Newstalk, chatting about a range of topics from serious issues like fertility, to more frivolous stuff.” Despite the ups and downs, an expected factor in any form of self-employment, the 39-year-old yogi maintains that she’s wired right for her profession. “You’ll have quiet periods, and other spans where there aren’t enough hours in the day, but I know nothing else. This is always the way I’ve worked, so it doesn’t stress me. Maybe now since my little man has come along I can see the merits of a regular income, but one thing my career does give me is flexibility. My other half works unusual hours too so between us we make it work, and still get to spend quality time together.”
With her latest role as a doting mum at the forefront of her focus, the brunette beauty is coming to grips with probably her hardest job yet. “I think you can read all the books in the world, and believe me, I read a lot, but there’s no real way of preparing for motherhood, it’s instinctual. Every day is learning, and challenging. I think you re-wire completely as a human when you become a mother or father. This little person is now your priority.” Despite having a ‘dream birth experience’, the aftermath was not as seamless as Síle would have hoped. “I had a natural birth, I was very fortunate. By that rationale, I thought, I suppose, that breastfeeding would come naturally too. But it’s a learned skill, that both you and baby have to grasp. I was in a lot of discomfort and it’s just one of those things, if you can do it, great, if not, that’s fine too! I wish I could go back and whisper in my ear to go easy on myself. I think that’s the one piece of advice I would give to all mothers – go easy on yourselves.”
Self-care and wellness became incredibly imperative to the broadcaster after a life- changing thyroid cancer diagnosis turned everything on its head. For Síle, her choices were to slap on the blinkers or face her challenges head on, and hope for the best. “It was the last thing I expected to hear, but I know I was incredibly lucky. Not just because I had an amazing doctor and surgeon, and the team who looked after me were angels, but for what it allowed me to become. It enabled me to cut a lot of things I deemed unnecessary in my life. It taught me a lot of lessons. It’s given me confidence, a sense of clarity, and the opportunity to be truly authentic in my life. I actually live a lot freer now. I know I’ve been so lucky to have had such a positive experience, and to be so healthy now, there are a lot of stories that didn’t end that way. For me, I can only tell my truth. I learned what I was made of, and because of that I’ve gotten a much better sense of who I am.” Since her battle with cancer, Síle found a deep seeded love for yoga, which became vital to her recovery. The ancient practice gave her the tools to be more content and kinder to herself and to others. Her latest venture into wellness talks have been a reflection of her experiences, both positive and negative. Sharing her story in all its raw honesty, she has teamed up with powerhouses such as BEO Wellness Events and the Awaken Festival here in Claregalway. “I’m incredibly excited about the Awaken Festival. It’s run by Gerry Hussey and Miriam Kerins-Hussey and will be taking place in September 2018. It’s all about empowering the body, the mind and the spirit. That’s what all of these festivals and events are about. It’s incredibly uplifting.” Now back on our screens on TG4’s Réalta agus Gaolta, touring the country with her wellness talks, being a mum to little Cathal, as well as planning a wedding, it’s hard to know where the Spiddal lady will fit everything in, but she wouldn’t change it for the world. “I’m just living day to day at the moment. It’s been a busy run, and a productive year to say the least, but I wouldn’t change a second of it!”
Read more about Sile in this month’s issue of GALWAYnow – #onshelvesnow