My job role is quite diverse, which I find most appealing and allows me to combine working outdoors in an educational setting.
I have been fortunate to witness the park’s development and growth over the last 23 years and am equally as excited about what the future holds for the park!
In the Bon Secours hospital in Cork city in 1970. Coincidentally, some years later I ended up in Scoil Mhuire in Cork city with two others born in the Bons around the same time. All three of us have remained good friends to this day! Fall-outs generally tended to happen when a consensus couldn’t be reached in relation to which night we celebrated all three birthdays! Maturity has since eradicated that problem — we are just glad to see another year!
In Whitegate in East Cork, which thankfully allows me to avoid the stress of traffic jams on my way to work — most of the time!
I am married to Andrew and I have two daughters, Ava and Clara! Fortunately my two siblings, Niall and Nicola, also live in Cork.
My husband Andrew is without doubt my “wingman”. However, my brother and sister are great support systems! My brother Niall and I speak daily and he is an amazing friend, even if he does spend a lot of the time slagging me off! However, I wouldn’t have it any other way at this stage in my life! Nicola is always great for advice as well and I am very fortunate to have all three of them in my life!
That involves a small family terrier named Monty! According to my parents, he acted as my bodyguard from the minute I arrived home from the hospital. Over the years he proved to be a dependable and loyal play companion and didn’t appear to mind being cast in various roles on a daily basis! My mum was an avid wildlife enthusiast and did her utmost to ensure that animals were an integral part of our childhood experiences!
Without wanting to offend anyone, I will refer to the person whom I admire on a professional level rather than on a personal level! The person I admire the most within the field of zoological research has to be Dian Fossey. Her pioneering research allowed for a greater understanding of gorilla ecology and behaviour and very much transformed people’s perception of the species.
Drivers who think that indicators are surplus to requirement (husband included)!
Anyone who possesses the foresight and ability to eradicate excessive taxation in this country!
I have been fortunate to travel to some beautiful locations over the last 20 years. However, last year my family and I spent a weekend glamping in Dromquinna Manor in Kenmare. The location is breathtaking and it is a fabulous location to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life! It is definitely a location that is worth a second visit! All too often we overlook the natural beauty that Ireland has to offer.
I rarely watch TV to be honest, but anything associated with David Attenborough is always a reason to sit down! However, I am partial to the oddbut I probably shouldn’t advertise the fact!!
Gareth O’Callaghan on 4FM! Treasures from the past that we can all relate to and he possesses one of the most melodic voices in radio that can keep one enthralled for hours!
I think nothing beats a Sunday roast with all of the trimmings! Sadly, my cooking skills leave a lot to be desired but my family and friends have survived without any serious repercussions to date!
Luckily, I am spoilt for choice by living in East Cork. Murph’s Tavern in East Ferry serves amazing food and the view from the restaurant is breathtaking to say the least!
The Farmgate in Midleton is also on my “favourites” list and is a must for special occasions!
Likewise, The Greenroom in Midleton offers great food in a relaxed atmosphere!
I am currently reading. I have a keen interest in folklore surrounding native flora and fauna. I am hoping to host a Folklore weekend in Fota this summer and am doing my utmost to gain knowledge on the topic! If anyone is keen to get involved please let me know!
by E. O. Wilson. This book highlights the precarious state of our environment and, sadly, the mass extinctions occurring in our lifetime. However, it’s not all doom and gloom and the book does spell out a specific plan to save our world while there is still time. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the field of conservation.
Pink — I have to keep up with the times bearing in mind that my two teenage daughters play music incessantly at a rather worrying volume!
by Bryan Adams — a throwback to rugby discos in venues such as Con and Dolphin in the ’80s! Fabulous memories of when youth was on my side!
I wish I had seen The Eagles when they came to Dublin some years ago. I have been fortunate to see many of the original members of the band individually but not together. Guess that ship has sailed now… sadly.
I have an array of pets, seven in total including cats, dogs and a much loved pony! I couldn’t imagine not having a pet at home — unconditional love at its best!
Definitely, I am a morning person these days, but for many years I was a confirmed night owl, particularly during my college years when I worked in the fast food business!
Receiving an Honorary MSc from UCC in 2011 was a very proud moment on my behalf in recognition of my contribution to Biodiversity conservation education.
Of course, there are many more directly related to family life but I wouldn’t want to bore your readers.
A bit of both, unfortunately! Despite working in the great outdoors, I have a Zara obsession and An Post will pay testament to this, although I have to stress that a lot of items are returned (too small, sadly)! Working in a wildlife park does not always lend itself to wearing the latest trends but I try my best to be fashion forward even if it’s only for the odd day in the year!
The intermittent bus service.
Overall, anything associated with family life makes me happy. Having animals as part of that family life adds to the enjoyment.
I consider myself to be extremely fortunate and I constantly remind my own children to be grateful for what they have!
Hmmm, this is a hard one and I have to be realistic! I hope to be remembered as someone who has lived her life with integrity and was a loyal and reliable individual. My colleagues and friends will probably have their own suggestions!
As spring approaches, it signals a return to classes on a full-time basis and the start of the busy season for the park. Plans are already underway for our forthcoming children’s’ activity camps which we are hosting at Easter and during the summer holidays in July. The camps are a great opportunity to encourage outdoor exploration in a very unique setting. I am a great believer in the Persil motto — “Every child has the right to get dirty”!
Fota Wildlife Park’s award-winning education centre can host more than 350 students per day through its formal education programmes, which are catered to both primary and secondary schools. Close to 15,500 students pass through the gates every year and the education programmes and guided school tours make it one of the biggest educational tour providers in Ireland.
Bookings are now open for the annual Easter Activity Camps (April 4 to 6) email email@example.com for more information.