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    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning

    Free State is a podcast for the curious that stimulates, provokes, challenges and entertains, while never taking itself too seriously. Free State covers topics from sport to politics, love to loss, the human condition and how to fix the world, with guests from across the planet including Nigerian princes, former Prime Ministers, ex convicts, footballers, boxers and extraordinary people from every walk of life. 


    Free State is presented by Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning. Brolly is a barrister, an original thinker with a fascinating backstory, who donated a kidney to a stranger and then led a crusade to transform organ donation on the island of Ireland, and Fanning is an award-winning interviewer and author. 


    They are not motivational gurus or life coaches. They will never try to sell you a penis scented candle. They are two people from very different worlds, with one core belief uniting them - this is not a high performance podcast.



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    enJoe Brolly116 Episodes

    Episodes (116)

    Never say never again part 2. What we talk about when we don’t talk about Joe Biden

    Never say never again part 2. What we talk about when we don’t talk about Joe Biden

    When Keir Starmer visited Northern Ireland, it was a moment when it was possible to believe that things will start moving again. Casement Park will be built, maybe in time for the Euros in 2028 and the childish stunts of the recent past might not be tolerated with Hilary Benn as Secretary of State. Joe talks about why it’s important to distinguish between a politician like Gregory Campbell and honourable unionists. Joe explains why the SDLP would run a candidate against Sinn Fein even if it meant the leader of the Ku Klux Klan won the seat. And Dion makes Joe an offer he can’t refuse- will he play a game of cricket if it means meeting one of his heroes?


    This episode of Free State is sponsored by Manscaped. Visit https://www.manscaped.com/ and get 20% off and free shipping by using code freestate20


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    Never say never again, part 1. The fall of the House of Paisley (and Harte)

    Never say never again, part 1. The fall of the House of Paisley (and Harte)

    In France, the far right have been rejected. In Britain, the Conservatives are gone. Keir Starmer visited the north this week and there is a new hope in Ireland that change is coming. But what about Derry? In Free State today, Joe and Dion look at the fall of the House of Paisley (and Mickey Harte). What do the election results tell us about Northern Ireland? And Joe explains why the election of one MP signals the end of the old destructive ways of doing politics.


    This episode of Free State is sponsored by Manscaped. Visit https://www.manscaped.com/ and get 20% off and free shipping by using code freestate20


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    And then there were four, part 2. The football factory - how science is replacing humans with robots.

    And then there were four, part 2. The football factory - how science is replacing humans with robots.

    Sport is too important to fall into the hands of cultural vandals. The death of Mícheal Ó Muircheartaigh was a reminder of the role sport plays in Irish life.

    Nothing elevates a community like sporting joy and community is central to all that is good in Irish life. On Free State, Joe and Dion look at how sport has been turned into a commodity. From Buenos Aires to Bellaghy, sport has had the joy removed. Who, apart from Mickey Harte, is to blame?


    This episode of Free State is sponsored by Manscaped. Visit https://www.manscaped.com/ and get 20% off and free shipping by using code freestate20


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    And then there were four, Part 1: The last days of the Dublin empire.

    And then there were four, Part 1: The last days of the Dublin empire.

    What is wrong with Gaelic football? Joe insisted that Dion watch the All Ireland quarter finals last weekend and will he ever forgive him? On Free State, Joe reflects on the decline and fall of Dublin and explains what they need to do next. Joe and Dion also remember Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh and Joe recalls his days training with him in Dublin. They also ask a critical question in these troubled times: when were white shoes first worn in Mayo?


    This episode of Free State is sponsored by Manscaped. Visit https://www.manscaped.com/ and get 20% off and free shipping by using code freestate20


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. Derry, from Death Row to Croke Park. Part 2

    Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. Derry, from Death Row to Croke Park. Part 2

    What is your greatest fear? How much do we all dread humiliation? Derry were humiliated three times in the championship but are still alive. They’ve been to the bottom. Now, the only way is up and they have nothing left to fear. On Free State today Joe and Dion look ahead to Derry’s game against Kerry and what may be another upset. Are Derry now All-Ireland contenders? Could Kerry be upset by another northern team. And Dion explains why, as a member of the Kerry diaspora, he doesn’t need to get sucked into Joe’s mind games .


    This episode of Free State is sponsored by Manscaped. Visit https://www.manscaped.com/ and get 20% off and free shipping by using code freestate20


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    From death row to Croke Park. Derry, Mayo and milking the cows in Killala Part 1.

    From death row to Croke Park. Derry, Mayo and milking the cows in Killala Part 1.

    How much credit does Mickey Harte deserve for Derry’s win over Mayo? On Free State, Joe tells Dion how Derry pulled off what many felt was the shock of the season. Was it really a shock? Joe didn’t think so and neither did the local rat catcher in Mayo. Dion wonders if Mayo are like the Scottish football team but Joe explains why they’re more like England. And who are the snipers Mickey Harte is talking about?


    This episode of Free State is sponsored by Manscaped. Visit https://www.manscaped.com/ and get 20% off and free shipping by using code freestate20


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    The Irish Elections: How the elites persuade sheep to vote for wolves.

    The Irish Elections: How the elites persuade sheep to vote for wolves.

    At the American Ambassador’s residence in Dublin last week, there was an extraordinary event. Many of the main architects of the peace process gathered to talk about how it was done and what the world can learn from it as the horrors of Gaza continue. Joe was among the invited audience and it reminded him of a time when politicians were serious. On Free State today, Dion and Joe look at the recent election results. What do they mean for Sinn Féin and the country? As Nigel Farage hijacks the U.K. election, has the far right in Ireland done something similar? Is the country heading down the same road as Britain and the US?


    This episode of Free State is sponsored by Manscaped. Visit https://www.manscaped.com/ and get 20% off and free shipping by using code freestate20


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    Jungle Book. The essential survival guide for Gaelic footballers. Featuring Brian Mullins and an All Star cast

    Jungle Book. The essential survival guide for Gaelic footballers. Featuring Brian Mullins and an All Star cast

    Will Joe be wearing a half and half scarf when Mayo play Derry? On Free State, Joe explains to Dion why he will be desperate for a Derry win when the two counties play. He remembers his many memorable encounters with the great Brian Mullins, one of which ended with Joe promising to seek professional help. He didn’t follow up on this promise.


    This episode of Free State is sponsored by Manscaped. Visit https://www.manscaped.com/ and get 20% off and free shipping by using code freestate20


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com




    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    Mickey Harte, football manager. Oh Lord it’s so Harte to be humble, Part 2

    Mickey Harte, football manager. Oh Lord it’s so Harte to be humble, Part 2

    As Derry fall apart under Mickey Harte, what are those closest to the squad saying? Who else - if anyone- is responsible for the fall in recent months? On Free State, it’s Mickey Harte week with a forensic analysis of where it went wrong at Derry and if anything can be done to save their summer.


    Dion also triggers Joe by mentioning a name that may upset him even more than Mickey Harte. A beautiful partnership hangs by a thread…


    This episode of Free State is sponsored by Manscaped. Visit https://www.manscaped.com/ and get 20% off and free shipping by using code freestate20


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com


    This episode of Free State is sponsored by Manscaped. Visit https://www.manscaped.com/ and get 20% off and free shipping by using code freestate20



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    ‘Oh Lord, it’s so Harte to be humble.’ Part 1

    ‘Oh Lord, it’s so Harte to be humble.’ Part 1

    Who will Mickey Harte blame next? Was it inevitable that it would fall apart at Derry? On Free State today, Joe and Dion talk about the fall and fall of Mickey Harte. Joe explains why Harte is an intruder in the county and how it went to pieces. They look at why the Derry County Board have betrayed the values of the GAA by bringing Harte in. But a county like Offaly with their rock ‘n’ roll U-20 hurlers have captured its essence.


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com


    This episode of Free State is sponsored by Manscaped. Visit https://www.manscaped.com/ and get 20% off and free shipping by using code freestate20



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    The unbearable agony of Palestine. Part 2. With Gideon Levy

    The unbearable agony of Palestine. Part 2. With Gideon Levy

    Gideon Levy says he is an Israeli patriot. But he is a patriot in a land where truth is seen as treason. In Part 2 of his Free State interview, Gideon Levy provides a frightening insight into Israel today. As Israeli government censorship looks to silence the truth about Gaza, he tells Joe and Dion what happens to those who write honestly about the plight of the Palestinians.  He talks about how in Tel Aviv recently, a woman on the street called him a traitor. And he explains why the removal of Benjamin Netanyahu from office is not going to deliver the change many liberals believe.


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    The unbearable agony of Palestine. Part 1. With Gideon Levy

    The unbearable agony of Palestine. Part 1. With Gideon Levy

    When Gideon Levy was a teenager growing up in Israel he was devoted to the ‘nationalistic religious orgy’ in the country. Today, as a journalist working for Haaretz, he has been described as the ‘most hated man in Israel’. His fearless determination to record the suffering of the Palestinians has seen him banned from reporting in Gaza by the Israeli government since 2006.


    On a two part special, Gideon Levy joins Dion and Joe on Free State. He talks about how, even as the atrocities mount in Rafah, Israeli society doesn’t want to know. He explains why many in the country care more about the fate of animals than those suffering in Gaza. He also tells Joe and Dion about his own journey from one who believed all he was told in Israel about the Palestinians to a man who courageously tells the truth in a country that doesn’t want to hear it.


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    Big Bad Bill. The greatest captain of them all. Captain Class Part 4.

    Big Bad Bill. The greatest captain of them all. Captain Class Part 4.

    As a young man, he fled the racism of Louisiana. His father could take no more: violence or exile was the next step. He began what at first was an unpromising basketball career before becoming the most inspirational leader in the history of the NBA.


    On the final part of The Captain Class, Joe and Dion look at the extraordinary life of Bill Russell. Russell was the man who shaped the Boston Celtics even as he was being racially abused by his own fans. He had no interest in fame or the trappings of celebrity but as a captain he found a higher purpose for himself and his team.


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    Are Leinster cursed or just losers? What causes great teams to become serial failures? Captain Class Part 3

    Are Leinster cursed or just losers? What causes great teams to become serial failures? Captain Class Part 3

    When Leinster missed a drop goal in the final seconds of the European final were they just unlucky? Or were they, like Mayo, missing chances or losing three finals in a row because something fundamental was missing? On Free State today, Joe and Dion continue their exploration of the great teams and captains in sport.


    Is team spirit just an illusion glimpsed in victory or is there another reason why these team succeed and others experience relative failure? 


    They look at what the great teams had in common, the factor that drove them towards relentless success and why luck had nothing to do with it.


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    The Roy Keane Conundrum - The Captain Class Part 2

    The Roy Keane Conundrum - The Captain Class Part 2

    Roy Keane drove Manchester United and Ireland on through the force of his personality. He was the most important player in Alex Ferguson’s side but was he a man apart or the invisible essence of the team? On Free State today, Joe and Dion debate Roy Keane and where he belongs in the captain class. They look at those who led a different way, who didn’t let heart attacks or jibes about being a water-carrier stop them leading.


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    The Captain Class Part 1

    The Captain Class Part 1

    What is it that unites the greatest teams in sport?


    What is the factor that ensures a team remains successful over a prolonged period?


    When the American journalist Sam Walker began to study the greatest teams in sport, he found a common denominator that shocked him.


    On Free State today, Joe and Dion discuss Walker’s book The Captain Class and the individuals who drove the greatest teams, even if, in one case, it resulted in his testicle being ripped out.


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    Winners & Losers

    Winners & Losers

    The Ulster final was a study in winning and losing. A perfect example of the question everyone in sport has wrestled with for generations: what makes one team win and another team lose?


    What makes one team confident as they reach the dying moments of a game while another becomes tense, tight and anxious?


    What separates Dublin from Mayo or Donegal from Armagh? What distinguishes Alex Ferguson from David Moyes?


    On Free State today, Dion and Joe look at the difference between winning and losing. Joe talks about the time he spent with the men from the great Kilkenny sides recently and what he discovered from those conversations about the secret of success. And when they talk about winning, naturally the conversation leads back to Jim McGuinness.


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    Superman. An American football story. Joe Klecko, quarter back killer

    Superman. An American football story. Joe Klecko, quarter back killer

    Joe Klecko always had mayhem on his mind. Klecko, the legendary defensive linemen for the New York Jets, is regarded as the strongest man in the history of American Football.


    When Joe Klecko was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he invited Joe Brolly to Cleveland to be part of the event.


    On Free State today, Joe Klecko talks to Joe about his life on the front line of the most demanding sport of all. But it came easy to a man who once wrestled a bear and another time pulled the doors off Burt Reynolds’s tour bus. How he dealt with Joe was another story…


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    Roger Casement Part 2. The Mission.

    Roger Casement Part 2. The Mission.

    Roger Casement’s executioner described him as ‘the bravest man it fell to my unhappy lot to execute’. In part 2 of a special Free State on Casement, his biographer Roland Philipps explains the doomed and heroic final act of Casement’s life when he was driven by an obsessive desire for Irish freedom. He talks to Dion and Joe about the love affair which helped to condemn an impractical romantic. 


    If Roger Casement’s life had ended after he had exposed the barbarity in the Congo, he would have been hailed as one of history’s great humanitarians. But his final years were taken up with the cause closest to his heart: Irish freedom


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    Roger Casement And The Temple Of Doom Part 1

    Roger Casement And The Temple Of Doom Part 1

    When Roger Casement was hanged in Pentonville Prison in 1916, he died an Irish hero and a traitor to the British Empire.


    On Banna Strand in 2016, President Higgins described Casement as “not just a great Irish patriot, he was also one of the great humanitarians of the early 20th century”.


    On Free State today, Joe and Dion look at the many lives of a man who so impressed a tribe of cannibals with his courage that they didn’t eat him. 


    Casement’s lives were varied, and some of them were secret, but he also, as President Higgins said, exposed “the darkness that lay at the heart of European imperialism”. His biographer Roland Philipps joins Joe and Dion to talk about this modern story. A story of a man who exposed the rotten heart of empire. It was a life that changed Ireland and the world. Nobody will ever live a life like Roger Casement’s again.


    Free State with Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning is a Gold Hat Production in association with SwanMcG.


    For more on Free State: https://freestatepodcast.com/


    To get in touch with the podcast: info@freestatepodcast.com



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


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