My Weekend: Saturdays are usually the busiest day of the week...

My Goodness is a vegan, gluten free food company located in the English Market, which remains open during the Covid-19 crisis. Here, founder Virginia O’Gara talks about the business and how life has changed in the current pandemic
My Weekend: Saturdays are usually the busiest day of the week...
Virginia O'Gara of My Goodness.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I grew up in TX, which I call the Cork of America. Texans are extremely proud of being The Lone Star State, similar to the way Cork folks feel about being The Rebel County.

It’s a big state, Cork is the biggest county, people think we talk funny, there’s loads of cows, and subsequently loads of cowboys. Also, much like Cork, Texans will go out of their way to be kind, and to make a person feel welcome.

I began working with a group called Food Not Bombs at age 14 in Dallas. This is where my interest in vegan food, combating food waste, and fighting poverty began. I was lucky enough to work with Food Not Bombs all over the US, Canada, Mexico, and Guatemala.

I moved to Ireland in 2006 to study Permaculture, the philosophy of sustainable design, in Kinsale. This is where I met my now husband, Donal O’Gara, and together with Fiona Gannon, we started My Goodness in 2014. The permaculture principles that we learned about in Kinsale, Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Shares are the foundation of our business ethos.

My Goodness is a vegan, gluten free food company located in the English Market. We celebrate Ireland’s greatest natural resource, rain, by making delicious probiotic drinks from it.

My friends back in Austin laugh about how only a Texan could sell rainwater to the Irish.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

An ideal Friday night would start with a few strange brews at The Bier Haus while the sun sets, and then we’d head on over to The Roundy for a show upstairs in Plugd. Glocke and Ahhhh would DJ, followed by Elaine Malone, Arthuritis, Crevice, Body Cam, Altered Hours, Leisureplex, and my favorite local band, Horse. Cork has some of the most creative, talented, and hardworking folks in the DIY music scene, we’re very lucky here.

Lie ins or up with the lark.. which is it for you?

Most days of the week I have to get up pretty early for work, so I take advantage of a good lie in whenever I can.

Virginia O'Gara of My Goodness.
Virginia O'Gara of My Goodness.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Oh man, what’s a weekend? Before lockdown, we’d be preparing on Friday for three markets on a Saturday. Donal worked in Douglas Farmers’ Market, I was in The Coal Quay Market, and Wayne Dunlea and Tara Hegarty worked in our two shops in The English Market. Saturday is our busiest day of the week, and often we’d spend Sunday recovering, and getting ready for Monday. Luckily I work with absolute legends, and I really enjoy the work that I get to do on the weekends. We’re all looking forward to getting back to the Farmers’ Markets.

If money was no object where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

If Covid-19 wasn’t a thing, and money was no object, the trip that I’d most enjoy right now would be to head on over to Washington DC to scream for a solid hour at The White House. It wouldn’t make any difference, but it sure would feel good. Who would I take with me? Bernie Sanders, Vanda Shiva, The ghost of Emma Goldman, and Shane McGowan. That would be amazing.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

Bosca Beatha is a hand made mobile sauna, built by the indomitable Shirley Fitzpatrick. Shirley finds the most beautiful places in Ireland to set up, like Gougane Barra, or Garrettstown Beach. For a small fee, you can relax in Shirley’s traditional cedar sauna all day next to a natural plunge pool. People will bring tea, music, and food, and relax.

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

I like to ring my dad in Dallas once a week. He worries about us over here trying to make a living on sauerkraut and fermented rainwater. He just learned how to video chat on Whats App, so he’s happy to see that we’re doing well, and that we’re not starving to death from eating only vegan food.

Do you get to indulge any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

I love playing Scrabble, and the fine art of Canine Costumery. I excel in creating outfits for our three dogs, two Terriers, and a Collie, inspired by cinema. Some winning numbers have been ‘Apawcalypse Now’, ‘Bark to the Future’, and ‘Indiana Bones, and the Raiders of the Lost Bark’.

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter do you have a signature dish?

I love a good potluck, where everyone brings a dish to share at a party. I think potlucks work best with a theme. My friend James McBarron brought ‘Mexican Mashed Potatoes’ to my first Irish potluck, it was surprisingly delicious. Once I hosted a sushi potluck where everyone brought various ingredients for sushi rolls, some of the items included chocolate chips and fortified wine, that was less than delicious.

We have so many places to eat out in Cork - where are your go to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meal?

Coffee: Filter and Soma Vegan Breakfast: Bia Blasta, 143 V
Lunch: Liberty Grill, Koto, Iyer’s, Maki Sushi
Dinner: Paradiso, Yuan Ming Yuan, Sakura

Sunday night comes around too fast.. how do you normally spend it?

I love winding down on a Sunday with delicious food, a fire, and the drag queens on RuPaul’s DragRace.

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday?

The alarm usually goes off at 7, and then I hit snooze at 10 minute intervals for 30 minutes, much to Donal’s chagrin.

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