For over four decades, Marian Finucane was a familiar voice in homes across the country, one of a small group of Irish people recognisable by their first name. The first to champion ‘women’s issues’ on air, her work observed a radically changing Ireland. Known for her fairness, deep empathy and doggedness, she was one of Ireland’s finest broadcasters when she died, aged 69, in January 2020.
But John Clarke, Marian’s widower, doesn’t use her eponymous moniker – instead, he calls her ‘Finucane’. It widens the gap between the woman so many felt they knew and the woman he loved – the real Marian – who was by turns curious, fiery, emotional, stubborn, charming, and endlessly excited by life. When John and Marian got together, they promised each other that they’d never be boring.
What ensued was forty years of conversation and thousands of miles travelled. For John, it was fuelled by a fascination in each region’s politics and history; for Marian, it was the human story – her desire to help the women she met however she could. Their humanitarian efforts – done without fanfare or attention – saved 25,000–30,000 children, from Syria, India and Jerusalem to Vietnam, Cambodia and Crimea.
This is the story of two people who would never have done any of it if it wasn’t for one spurring the other on. It is the story of a forty-year search for meaning – the story of two people who lived life to its fullest.