Hawaii (S5.09)

Audio: Hawaii

In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about Hawaii, and specifically the Big Island of Hawaii. Which is also called Hawaii.

Hawaii is the southeasternmost of the Hawaiian Islands, which make up the US state of Hawaii. The island makes up 63% of the archipelago’s landmass, but only 13% of its total population. The island is the third largest island in Polynesia, behind the two main islands of New Zealand. With a total area of around 10,000 km2 (or 4,000 square miles), Hawaii is similar in size to the islands of Puerto Rico or Cyprus, or our old friend Gambia.   

With a rich history and culture, Hawaii and its sister islands flourished as ancient societies, developing unique religions and customs, that is until the arrival of one Captain James Cook. In 1779 the famous explorer made his second and final landing here, and would not make it off the island alive. By the end of the century, the islands came under the protection of the British Crown, and missionaries soon followed, changing island life forever. The 1800s brought modern developments and the consolidation of the Kingdom of Hawaii, but ended in the annexation of the territory by the United States, a controversial episode to this day. In 1959, Hawaii becomes the 50th State, now famous for tourism, spam and pineapples. Hawaii Island, also known simply as The Big Island, is today home to around 185,000 people, and due to ongoing volcanic activity, Hawaii is the only US state that is still growing.



Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Dublin, Ireland, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Galway, Ireland. Our theme music and other stings come from Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella. Thanks to Kuʻu Kauanoe one of the hosts of the Offshore Podcast from Honolulu Civil Beat, for speaking to us for this episode – you will hear clips from her interview throughout.


The city of Hilo in 1907

Some further reading material is provided below:

  • A great website for all things Big Island is Love Big Island, and is particularly useful for tourists wishing to visit, but also helped us with plenty of history.
  • Rethinking the Native Hawaiian Past By Kanalu G. Terry Young is available on Google Books.
  • For more on the Kapu system, see storymaps.com
  • Hawaii: The Aloha State By Robin Doak has a lot more on the process of annexation, which you can find on Google Books.
  • The Eisenhower Library has more on Hawaii’s journey to statehood, which you can find here.
  • Smithsonian Magazine has an excellent article on Liliʻuokalani, the Last Queen of Hawaiʻi.
  • The Stuff You Should Know episode on the annexation is available here. Thanks, Josh and Chuck!
  • Richard B Frank’s article in TIME, headlined How Hawaii’s Japanese Population Was Spared Internment During World War II was a key source for that section of the show.
  • For more on the totally not supervillian Starfish Prime, you can check out this article in Discover Magazine.
  • Hawaii Beef also has lots of info on cattle farming on the islands.
  • Finally, the season of the Offshore Podcast on race relations in Hawaii can be found here. It’s definitely worth a listen.

Check out that green sand!

The music used in this episode is as follows:

Thanks to all our patrons who support the show. We really appreciate your continued backing of us. If you want to join them, more information is available at www.patreon.com/80dayspodcast


Jersey (S5.08)

Audio: Jersey

In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about the Bailiwick of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands lying just off the coast of Northern France. Jersey is a Crown Dependency so is not actually a part of the UK, just like the Isle of Man, which we covered in Season 1.  Today, Jersey has a population of just under 100,000, and a total land area of around 120 km2 or 45 sq mi, making it a similar size to the US island of Nantucket, or slightly smaller than our old friend Liechtenstein

While most residents speak English and identify as British, the proximity of Jersey and the other Channel islands to France has heavily influenced their culture and their history, and French is an official second language. Jersey also has its own local language, based on French, called Jèrriais.  The island was documented by the Romans, known to them as Caesarea, and was part of the Duchy of Normany until the early 13th Century, when it was reorganized and became a territory in its own right. By the end of the 15th century, Jersey was granted its own governor. An individual, now called the Lieutenant Governor, is today the personal representative of the Queen on the island. Jersey was the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by the Nazis during WW2, and was one of the last places in Europe to be liberated. 

Jersey has one of the highest numbers of cars per person in the world, and because of the historical popularity of Jersey wool, knitted sweaters came to be called jerseys, after the island, with the term first recorded in 1837. And yes, this island is the namesake of the US state of New Jersey. It’s been calculated that Jersey would fit 189 times into New Jersey – 95 times if the tide is out.

Location of Jersey (green) in Europe (dark grey)Flag of Bailiwick of Jersey

Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Dublin, Ireland, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Galway, Ireland. Our theme music and other stings come from Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella. Thanks to Luke Davis, a member of the Société Jersiaise, for speaking to us for this episode – you will hear clips from his interview throughout.

Some further reading material is provided below:

The Death of Major Pierson, by John Singleton Copley (Battle of Jersey)
The photo from the German occupation, which Luke Davis mentioned. [source]

Thanks to all our patrons who support the show. We really appreciate your continued backing of us. If you want to join them, more information is available at www.patreon.com/80dayspodcast

Minisode: Christmas Traditions Around the World

Audio: Christmas Traditions Around the World

In this festive episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be taking a look at some Christmas traditions from around the world that we’ve discovered. We’re also joined by a special guest or two, as you’ll hear early on in the podcast. Hopefully this episode provides some distraction from the world at large, and brings a bit of festive cheer. Merry Christmas from all of us at 80 Days.

Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Dublin, Ireland, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Galway, Ireland. Our theme music and other stings come from Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella. 

We’ve also just launched a merch store in associated with TeePublic. You can find our store by clicking here, with exclusive discounts at the time of publishing. 

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Mark and his new recording buddies.

Thanks to all our patrons who support the show. We really appreciate your continued backing of us. If you want to join them, more information is available at www.patreon.com/80dayspodcast

Paris Catacombs (S5.04)

Audio: Paris Catacombs

In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about Paris, or rather, what lies underneath it — The Paris Catacombs. What began as a network of mines beneath the city which spanned approximately 200 miles or 322 km soon morphed into something much more. A crisis in the 18th Century quite literally shook the foundations of the city, prompting the creation of an ossuary or network of catacombs beneath the city, which would go on to become home to generations of Parisien dead. Throughout the centuries, these catacombs have become a city beneath the city, and have been host to a number of wild and wonderful tales, including revolutions, occupations, secret cinemas and even heists. At this point, I’d normally tell you the population of the place we’re discussing, but we can only approximate for this one, and it’s possibly a record for this podcast — around six million, all of them (as far as we know) dead. 


Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Dublin, Ireland, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Galway, Ireland. Our theme music and other stings come from Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella. We also feature music in this episode from friend of the show Will Woods. 


Cimetière des Saints-Innocents in around 1550 (via Wikipedia)

  • Plenty of additional media, articles and other info is available on the official website of the Catacombs.
  • Also check out Erin-Marie Legacey’s invaluable book ‘Making Space for the Dead’ here.
  • There’s plenty more that we didn’t discuss on the Cemetary of the Holy Innocents, which can be found here.
  • The Independent has an extensive piece on The Stones of Paris, aka Lutetian Limestone.
  • Wikipedia has an extensive article on the Danse Macabre, used and discussed in this episode.
  • More on Mushrooms? Gastro Obscura has you covered.
  • For more on the use of the Catacombs during the resistance, see Nigel Perrin’s full blog post here.
  • The Guardian has a full article on the 2017 wine theft we discussed.
  • This old tourist brochure from Archive.org has some really great photos and maps.
  • A brilliant article in The New Yorker entitled “The Invisible City Beneath Paris” is available here.
  • William Fetridge’s “The Rise and Fall of the Paris Commune”, quoted in this episode, can be found in full here.
  • The BBC also has a full podcast episode of their own dedicated to the Catacombs.

Thanks to all our patrons who support the show. We really appreciate your continued backing of us. If you want to join them, more information is available at www.patreon.com/80dayspodcast

New Caledonia (S3.05)

New Caledonia Audio

In this episode we’ll be talking about the New Caledonia, a French unique collectivity in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, about 900 miles (1,500 km) east of Australia. It includes the island of New Caledonia, where the capital, Nouméa, is located; the Loyalty Islands; the Bélep Islands; and the Isle of Pines as well as a number of far-flung uninhabited islets.

The main island is by far the largest and contains about nine-tenths of the population. It is surrounded by a coral reef, which encloses a large number of lagoons. These lagoons, with their diverse reefs and associated ecosystems, were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. Sighted and named by Captain James Cook in 1774, it was later colonised by the French and turned into a penal colony.

New Caledonia has a land area of around 18,000 km2 (or 7,000 sq mi), making it just slightly smaller than Israel or the US state of New Jersey. Its population of around 270,000 consists mostly of a mix of Kanak people (the original inhabitants of New Caledonia), other Melanisians and people of European descent.

Your hosts are Luke Kelly in Hong Kong (@thelukejkelly), Joe Byrne in Bern, Switzerland (@anbeirneach), Mark Boyle in Surrey in the UK (@markboyle86) and our guest John Killeen (@johnkilleen90), who visited New Caledonia last year. Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle (@thatthomasfella)

Image result for new caledonia flag

Map of New Caledonia

Here are a few handy links for learning more about New Caledonia;

  • You can learn more about the New Caledonian upcoming independence referendum here on Wikipedia. The referendum is due to take place on November 4th, 2018, although according to a recent report by Radio New Zealand, support for independence is waning.
  • There’s a handy map of Captain Cook’s voyages around the world on Encyclopedia Britannica. He’s a man worth knowing about!
  • Here’s an image of the weird forked flagpole we described in this episode.
  • More info on the delicious-sounding New Caledonian dish Bougna can be found here.
  • The US government film used in this episode is entitled ‘Our Troops in New Caledonia’ and can be found on Archive.org
  • Find more on the ridiculously easy to hunt Kagu bird here.
  • You can view the photos that are described in this episode (courtesy of our friend John Killeen) below. None of John in the bath just yet, unfortunately.

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The music you heard in this episode was from the following sources;

A massive thanks to all of our patrons on Patreon who are supporting season 3. If you’d like to join them and see what rewards are available for supporters, and get a peek behind the curtain check out www.patreon.com/80dayspodcast. We really appreciate every penny!

Liechtenstein (S2.09)

S02E09 Liechtenstein Audio

In this episode of 80 Days: an exploration podcast,  we’ll be talking about Liechtenstein,  a tiny European principality, sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria that is still ruled by the same family since the early 18th century. In a small valley towards the beginning of the mighty Rhine river, it was frequented by the Romans and incorporated into the empire before that all went sideways and the Vandals earned their name. After passing through the infuential spheres of central Europe through the centuries they were eventually taken over by the Liechtenstein family in a bid to get more favor with the Austro-Hungarian Empire (which worked a treat as it happened.) They side-stepped the devastation of World War 2 and spent the latter half of the 20th century becoming a financial services powerhouse, while also making a surprisingly successful go of manufacturing – dentures and drills in particular. Builders drills. Not dentists drills. Though there’s a business plan in there somewhere.


Liechtenstein – strong contender for the nicest place we’ve profiled. Apologies to Liberia…

Your hosts are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Hong Kong, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Switzerland/Liechtenstein. (Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle)


In a break from our normal desktop research, we sent the intrepid Joe Byrne into the field with the savage Liechtensteiners to risk his life in doing some field research. Turns out it’s super safe and lovely. Who knew? Well you did if you listened in, as well as the chilled out nature of the locals and how normal it is to just run into some royalty if you live there.

Proof of Joe’s expedition below-


That’s Joe there, showcasing the Liechtenstein flag like a boss.

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Above are a selection of photos from Liechtenstein, including the Roman ruins and the bronze Celtic figurines discussed in the episode. More photos can be seen here.

Here are some HOTLINKS (guitar solo here) to give you all the extra background you apparently weren’t sufficed with in our mega-bumper podcast, you info-hungry maniac:

Some music associated with Liechtenstein:

Thanks to Sarah O’Farrell and Niall O’Leary for your support on Kickstarter and Sinéad Dowling who helped our man on the ground Joe Byrne with his visit and research. Thanks too to Martin Meier for a useful conversation and Donat Büchel, curator of the Liechtensteinische Landesmuseum for some assistance. Special thanks to students Julia and Sebbi from the Liechtensteinische Gymnasium (High School) for a long and informative interview – they make videos that can be found on YouTube.

Thanks too to our sponsor Hairy Baby, who in addition to making the funniest Irish-themed t-shirts, have also produced the official 80 Days shirt for our supporters. Find it by clicking here. You can get 10% off anything on www.hairybaby.com by using our promo code “80DAYS”.

Welcome to Hairy Baby: our Season 2 Sponsor

Hairy Baby Clothing CompanyWe are delighted to announce that Season 2 of 80 Days: an exploration podcast is being sponsored by Hairy Baby, the home of the funniest and most uniquely Irish t-shirts. The three of us enjoy their sense of humour, from Irish takes on iconic historical and pop-culture images to unique phrases from our childhood, so we’re very happy that they are supporting us. While Hairy Baby sell t-shirts (and mugs, among other things) and we produce a history podcast of small and often overlooked countries around the world, our missions are related – we both want to give creativity with an Irish accent a global reach. As 80 Days strives to tell the story of the whole world, one place at a time, Hairy Baby are launching a campaign to sell a t-shirt to every country in the world before St Patrick’s Day 2018 to celebrate their 10th birthday (The Round the World Challenge). We hope our loyal listeners, as far-flung as Brunei, Alaska, Panama and the Isle of Man, who have tuned in so far, can help them out as a thank-you for their assistance in making Season 2 possible.

Daragh Murphy, founder of Hairy Baby said;

“In the last three years alone we have exported our Irish humour Tees ‘n’ Things to over 70 countries, which is a reflection of how far and wide the Irish Diaspora has travelled. We believe the Irish have landed up everywhere so we thought it would be cool to highlight that fact by challenging ourselves to ship to every country in the world by Paddy’s Day 2018. When we were researching the challenge, we came across 80 Days and thought it was the perfect fit to compliment our own goal. Joe, Luke and Mark are typical of their generation and have a quality product in the 80 Days podcasts. We want to ship to every country in the world and the lads want to tell everyone about those them, especially the more unusual places.”

Hairy Baby will print the official 80 Days t-shirts for those who backed our recent Kickstarter campaign. You can also purchase our exclusive 80 Days t-shirt here throughout Season 2 and part of the proceeds will contribute to our costs this year. We have also secured a special 10% OFF coupon code on Hairy Baby for our listeners throughout Season 2. Use the Coupon Code “80days” on hairybaby.com and get 10% off anything your purchase.

Season 2 is going to be more detailed and better than what’s gone before thanks to the incredible support we’ve gotten through our Christmas Kickstarter Campaign. This has made it realistic to upgrade equipment, carry out some interviews with experts from a number of countries and even do some on-site recording for a few of the episodes. This wouldn’t have been possible without Hairy Baby and the dozens of listeners who chipped in. And you can still make a contribution if you purchase our exclusive 80 Days t-shirt during Season 2.

Season 2 is nearing the end of production and will be released before Easter 2017.

Listeners can look forward to stories from a wide range of places, including areas with heavy Irish links, like Newfoundland, to less familiar countries including the Gambia and Uruguay. We’re very excited.

General information: 80 Days: an exploration podcast is dedicated to exploring the history, geography and culture of little known countries, territories and cities from around the world. It is brought to you by three self-proclaimed history and geography nerds, Luke, Joe and Mark, broadcasting from Hong Kong, Switzerland and the UK, respectively. The podcast, details of how to subscribe and much more information about the places already explored in Season 1 can be found on www.80dayspodcast.com. Feedback, suggestions and comments are always welcome, no matter where in the world you come from.

Kickstarter Campaign fully funded… and then some!

We are delighted with the response we got to our Christmas Kickstarter Campaign! The drive closed today, and we raised 300% of our target, ending with over €1000 in support to help us make Season 2 of the podcast in the coming months. Thank you to all of our dedicated backers; a list of their names will appear on the site soon, and you will hear many of them thanked by name on-air in Season 2.

Kickstarter funding graph

We’re also very excited to announce that we will be welcome a season-long sponsor aboard for the next batch of ten countries – more details on that soon.

We want our listeners to be involved in making a great show, and were so happy to have so many people step up to make that happen. You can always get involved too, by letting us know what you think of the show, recommending locations, sending us unique trivia, leaving us a review on iTunes (or wherever you get your podcasts), sending us sounds from interesting places around the world, or even just telling a friend about the podcast.

Once more, thank you toall of our backers – you are making Season 2 possible.

Lapland or “Sápmi” (Christmas Special)

Christmas Special: Lapland audio

For the festive season, 80 Days brings you a Christmas special on the most appropriate place we could think of, complete with reindeer and Santa Claus: Lapland, or – as the native Sami people prefer to call it – Sápmi. This is a large region of Fennoscandanavia, north of the Arctic Circle, with its territory spanning parts of Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia (see map). This episode will touch on all areas of Lapland, but will focus primarily on the Finnish and Norwegian sides. The area is named for the indigenous people (and their specific language grouping), who have sparsely inhabited the region for several thousand years. 

In Lapland, winter lasts from early October to early May, with temperatures well below freezing throughout the region and up to 60 cm or 23 inches of snow during midwinter. However, in summer the sun does not set on the region for several weeks at a time.  Population has declined quite significantly since 1990, and the region is now home to approximately 180,000 people. Residents are spread across a total area of just over 100,000 square kilometers, or 38,000 square miles, and there are as many reindeer here as there are people. Your hosts are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach, in Hong Kong, the UK and Switzerland, respectively. (Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle)

File:Corrected Sapmi in Europe.PNGFile:Sami flag.svg

Some things you might like to know more about:

Toppkandidater Vesthavet valgkrets.jpg

File:Hram Sv Simeona Mirotočivog (Novi Beograd) 040.jpgFile:USMC-101208-M-8527P-077.jpg

  • A lot has been written about Lapland’s most famous resident and how he came to be here. Most of it is mysterious and people make some wild guesses (often not true), but here, in no particular order, are a few resources that might be useful about Santa Claus and his village near Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland. Who is St. Nicholas (about his early years in Myra); Andrea McDonald’s account of visitingHistory of Santa Claus (on the-north-pole.com), Santa Claus and His Works (New York Times piece describing the contributions of artist Thomas Nast to the image of Santa’s snowy abode); Head to Finnish Lapland… (a 2009 article in the Independent, including descriptions of Santa’s village); Checking Out Santa’s Workshop in Lapland (a 1988 article in the LA Times describing visiting Santa in Rovaniemi). For the more cynical, a stuffy article on postmodernism and Finnish tourism policy can be found here (for all the Scrooges out there!).
  • You can often watch people visiting Santa live (or look back at earlier recordings) at this website, which is wonderfully magic

We hope you have a happy Christmas and a wonderful new year and that you are looking forward to joining us for Season 2 in the coming months. As always, please get in touch if you are enjoying what you are hearing or have anything to share with us!


Find out about our Christmas Kickstarter campaign by clicking here. With your help we can make Season 2 even better than Season 1!