While we’re all in bed snoring our heads off, the Limerick-born broadcaster is busy hoiking herself out the door to co-present Ireland AM on Virgin Media One.
Early rises mean early nights, but that doesn’t stop O’Connell from squeezing every last drop out of every day: as well as Ireland FM, she’s also the creator and co-host of of the podcast And Another Thing with Emma Doran.
What time do you get up in the morning and what’s your routine before getting out the door for work?
I get up anywhere between 4am and 4.45am on workdays, depending on the amount of time I wanna smash my vibrating watch off the wall. Then it’s either a quick cold shower or a farmer’s wash, slather myself in every cream under the sun and out the door.
How do you balance work and wellness?
Terribly! I would say I had a very cynical view of wellness for most of my life, but recently I’m getting a bit better with taking a moment. I’m quite a frantic and horribly loud person when I’m not watching telly or reading.
As well as Ireland AM, you co-host the podcast And Another Thing. The intimacy of a podcast can be a blessing and a curse – the conspiratorial format can make listeners feel they’re in the company of friends but a false sense of security can also mean a host(s), or guest(s), chatting about something they wish they hadn’t in hindsight (usually due to faux outrage on social media). How do you tread the fine line between candour and oversharing?
I’m in control of the edit, that’s how! Some of the time you really are just blowing off steam with a friend or making NSFW jokes, so as Meredith from Grey’s Anatomy said, “the line is drawn, there’s now a big line!”
Good skin is the crucible of good makeup, not least while under the full glare of TV studio lights and HD TVs. Which are your hero skincare products?
In the morning it’s my Neostrata Vitamin C Serum and Skin Veg by Skingredients. At night I couldn’t be without my Skingredients PreProbiotic, it’s THE best make-up remover and cleanser. I love a double product. I also rate PHA Renewal Pads by Neostrata and Gilda Liljeblad serums.
When was the last time you wore nightwear outside?
Oh, every day, running across the road to my car where I’ve inevitably forgotten something. I’m in my PJs by 6pm most days. I genuinely live in them.
Where and when was your last truly mellow moment?
I’ve recently starting going to a sauna with friends every week and it’s just wonderfully mellow. We’re a swimsuit-wearing, catholic-guilt-makes-bodies-shameful kinda group, so there are no bits out…
What books are on your nightstand?
Right now, the new one from the ridiculously talented Catherine Ryan Howard, The Trap, and Caroline O’Donoghue’s The Rachel Incident. Pride and Prejudice never leaves it.
What does a dream weekend look like to you?
A weekend with family and friends at my parents’ in Kerry. Both my parents are from beautiful parts of the world and I instantly chill when I get there – before the painting and cleaning jobs start.
What keeps you awake at night?
Everything and anything. I’ve been a terrible sleeper since I was a child.
Imagine a much-anticipated Friday night in. Your Moon + Mellow PJs are on (obvs) and you have the TV – and couch – entirely to yourself. What is your go-to feel-good film, snack and refreshment?
Grosse Pointe Blank, cheese and crackers and sauv blanc. It happens a lot, not having children and all that. Dreamy.
Who would be your top three celebrity pyjama party guests and what would your playlist involve?
Kate Beckinsale, Katherine Ryan and Miriam Margolyes. I mean, THINK of the stories. The playlist would be Dolly, Whitney, Elton John & George Michael, Celine – party in a playlist right there.
Non-pervy outro: what will you be wearing when you slip between the sheets later?
I absolutely love the Flora Burgundy Long Set – it’s next to impossible to get a pair of cotton pyjamas where the pants go from hip to floor. Most of the time I look like a Dickensian urchin, so I’ll be happily trailing my super-long Moon and Mellows around the house with me. Because you know what they say, PJs are all-the-time wear, not just for bedtime.