Cork City Children's Book Festival moves online and anyone can take part!

As Cork Children’s Book Festival runs this month, we catch up with Thomas Ryan, Executive Librarian (Acting), Children’s and Young People’s Services, Cork City Libraries
Cork City Children's Book Festival moves online and anyone can take part!

Thomas Ryan Executive Librarian (Acting), Children’s & Young People’s Services Cork City Libraries.

TELL us about yourself;

I’m the Executive Librarian for Children’s and Young People’s Services with Cork City Libraries. I also work in Blarney library. I’m originally from a farming background.

I’m a Tipperary blow-in but Cork has been very good to me; I attended UCC, met my wife here, and have a career that I love with the City Libraries.

Where were you born?

Near Holycross, Co. Tipperary.

Where do you live?

Ballincollig, Co. Cork.


I’ve a wife and a three and half month old baby daughter.

Best friend?

My wife!

Earliest childhood memory?

A funny one is a memory of my father trying to bring me to visit Bunratty Castle in Clare; I rigidly refused to get in the car, even though I loved castles, because I heard of or saw a picture of cannon there (they are indeed there – strictly for show!) and I was fearful of being killed!

Person you most admire?

My mother. She suffered from multiple sclerosis most of her adult life and was quite unwell before she passed away but her toughness — she raised three children despite her illness — and persistent positivity remain inspirational. She never felt an ounce of self-pity and just got on with things.

Person who most irritates you?

A number of Irish politicians in power during and just before the economic crash ten years ago fit the bill.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

I had a wonderful week in Portugal last year. I’d never been before, perhaps because I’d associated the country, quite unjustly as it turns out, with resort-based package holidays. I stayed a few days in Lisbon and then took a train to Porto. Porto in particular was a revelation, with a stunning town centre and a rich foodie heritage, famously seen in its Port wine tradition.

Favourite TV programme?

Until the calamitous 8th and final season, I was addicted to Game of Thrones like so many others.

Now it would be The Boys on Amazon prime and Succession on Sky Atlantic.

Favourite radio show?

The Last Word with Matt Cooper.

Your signature dish if cooking?

I make a mean lasagne or moussaka. Depending on the time of year, for dessert I’d make a blackberry and apple crumble but with pretentious-sounding home orchard grown organic apples and foraged blackberries!

Favourite restaurant?

Chapter One in Dublin, and in Cork Flemings, Sliced in Ballincollig or the Raj Gaylord out by Kerrypike.

Last book you read?

The Children of Ash and Elm: a history of the Vikings by Neil Price.

Best book you read?

Anything by Evelyn Waugh. His work is a delight, often riotous and far funnier than the stuffy image might suggest. It saddens me to think that I’ve read almost everything he ever wrote, but because he passed away long ago that is that.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

Muse, Simulation Theory.

Favourite song?

At the moment Blinding Lights by The Weeknd.

One person you would like to see in concert?


Do you have a pet?


Morning person or night owl?


Your proudest moment?

Winning an award for history in college.

Spendthrift or saver?


What makes you happy?

My baby daughter’s smiles.

How would you like to be remembered?

As someone who was honest, worked hard, and was loyal to friends and family.

What else are you up to at the moment?

As part of my role for Cork City Libraries I’m busy organising our October Children’s Book Festival. Because of the pandemic, it is an online only festival this year. However, we have a fantastic line-up of authors, creative people, and even a series of presentations on living history.

These can all be viewed through the children’s pages of our website at

One advantage of this online only format is the potential for more accessibility; literally anyone can view our content from the comfort of their own home, for the whole month of October.

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