Working to give Cork City a greener GLOW

Mary Walsh, Cork City Council’s Environmental Awareness Officer, who helped to ‘green up’ GLOW.
Working to give Cork City a greener GLOW
Mary Walsh, Cork City Council’s Environmental Awareness Officer who is responsible for the Greening of GLOW.

Mary Walsh, Cork City Council’s Environmental Awareness Officer, who helped to ‘green up’ GLOW.

Tell us about yourself;

I am Cork City Council’s Environmental Awareness Officer, recently moved to the Community, Culture and Placemaking Directorate.

I am responsible for implementing environmental initiatives in the council and dealing with communities and stakeholders who are interested in environmental issues.

At the moment, a lot of effort is being put into the ‘Greening’ of the GLOW Christmas festival on the Grand Parade, which runs every weekend until Sunday, December 22.

Since 2016, GLOW has moved to being a zero landfill festival with all waste arising at the event either being recycled or composted and no waste going to landfill.

This initiative has required huge effort from the festival organisers, Cork City Council’s cleansing staff and the festival’s market and food traders.

All food sold at the festival is supplied in compostable packaging, which can then be placed in the food waste bins provided on site and is sent for composting.

The Glow Elves are on site for the duration of the festival to help people to choose the right bin and to give information on the ‘Greening’ initiative.

Where were you born?


Where do you live?



Husband (Pat) and two daughters (Emer and Niamh).

Earliest childhood memory?

Going for a cycle on Christmas Day with my sisters and brother and getting bitten by a dog! It turned me off bikes and dogs for a lot of my childhood.

Person you most admire?

My friend Mary. who has successfully battled through illness and in July of this year cycled 600km from Mizen to Malin with her friend Mark to raise more than €50,000 for their two charities, Breast Cancer Ireland and Spinal Injuries Ireland — a true inspiration.

Person who most irritates you?

Has to be Donald.

Who would you like to see as Minister for Finance and why?

My sister Patsi who is an accountant and always a good person to be in charge of the purse strings — also, the devil you know...

Where was your most memorable holiday?

A week in New York last year for Thanksgiving with my sisters and their families — a holiday of a lifetime.

Favourite restaurant?

Granvilles in Macroom.

Last book you read?

When All Is Said by Anne Griffin.

Best book you read?

Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austin.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

Western Stars by Bruce Springsteen.

Do you have a pet?

Yes, a west highland terrier — Charlie.

Morning person or night owl?


Spendthrift or saver?

Mainly spendthrift.

Name one thing you would improve in your area in which you live?

I’m lucky to live in a great community with many great facilities and clubs and fantastic people who volunteer and go the extra mile to make things happen.

The area, however, needs infrastructural investment in terms of roads, water and a new secondary school.

What makes you happy?

Spending time with family and friends, gardening and standing on the sidelines, shouting for my local GAA and camogie club, Aghabullogue.

What else are you up to at the moment?

I am responsible for the operation of the Old Cork Waterworks Experience (Lifetime Lab) and we are beginning to plan next year’s Carnival of Science in Fitzgerald Park on June 13 and 14, 2020.

The event, which will coincide with Cruinniú na nOg, is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and will see the transformation of Fitzgerald Park into a STEM engagement wonderland.

The two day event will feature more than 100 exhibitors offering non-stop, family-friendly experiments, interactive activities, games, street cuisine and a packed line-up of live entertainment. It takes a while to organise an event of this scale and planning is underway already for what promises to be a great event.


Organised by Cork City Council, GLOW runs until Sunday December 22.

Visit Bishop Lucey Park, which is magically transformed by Cork puppet specialists Dowtcha Puppets into the National Elf Test (NET), which all elves must pass to be part of the Christmas team.

Enjoy festive entertainment and cuisine at the Christmas Market on the Grand Parade.

Soar high above Cork on a 30 metre Ferris wheel and enjoy amazing views of the city.


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