Radio personality Mairead Farrell (30) has revealed how it was the tragic death of her mum Maureen that spurred her into a career in broadcasting.
The stunning Today FM presenter has opened up about losing her mother when she was just 20, and how her death compelled her into going back to college to fulfill her dreams of working in radio.
The Finglas native initially studied for a degree in HR management but, after deciding it wasn't for her, worked in the sports department of Arnotts before getting a job in music venue Temple Theatre.
"I was thrown in at the deep end... but it was a great experience and I learned so much," she said.
After losing her mum, Mairead told Prudence magazine, she decided that it was time to go back to college and pursue her real passion.
"I always just loved radio and planned to go back to college but then my mam got sick and we were pretty much told that she wouldn't live beyond September, so I spent a lot of time with her and we talked a lot and I remember at the time her telling me 'go back and study, find something that you want to do' -- so after she passed away, I did just that," she said.
"I applied to Ballyfermot Senior College for a course in radio and television production, I had done a presentation and interview.
"My mother died on the night before my 21st birthday and on the day of her funeral I got a letter from the college saying that I'd got a place.
"I started that September and I absolutely loved it. It was the complete opposite to the first course and college experience, mainly because I loved it. I never missed an assignment or a deadline."
As part of her work experience, she interned with MTV Base in London before applying for a job in Today FM, saying how she "hounded them".
"I got a week's work experience there and then I was back in college. Later on I got a phone call from human resources in Today FM saying that they had six weeks' paid work if I was interested, so I thought about it and discussed it with my college lecturers," she added.
"I only had two months of the course left, but they said it was too good an opportunity to pass up, as long as I came back and sat my exams. That was eight-and-a-half years ago -- but I did go back and finish my exams!"
As well as working on the Ray D'Arcy Show, Mairead, who has a three-year-old son Dara, has also been a regular face on comedy show The Panel for the past four years, and did a stint on Republic Of Telly.
Despite her glamorous image, Mairead, who split from her marketing executive husband Eamon Fitzpatrick last year, says she's a real high street fan at heart.
"I shop everywhere, but my favourite places are Littlewoods, Zara, Penneys, Topshop and River Island. I try to buy expensive shoes but keep dresses and clothes and stuff cheap. I wore a Penneys' dress recently that only cost €20 and my Pretty Polly tights cost €35.
"I don't really buy designer clothes but I have a vintage dress belonging to my mum that she bought years ago for £11.15 at Roches Stores. It still has the price tag and I know she saved up to buy that dress. It's of huge sentimental value."