Former presenter of RTE Aengus Mac Grianna reflected on her life with husband Terry Gill after stepping down from his role with the national broadcaster in 2018 after 30 years.
Aengus is currently preparing to take on other Irish celebrities on the ballroom floor in the final season of Dancing With the Stars.
Aengus revealed that after finishing his role with RTE, he returned to college to study religions and theology.
“I had been in the RTÉ newsroom for over 30 years and loved going there every day. But I wanted to be able to work in a different way as I got older, ”the former news anchor told RSVP.
“A lighter route but also a route that would allow me to work well beyond the age of 65. I was interested in peace studies, development aid and conflict mediation and that is why I returned to university. I signed up for a world religions and theology course because I wanted to master religion in terms of conflict and culture.
“It meant I had to skip the undergraduate and move on to the masters course, something I had planned anyway, but the time went by a lot faster for me. I was relying on 3G on my phone for internet coverage, but over time we applied for rural broadband and installed satellite broadband so that was enough to get me online. I jumped forward during Covid and now I’m ahead of my plans, ”he said.
Aengus and Terry have been married for eight years, currently living on an alpaca farm in Co Meath. A move that led the couple into a “big business,” though it baffled Aengus when introduced to him.
Aengus explained, “We moved here in 2006 and renovated it for about six months in 2008. We spent a lot of money on the house and then the crash happened. Of course, we spent too much and like everyone else in the country, I had a cut in salary and so did Terry.
“There was a bit of land around the house and we wondered how we could best use it. Terry came home one day and asked me if I had alpacas and I said, “What are alpacas? “
“It was a very steep learning curve from there, but it was a big undertaking. It was also a very smart gesture on Terry’s part. ‘
Dance with the stars starts on Sunday January 9 at 6:30 p.m., Aengus is eager to get started after having been unable to do so in the past due to his studies.
“I’ve been asked to do it since I left RTÉ, but I couldn’t do it because I was studying. I received a phone call from the team the week I was submitting my thesis. It was due on Friday and they called on Wednesday so I was up to it as you can imagine.
“When that was sorted out I started to think about it and thought it would be a really nice thing to do. It’s so different from what I’ve done before, both for my studies and my work on RTÉ. I knew it would be a big challenge to learn to dance while still being a fun and light thing to do, ”he said.
The 57-year-old enjoys his dance journey, despite the physical challenges it entails.
“It’s so difficult, but I appreciate it. I am delighted to learn steps and movements. Yes, it is physically difficult and I have aches and pains and aches, but that is to be expected. I’m just pushing through this in order to be as fit as possible. So far it has been a wonderful experience, ”he said.