Creeslough podcasters explore strong feelings in wake of tragedy

TWO Creeslough men, Aidan Hunter and Stephen Doak, co-presenters of the ‘Soul Brew Podcast’, released a very moving episode earlier this week where they reflected on the recent tragedy in Creeslough.

They spoke with psychotherapist Dr Michelle Murphy about the collective loss and heavy cloud of grief being felt by their community.

During the interview Dr Murphy offered gentle support and strategies to those who are still trying to comprehend the events.


Neighbours and friends Aidan and Stephen are both Creeslough born and bred and were both on the scene following the explosion.

They spoke with Dr Murphy about shared trauma and the feeling of numbness they felt.

Stephen Doak spoke with the Donegal News about being there following the explosion and how opening up has benefited his mental health.

Stephen and Aidan were recording an episode of their podcast at Aidan’s house on Friday October 7 when they heard a “bang”.

When they realised the severity of the situation they went down to the site to lend a hand.

“There were probably about a hundred volunteers, men mainly, from the area that wanted to help clear the
area as quickly as possible,” he said.

“Everybody knows everybody and everyone had that initial same reaction of ‘it could have been me’,” he said.


During the podcast with Dr Murphy they discussed the idea of survivor’s guilt. Stephen explained how they wanted to “reiterate to people that we can’t feel guilty that we weren’t in the shop at that time.

“This feeling was strong because everyone in Creeslough was in the shop a few times a week,” he said.

He frankly recalled how he felt scared going into other shops in the week following the explosion, and how he wanted to “get out of there as quickly as possible”.

‘Hit the nail on the head’

Stephen spoke about this with Dr Murphy and he also explored many other overwhelming feelings he felt following the traumatic event.

Dr Murphy has specialised in neurological rehab, which is the supporting of people who have gone through traumatic events. “She hit the nail on the head a good few times,” said Stephen.

During the podcast they asked questions that they felt others were feeling, “only because we were feeling it ourselves,” he said.

“It was so difficult to talk about because you’re bringing yourself down, but it is for a long term gain. We feel much lighter and better since talking to Michelle; the long term gain is creeping in already,” he said.

Stephen has since attended counselling sessions but felt that “the start of the work was done” during his chat with Dr Murphy.

People from Creeslough who are living away from home also contacted him saying the really benefitted from the episode.

Stephen then explained how it is those that might not seek that help, especially the men who were at the scene that they are concerned for.

He hopes that “listening to the podcast or reading this piece” might encourage them to open up.

He said that they have had people who are living away from home contact them to express how the podcast has really resonated with them and helped them to process the terrible tragedy.

The podcasting pair are also ambassadors for sea swimming challenge ‘Coldtober’, a fundraiser for mental health charity Helplink.

The ‘Homes of Donegal’ episode of ‘Soul Brew’ is named after the song by famous Creeslough singer, Bridie Gallagher.

Soul Brew can be found on all major podcast platforms along with many more thought provoking episodes.

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