Tommy Tiernan Show recap: Manchán Magan on his prostate cancer diagnosis

Folklorist and author Manchán Magan spoke on Saturday night’s Tommy Tiernan Show about being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Upon being announced, Tiernan first asked the documentary-maker if he was well, with Magan saying “my mind, my brain, my body are better than ever” and mentioned “little shadows going on in the background”.

Tiernan pressed him though, saying he had heard from someone that Magan was unwell. “They said to me, ‘Manchán isn’t well, but he’s not talking about it, he’s keeping it to himself’,” Tiernan said.

Magan revealed he currently has cancer but feels strong in himself.

“That’s what I’m saying about the shadow. I have prostate cancer at the moment but that is making me feel more alive than ever. So what should one do? Should I say I’m weak and I’m unwell when I’ve never felt stronger?” 

They discussed treatment, with Magan talking about receiving “the conventional” care for his cancer as well as taking medicinal mushrooms and herbs to supplement his treatment. He stressed: “I don’t feel at all sick. I genuinely feel healthier and more focused.” 

Magan also spoke about how he believes in the existence of other realms and said people can sense this reality slipping away after having a few pints or falling asleep.

— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) March 30, 2024

“I just love the world beyond. I find it hard to believe in the real world and to believe in reality, but that existence beyond, I’m so often there and so often in that,” he said.

“There’s people who are incarnated in the world, ready to be in this world and to focus on their body and doing all the things and I just wasn’t one of those people. I was one of those people who’s probably always had one foot in the other world. That’s why I think that I always was connected with herbs and plants and trees and nature because I think nature has one foot in the other world as well.” 

Earlier in the show, Tiernan spoke with ‘Death Doula’ Laura Coleman about working with people at the end of their lives.

Coleman spoke about helping people prepare for death as well as more challenging situations like end-of-life care for children and deathbed regrets.

— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) March 30, 2024

She said the most common regret is not spending enough time with loved ones.

“I’ve never met anybody who said they didn’t work enough,” she said. “Every person I’ve ever sat with at the end of their life always complained about having worked too much and spending less time with their family. They wish they lived the life they wanted to live instead of the life other people expected them to live.” 

She described working with children at the end of their lives as “very tough”.

“It’s heartbreaking. It’s really, really tough working with families who are going to lose their child,” she said, adding often the child is ready to talk about it long before the parents are.” 

Tiernan also spoke with Elbow singer/songwriter Guy Garvey about growing up in Manchester and its influence on his music.

Tommy and Guy Garvey chat about the joys of a pint with pals 😀#TommyTiernanShow@tommedian @Elbow pic.twitter.com/DZU5Tqhr5K

— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) March 30, 2024

“The deep division down the country while I was growing up was Mrs. Thatcher and her dealings,” Garvey said.

“The division she sowed came very much between the South and the North, so we felt dismissed, even as a kid we felt shat on by that woman, by her supporters.” 

He said the resulting difficulties in the north of England, for him, made Ireland seem a more exotic location, noting its music and culture “was a bit cooler just by the fact that it was exotic”.

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