Padraig O’Callaghan: “Hi guys, You’re all very welcome to series three finale of The Coffee at 11 Show with Colm O’Brien. Not only that, but this is the landmark 100th episode. Roll it, guys! Cheers!”

Ladies and Gentlemen, today, March 21st 2021, is World Down Syndrome Day. There could be no better way to celebrate than to share this extra-special episode 0f The Coffee at Eleven Show.

In Episode 100 – and Season 3 Finale we were joined by 10 year old Padraig O’Callaghan, star of The Paudcast (recently featured on RTE News), along with his parents (and soon to be management team methinks!) Brian and Marie, for one of the most uplifting and heartwarming stories we heard on The Coffee at Eleven Show across all 100 shows.

Padraig was born with Down Syndrome. That already makes him special. But how special? Well, in our interview, Brian and Marie are very open about their tough, tough journey through IVF and had almost given up when, to celebrate Marie’s 40th birthday, they decided to give it one more go. The result? The most magical birthday present that keeps on giving; Lucky No. 7 Padraig.

That was ten years ago and life is becoming richer by the day for this beautiful family.

How and whenever you get to do it, I implore you stick on the kettle, grab a coffee, and enjoy this extra special recording, Episode 100 of The Coffee at Eleven Show in your preferred way.

I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.

Yours Truly: Ladies and gentlemen, you are more than welcome to this: the 100th-episode; milestone, the 100th episode of The Coffee at 11 show, brought to you by WIG-WAM. I’m delighted to be here with you and thank you for journeying with us so far, 100 episodes in just under a year. Most important today, I think we’re very delighted to have a very special guest. Indeed, two special guests, this is guest 100, and 101 here today on the 100th episode. And it’s Brian O’Callaghan and his young son, Padraig. Gentlemen. Pop in, say hi, cheers us with a coffee mug. If you have one.

Brian and Padraig: Cheers guys, delighted to be here.

Yours Truly: You’re, you’re quite an amazing young man. And how do your friends in class, what did they think of the podcast?

Padraig: They think that they’re really good. And, some I’m afraid you’re saying, “Keep on going, keep, keep doing your hard work and everything.” I said “Okay, so I’ll keep doing this and I’ll never stop doing this.

Yours Truly: Ladies and gentlemen, bualadh bos. I think you put in one of your podcasts recently, that they were having to go to the tough times, is that right?

Padraig: Yeah. Yeah. People stuck in isolation, they can’t do anything. What can you do? Except going out, going for a walk, or something. What can we do?

Yours Truly: What can we do, ladies and gentlemen, what can we do?

Padraig: I say just, just stay at home. Just, maybe do dishes, go for a walk on the grass, do anything.

Brian: So myself and Marie had problems conceiving with- and I say that, the first thing I would say is we had problems “as a couple.” Often you find, the IVF route is a very, very tough, long drawn out process. And the first thing- and if there’s anybody here, suffering is probably the wrong word, but that has to deal with these kinds of issues, the first thing I would say is you have to tackle these issues as a couple, as a team, as a joint unit. So, I would always say, we, as a couple have had problems conceiving, but that’s the first point I’d like to make on that.

We went through, and I was trying to count them earlier on this morning, I think we went through seven, seven IVF attempts over a period of maybe seven or eight years. Within that, we suffered everything from the ectopic pregnancy to the miscarriages. I think it was five miscarriages altogether. Paud was lucky number seven. And as I said, I’m not very spiritual, but there’s a part of me that says that he was meant to be here from the very start, overcome all the problems we had had, for this man to overcome all those problems, to be strong enough, to survive all the things that were thrown at him from way back.

As I say, in that Petri dish up to that operation at two or three days old and a spiritual side to me, and it’s a strange one because I’m not, as I say naturally spiritual, but it tells me that he was he’s here for a reason. Obviously he’s here for a reason, but he has so much to offer he has so much to give. And even in the short space of time he’s get on this earth, he has already given so much.

Again, we’re not great, Irishmen, at showing love, but he is really the most determined, positive, enthusiastic infectious young man that you will ever come across in your life. And I know every parent would say that about their own. I appreciate that, I get it. But for me, I think for Marie as well, he has brought something that I would never have thought imagine, quite honestly.

Yours Truly: And, what are you taking with you from COVID?

Brian: Do you know something, Colm. I think it’s, and again, apologies if it sounds like an old cliche, but the fact that I got to spend so much time both with Marie working from home, and Padraig homeschooling as well as the videos or whatever else. It has, I guess we focused and reprioritized my priorities. If that makes sense. Yes, the work is important and all this networking and all the business out there, which we now discover can all be done by Zoom anyway. So, things that we thought were important, or “we had to be here, we have to be there!” We now realize we don’t, but this whole working from home is here to stay in whatever guise, whether it’s one, two, three, four days a week. We don’t know that yet, but certainly for me, it has helped me refocus on what’s important in life.

Yours Truly: Good.

Brian: And that is this man. And that lady there are beside me on the screen. Corny, isn’t it? Sorry!

Yours Truly: Do you know what? It’s beautifully corny, it’s beautifully corny, this is great. Marie, I’m going to go to you for the very last question, if you don’t mind. And that is, you come across, you’re made aware of a friend who’s actually struggling more than you knew through COVID. What would be your one piece of advice?

Marie: Oh God, that’s a really tough one. Well, do you know, I would say, and Brian will kind of bear witness to this, I would be the type of person that if had to say to me pre-COVID “walk from the kitchen to the living room,” I would have said “Are you mad, that’s such a distance.” And I personally found very soon into COVID, as Brian was saying, in one respect, it was really positive that the three of us were in the one house 24/7, and we got to spend lots of time together. But after the first couple of weeks, I was like, “if I actually don’t get out of this house I’m going to go bananas.” So, for me, how I, kind of coped, I suppose, mentally, through COVID was I started walking, and I now walk about 10 and 11 kilometers every day. I put my earbuds in and I either listen to podcasts, THE Paudcast, or music, or, I’ve actually started recently listening to Audible books.

So, for me, in terms of getting to COVID and minding my mental health, it’s exercise and fresh air and walking, and I know people like to, its very cliche that people say that that really helps. And I would have poo-pooed I suppose, before I started doing it myself. But I find that that really helps. And, and Brian would probably agree with me when I say if I don’t do my walk now I’m a bit of a bear with a sore head.

So, I suppose, two bits of advice: get out there, get some exercise, get some headspace on your own and do something that lifts your spirits, whether that’s listening to music, listening to books, listening to Paud’s podcast. And secondly, reach out and speak to somebody if you’re struggling because these always somebody there, whether that it’s a fan or a colleague or one of the kind of, support services out there. There’s plenty of help if you put your hand up and say you need it.


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