My Weekend: 'This crisis is stealing time we should be spending with my mother...'

Clare O’Sullivan is the Communications Manager at The Everyman and is also on the board of the Blackwater Artist Group.
My Weekend: 'This crisis is stealing time we should be spending with my mother...'
Clare O'Sullivan, Everyman Theatre, Cork Picture: Miki Barlok

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I’ve worked in the arts for most of my career. Back in the 1980s, following a degree in Fine Art from Crawford College of Art and Design, I moved to London where I obtained a Masters in Fine Art from the Chelsea School of Art, and then an Arts Management degree from Birkbeck College. I feel very lucky to be in a sector where colleagues are genuinely engaged with their work; this was my experience during my time at the Hayward Gallery in London; back in Ireland, at the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork Printmakers, West Cork Music, Cork Harbour Festival and now The Everyman where I work as the Communications Manager. I am also on the Board of Backwater Artists Group, a vibrant artist’s studio facility in the heart of Cork City.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

Friday nights are for winding down. In the cold weather this means curling up on the couch with a glass of wine and a book. In the summer, my husband Noel and myself will sit in the sunroom or outside in the garden with a glass of wine close by. Thankfully we both prefer solitude over a crowded pub.

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

My busy mind never allows me to lie in. I’m usually up before 9am at weekends. Saturday mornings usually mean the weekly trip into Midleton Farmers Market. It’s one of the best farmers markets around and a very enjoyable and sociable way of doing our food shop. Also, it’s good to know we are doing our bit to support local producers.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

I try not to let work creep into my weekend, but I fail miserably. I do get annoyed with myself as I really believe we all deserve to give ourselves the space to just be. But, when work involves digital marketing it is too easy to check in, and we are all so addicted to our devices. It’s a bad habit that I still need to break. If anyone has any tips?

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

If money was no object, I would still choose a trip to London. But I’d spread the money to allow monthly trips, then I’d be sure to never miss an exhibition or theatre show. Whenever I head to London, I always visit my favourite paintings in the National Gallery and stroll around one of the many great markets. I lived in London for 17 years and made lifelong friendships and have so many wonderful memories from my time there.

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

Since moving back to East Cork my go-to place is Ballycotton Cliff Walk. Of course, the walk is now out of bounds as it is a narrow path and impossible to social distance while walking on it. When I lived in West Cork the Drimoleague Walkways was my haven. Still a bit of a hidden gem, you can opt for riverside or hill walks; one brings you up to a place called ‘George the Sky’ and you really are up with the clouds.

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

I am one of a big family; my parents had three sons and then three daughters. My father died when I was young so my mother is a huge part of my life. The current Covid-19 crisis is so difficult for everyone. My mother decided to go into self-isolation a week ago. I feel this crisis is stealing time we should be spending with her.

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

My hobbies are varied. I love to garden. I do believe there is such a thing as gardening meditation. I love walking, photography and I love driving my classic car, an Austin Healey Sprite.

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

I usually cook great big pasta dishes or a giant salad with lots of olive oil. I don’t bake because if you bake it you have to eat it, and when you bake you can see all the butter and sugar that normally goes in.

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

At work, I usually take my lunch at Crust, a café new to MacCurtain Street. They do great sandwiches and coffee and it’s run by lovely people, Jim and his team. My local pub restaurant is The Tavern in East Ferry. The food is excellent. I look forward to a celebration meal there when we are out the other end of this awful pandemic.

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

Usually returning from a day out walking or visiting family and friends and getting myself ready for another busy week ahead at The Everyman.

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

On weekdays my alarm goes off at 7.30am. My morning routine has changed since The Everyman closed its doors in response to the need for social distancing. Most of the team are now working from home so instead of running for the train, I take a loop walk to work, which is back to the kitchen table and my laptop and mobile.

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