(Probably) the first Irish vegan blogger on YouTube, Amy Ní Cholgáin is a Donegal girl currently living in Spain with her boyfriend. She runs the blog Green Leafy Gael, speaks and promotes the Irish language and works on her career as a translator between Spanish and English. Her blog and YouTube channels started from her sincere desire to promote a vegan lifestyle. She learned how to write, blog, film and edit all by herself by doing it constantly. And day by day it gets better. Amy has said going vegan was the best thing she ever did.
The green of the blog title comes from Amy’s passion for sustainable living and the environment. It also stands for the Irish people. Then comes the leafy and the gael and together they represent Amy so well. ‘It just baffles me that people are not vegan. It makes so much sense because it’s our natural way to be’, said Amy. She thinks we are being brainwashed by corporations and led to believe being vegan is an abnormality. On her YouTube channel and blog Amy shares her recipes for vegan meal and skin care ideas. It was health that concerned her at first, then she started to follow YouTubers and watch documentaries and animal rights speeches like the popular one made by Gary Yourofsky. ‘Now I’m vegan for all reasons, but initially it was the health factor that shocked me the most’, said Amy. It has been almost five years to the day since she started to eat more healthily and go veg.
From an amateur blogger to a semi-professional
She was living in England when curiosity drove her to the vegan lifestyle, and she became a ‘hardcore vegan’. Amy got so many questions from friends and family because of what she had shared on social media that she decided to start blogging. ‘I thought “I’ll put my thoughts in an actual blog and explain why I’m vegan”. I wanted to share my ideas with people although I knew nothing about blogs and writing, taking pictures, or using a camera’, confesses Amy. ‘All I wanted to do was to educate people around me and get them to read my reasons for being vegan. Then people became really interested’.
A resource for the new followers
Amy jokes and says she needs a secretary to help her manage both channels now. She started her YouTube channel by recording on an Iphone 4 what she eats in a day, without even knowing how to edit. It is indeed a part-time hobby, but she hopes one day she will be able to make it full time. ‘It’s getting exciting because I have a camera now. I have an actual career – I’m a freelance translator and at the moment I’m doing it half and half. Would like both of them to grow consistently and be a resource, especially for new vegans’.
A vegan boyfriend and the Irish language
I’ve asked Amy if her partner is also vegan and she breathes a sigh of relief. He is. He was a teenager at the time, he worked in a slaughterhouse (for two hours) and he could not cope with it. Then at their first date, they shared thoughts and talked a lot about the vegan lifestyle. Gradually he ate less animal products and is now a vegan himself. Amy is also one of the few vegans I know that speaks Irish very well (going by my naive understanding) and moreover promotes it via her channels and even via BBC (!!!). I sometime listen to these videos because I enjoy the way the language sounds. Amy’s parents sent her to an Irish speaking school when she was small. ‘Irish is huge in an Irish speaking world. I did a Diploma in film production through Irish and later a degree in Irish and Spanish’, said Amy. She thinks it’s sad to see that almost everybody nowadays finds it really hard to speak it and people think it’s not cool. ‘But there is a revival of the language now’.