190 episodes

We believe Northern Ireland has a better story to tell — one that goes beyond bombs, bullets and a sunken ship.

You are part of this story.

With 180+ conversations featuring some of the incredible people who call this place home, our weekly show gives you the chance to get away from the clickbait and connect with the amazing things happening on your doorstep.

Previous guests include NASA Scientists, Billion-Dollar CEOs, 91-year-old parkrunners, teenaged entrepreneurs, Oscar-winning directors, Olympic Gold medalists, Bitcoin Auctioneers, Tim Burton's puppet-maker and a guy who built an aeroplane in his garage.

Well-known voices include Snow Patrol, Foy Vance, Julian Simmons, May McFettridge, Zoe Salmon, Andrew Trimble, The Dead Rabbit, Michael Deane, The Priests, Two Door Cinema Club, Oliver Jeffers, Pete Snodden, Colin Geddis, Mary Peters, Rebecca McKinney and May Blood — the millworker who became a peer in the House Of Lords.

Best Of Belfast is an independent, crowdfunded show with no political or religious agenda. It's hosted by 26-year-old writer Matthew Thompson and publishes a new episode every single Monday!

To see photos of all 180+ guests, sign up to our free newsletter and support the show please visit https://bestofbelfast.org/

Best Of Belfast: Northern Ireland's #1 Interview Podcas‪t‬ Matthew Thompson: storyteller from Belfast, Northern Ireland

    • Places & Travel
    • 5.0 • 21 Ratings

We believe Northern Ireland has a better story to tell — one that goes beyond bombs, bullets and a sunken ship.

You are part of this story.

With 180+ conversations featuring some of the incredible people who call this place home, our weekly show gives you the chance to get away from the clickbait and connect with the amazing things happening on your doorstep.

Previous guests include NASA Scientists, Billion-Dollar CEOs, 91-year-old parkrunners, teenaged entrepreneurs, Oscar-winning directors, Olympic Gold medalists, Bitcoin Auctioneers, Tim Burton's puppet-maker and a guy who built an aeroplane in his garage.

Well-known voices include Snow Patrol, Foy Vance, Julian Simmons, May McFettridge, Zoe Salmon, Andrew Trimble, The Dead Rabbit, Michael Deane, The Priests, Two Door Cinema Club, Oliver Jeffers, Pete Snodden, Colin Geddis, Mary Peters, Rebecca McKinney and May Blood — the millworker who became a peer in the House Of Lords.

Best Of Belfast is an independent, crowdfunded show with no political or religious agenda. It's hosted by 26-year-old writer Matthew Thompson and publishes a new episode every single Monday!

To see photos of all 180+ guests, sign up to our free newsletter and support the show please visit https://bestofbelfast.org/

    #186 Donna Dooher & Kevin Gallagher: The Restauranteurs Who Brought Brunch To Toronto

    #186 Donna Dooher & Kevin Gallagher: The Restauranteurs Who Brought Brunch To Toronto

    Donna Dooher and Kevin Gallagher are second and third generation Northern-Irish-Canadians who first burst onto the hospitality scene by introducing the phenomena of brunch to Toronto through their restaurant Mildred Pierce before publishing the award-winning cookbook Out To Brunch.
     
    Driven by her passion for food, Donna went on to star in the popular Food Network show The Cookworks with Donna Dooher which has been watched by foodie fans all over the world. Alongside working in the business, Kevin has also served on the Board of Directors for the Ireland Fund of Canada and was instrumental in securing funds for building Ireland Park Canada and fundraising efforts for the Celtic Studies program at St. Michael’s College.
     
    Their latest venture, Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in the heart of Toronto’s Liberty Village, reflects their passion for 'the return to the table' and locally sourced ingredients, simply and sumptuously prepared. Throughout the pandemic, Kevin has also written Diary Of A Restaurant which his musings and learnings of years spent in the hospitality industry.
     
    In today's episode we talk about:
    Their early memories & experiences
    How they scaled a brunch community from 15 people on a Sunday to 500+ per week
    The cultish following around their Blueberry pancakes
    And the greatest challenges/successes they've experienced along the way
     
    Check it out.
    //
    To see a 'treasure trove' of all things related to Kevin and Donna (including a photo) please visit https://bestofbelfast.org/stories/donna-doher-kevin-gallagher
     
    Best Of Belfast is Northern Ireland's #1 Interview Podcast. We've shared 180+ hour-long conversations with incredible people from Northern Ireland.
     
    To find out more, or join 'The Producers Club' please visit https://bestofbelfast.org/
     
    Cheers!
     
    — Matt 

    • 48 min
    #185 Martin Lynch, Playwright [Live Podcast]

    #185 Martin Lynch, Playwright [Live Podcast]

    Martin Lynch is a playwright from Belfast, Northern Ireland who started out in Community Theatre at Turf Lodge before being appointed Resident Playwright at the Lyric.
     
     
    A 35-year career has seen Martin's work produced in many parts of the world including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Brighton Festival, the USA, Romania, Russia, Canada and Australia.
     
     
    He's also written many plays for BBC Radio 3 and 4 and co-wrote the screenplay for the Sam Goldwyn film, A Prayer For The Dying starring Mickey Rourke, Bob Hoskins and Liam Neeson.
     
     
    Martin was recently elected to the Irish association of artists Aosdána whose previous members include Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney and Brian Friel.
     
     
    In today's episode we talk about:
    Growing up in a one-up-one-down house of 12
    Martin's first jobs (cloth-cutter and dock worker)
    Articulating the working-class voice
    And pet lions.
     
    This episode was recorded live over Zoom as part of the Cathedral Quarter Out To Lunch Festival. Big thanks to them for giving us the opportunity and making today's show possible.
     
     
    Check it out.
     
    //
     
    Webpage for episode: https://bestofbelfast.org/stories/martin-lynch-playwright
     
     
    Best Of Belfast is Northern Ireland's #1 Interview Podcast. We've shared 180+ hour-long conversations with incredible people from Northern Ireland.
     
     
    To find out more, or join 'The Producers Club' please visit https://bestofbelfast.org/
     
     
    Cheers!
     
     
    — Matt

    • 55 min
    #184 Steve Strange: Agent Of Eminem, Coldplay & Snow Patrol

    #184 Steve Strange: Agent Of Eminem, Coldplay & Snow Patrol

    Steve Strange is an agent from Carrickfergus who started his career in the music industry as a drummer for Northern Irish rock band No Hot Ashes.
     
    Since then he worked with some of the biggest names in the world including Eminem, Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Queens of the Stone Age, Jimmy Eat World, Foy Vance, Ash, Ryan McMullan, Alice in Chains and many, many more. 
     
    In today's show, Rigsy sits down with Steve to talk about:
    His first memories and early experiences Some of the urban legends surrounding his career The importance of building bands organically And the greatest challenges/successes he's experienced along the way. Check it out.

    //
    Webpage for this episode: https://bestofbelfast.org/stories/steve-strange-x-ray-touring
     
    Best Of Belfast is Northern Ireland's #1 Interview Podcast. We've shared 100+ hour-long conversations with incredible people from Northern Ireland.
     
    To find out more, or join 'The Producers Club' please visit https://bestofbelfast.org/
     
    Cheers!
     
    — Matt 
     

    • 48 min
    [Documentary] Sir John Lavery: "The Belfast Orphan Who Painted History"

    [Documentary] Sir John Lavery: "The Belfast Orphan Who Painted History"

    Sir John Lavery is a painter from Northern Ireland best known for his portraits of Michael Collins, Churchhill and Queen Victoria.
     
    But besides being the most famous painter of his day, the Belfast-born boy came from humble-beginnings.
     
    Baptised in St. Patricks Church, the Cathedral Quarter native was orphaned at a young age when his mother died in childbirth and his father died at sea — after which lived in Moira with his extended family before moving across the pond to work as a photographer's apprentice.
     
    It was there that John developed his passion and talent for art — one that would take him on an extraordinary journey all over the world, and back again to Belfast.
     
    In today's episode, we discover the amazing life and legacy of one of Belfast's most famous individuals while diving deep into the history of the streets he once called home.
     
    Along the way, we meet historians, priests, art curators, modern-day painters and even a publican to try and understand why his story is important for us today.
     
    Check it out.
    //
    This episode is part of The Streets Where They Lived: a new documentary collaboration between Successful Belfast, Belfast Buildings Trust, and Best of Belfast. The Streets Where They Lived will feature the stories of six incredible but sometimes overlooked men and women from Belfast and some of the buildings and places in the City with which they’re connected.
     
    The project is a collaboration with Successful Belfast, a project of Belfast Buildings Trust. It is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Belfast Buildings Trust is a charity founded in 1996 to regenerate Belfast’s landmark buildings. The Trust works to ensure that the City’s authentic heritage is made relevant for people today. One of its projects is Successful Belfast, which champions new and creative ways of involving people in Belfast’s future development.  
    //
    Website link: https://bestofbelfast.org/stories/sir-john-lavery-painter
     
    Best Of Belfast is Northern Ireland's #1 Interview Podcast. We've shared 100+ hour-long conversations with incredible people from Northern Ireland.
     
    To find out more, or join 'The Producers Club' please visit https://bestofbelfast.org/
     
    Cheers!
     
    — Matt 
     

    • 48 min
    #182 Neil Walsh, United Nations: Surviving Trauma & Fighting Crime

    #182 Neil Walsh, United Nations: Surviving Trauma & Fighting Crime

    Neil Walsh is Chief of the Cybercrime, Counter-Terrorist Finance and Anti-Money Laundering Department at the United Nations where he and his team advise the UN Senior Leadership on conflict prevention in cyberspace.
     
    Prior to joining the UN, Neil served for over 15 years within the UK National Crime Agency countering international organised crime and terrorism — including long-term postings The Hague and Malta.
     
    Outside of work he's married with four kids and is an avid advocate for bowel cancer, brain haemorrhage, liver failure, osteoporosis and pulmonary embolism awareness (having survived all of these conditions himself).
     
    In today's episode we talk about:
    Surviving a terrorist attack at age 13
    Working for the National Crime Agency
    Beating cancer (twice)
    What we can do to keep our kids safe online
    And the greatest challenges/successes he's experienced along the way
     
    Check it out.
     
    //
    To see a 'treasure trove' of all things related to Neil (including a photo) please visit https://bestofbelfast.org/stories/neil-walsh-united-nations
     
    Best Of Belfast is Northern Ireland's #1 Interview Podcast. We've shared 100+ hour-long conversations with incredible people from Northern Ireland.
     
    To find out more, or join 'The Producers Club' please visit https://bestofbelfast.org/
     
    Cheers!
     
    — Matt 

    • 1 hr 2 min
    #181 National Museums NI: Hannah Crowdy

    #181 National Museums NI: Hannah Crowdy

    Hannah Crowdy is the Head Of Curatorial for National Museums NI.
     
     
    In 2009 she relocated from Brighton to Belfast and eleven years later, she is very happy to call this place home.
     
     
    As a museum professional for eighteen years, Hannah has worked in museums of all shapes and sizes.
     
     
    At National Museums NI she has taken a leading role in such major projects as the Titanica exhibition at the Ulster Transport Museum and the recent Troubles and Beyond exhibition at the Ulster Museum.
     
     
    In today’s episode we talk about:
    Her first heritage-related memories How she ‘got into' museums (and why!) The role museums play in our culture And the greatest successes/challenges she’s faced along the way  
    Check it out!
     
    //
    To see a 'treasure trove' of all things related to Hannah (including a photo) please visit https://bestofbelfast.org/stories/national-museums-ni-hannah-crowdy
     
    Best Of Belfast is Northern Ireland's #1 Interview Podcast. We've shared 100+ hour-long conversations with incredible people from Northern Ireland.
     
    To find out more, or join 'The Producers Club' please visit https://bestofbelfast.org/
     
    Cheers!
     
    — Matt 

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

S.McBrien ,

Everything good about Norn Iron

Moved to America in 2009 and miss the wee things about home. This is a great podcast and I LOVE listening to the wide range of people interviewed. Keep up the good work Matthew 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Bobthebuilder007 ,

Love it

Outstanding show and we love what Matt is doing exploring the wonderful persepctive and people of Northern Ireland.

Karen#makinggoodnessaccessible ,

Episode 60. The Heroes Journey

Great to hear the ‘heroes journey’ from a Northern Ireland mindset and accent. Thanks Aidan Malone, for the recommendation. Karen:-)
Ps. It helped me understand what the ‘cave’ bit is all about.

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