A VET from Bantry is starring in a bi-lingual TV series where she’s charming audiences along with pets of all shapes and sizes.
Ellen Hegarty, originally from Letterlicky has hit our screens on Peataí!, and along with a groomer and behaviourist, she showcases all that is weird and wonderful about sharing your life with an animal.
Among the pets Ellen gets to grips with on the series are a fat pony, a bully goat, a scared cat and a cannibalistic hamster.
She got involved in the show after spotting a notice in a veterinary council magazine looking for Irish speaking vets, and thought it sounded like an exciting opportunity.
She remembers her secondary school teachers, ‘Miss Cronin and Mrs Richardson,’ instilling a love of Irish in her, but it wasn’t until she was pregnant with her first child that she decided to take her interest further.
‘My best friend is French and she was raising bi-lingual kids and I thought it was a great idea, and said I’d give it a go through Irish,’ said Ellen.
She’s now a mum-of-three and their household is a bi-lingual, and busy one. She’s had a diverse career at home and abroad, including practice work and teaching, and most recently she’s completed a Masters in Climate Change in Dublin City University.
‘I’ve always loved animals and nature, and as a child I was always out in the fields and feeding calves at home in Letterlicky. So it just seemed a natural fit that I’d also be concerned about what was going to happen to nature in the context of climate change,’ she said.
She says Peataí is ideal family viewing: ‘There is so much going on right now with the pandemic, the climate crisis and restrictions, that it’s so nice to be able to sit down together and watch this 30 minutes of joy.’
Her advice to anything thinking of getting a pet for Christmas is to do their research.
‘It’s not a cliché to say that pets are not just for Christmas. Also be aware that it might not be the best time considering there’s more people around, more toys and wires to chew on. Waiting until February, when the weather is improved would be better. Also do your homework, it’s easy to focus on how fabulous it is to have a pet, and it is, but there’s also the peeing, the pooing, healthcare, feeding etc to consider.’
Peataí! was made for BBC Gaeilge and RTÉ by Big Mountain Productions with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund. This is the second series of the show and it airs on RTÉ1, Friday at 7.30pm; and BBC Two Northern Ireland on Mondays at 10pm. RTÉ will show series one after Christmas.