My Weekend: I've always believed individuals should help grow and develop their own community

Liam O'Connor talks about his volunteer work in the community, love of gardening and marathon running
My Weekend: I've always believed individuals should help grow and develop their own community
Liam O'Connor. Carrigaline Tidy Towns Chairman

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I grew up in a small village in west Limerick called Carrigkerry. Growing up on the farm involved milking cows in the morning and evening, going to the mart, hay and silage making during the summer, to name a few.

Farm life is a tough vocation and although enjoyable I knew from an early age that the world of science and technology was for me.

Fast forward a few years, I am now living in Carrigaline, and I work as a scientist in Janssen, a Johnson and Johnson biological pharmaceutical company in Ringaskiddy.

I like to participate in the community. I am chairperson of the Carrigaline Tidy Towns, I am a member of the Carrigaline Community Association, and I am also a member of the Carrigaline District Lions Club.

I have had an interest in politics since I was young and I have always believed that individuals should become actively involved in the growth and development of their own community. It is my intention to get more actively involved in politics over the next number of years.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

Depending on the time of the year my Friday nights vary quite a bit. During the spring and summer months our Tidy Towns team are at their busiest, working on various projects around the town in preparation for the National Tidy Towns judging.

Outside of this I enjoy the cinema, an Indian/Chinese meal, heading into town, or entertaining friends. I have been known to hold a house party or two.

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

Up with lark — I am usually at work at 7.30am and this habit usually rolls into the weekend too. I find that I am most productive in the morning.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Generally it doesn’t; however, working in a pharmaceutical company that is open 24/7 there is always the possibility of being called upon to help resolve an issue. I do have a healthy work/life balance and I spend my free time doing the things I enjoy (primarily Tidy Towns for the majority of the year).

Liam O'Connor, Chairman Carrigaline Tidy Towns, with fellow volunteers.
Liam O'Connor, Chairman Carrigaline Tidy Towns, with fellow volunteers.

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

Cairo — most definitely, Cairo. I have been to Egypt twice but due to the unrest each time, I didn’t make it to Cairo. I would love to organise a tour, fill it with friends, and visit all the major historical sites around the city whilst enjoying Middle Eastern cuisine.

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

From where I live in Forrest Hill there is a beautiful 10-mile round trip walkway along the estuary to the middle of Crosshaven village. Alternatively, Myrtleville beach is only five minutes from the house. Both of these are great ways to recharge the batteries anytime of the year.

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

I go home to west Limerick every few weeks to visit family and friends, and catch up on local gossip. If staying in Carrigaline, I enjoy a gathering with my friends, either heading out or having some food and drinks in the house.

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

Gardening take up a lot of my free time and is possibly my biggest hobby. Some people have equated my garden to an Amazon rainforest, although I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. I also have an interest in keeping fit, having run many half marathons around the country. I enjoy climbing mountains and I recently took up stained-glass making as a new hobby.

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

I enjoy both, but being entertained is far more enjoyable; I’ll bring the wine!

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

This depends on how far I venture. In Carrigaline, Hassetts, The Bean and Leaf, or the Carrigaline Court Hotel are great for coffee or a tasty lunch. For a special meal, I am partial to a good Indian, and the Spice restaurant in Carrigaline never disappoints. My favourite place in the city has always been Il Padrino, a great Italian restaurant.

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

You can’t beat a nice relaxing Sunday evening on the couch watching a good movie.

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

6.45 am — usually up and active by 7am. I have a short drive into work where the day must start with a good coffee. Then off we go again…

n Tidy Towns information:

Carrigaline Tidy Towns is always looking for new volunteers. The group meets at 10.30am in the Owenabue carpark each Saturday morning all year round and at 7pm each evening during the summer months. They can be contacted on their Facebook page Carrigaline Tidy Towns, at carrigalinett@gmail.com, or on 087 7817857.

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