Working on putting finishing touches to I Wish

Ruth Buckley, one of the founders of I Wish, talks about her recent alumni award, marathon running and family
Working on putting finishing touches to I Wish
I Wish founders Caroline O'Driscoll, Ruth Buckley and Gillian Keating. Picture: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Tell us about yourself:

My name is Ruth Buckley and I am one of the founders of I Wish, a not for profit organisation which encourages young girls to consider careers in STEM. Each year the I Wish event offers these student an opportunity to meet stem role models and employers. This January, 2,000 students will experience I Wish in Cork City Hall and 3,000 in the RDS, Dublin.

By day, my occupation is Deputy Chief Executive of Cork City Council where I have responsibility for all of our ICT, Smart programme and Corporate reporting.

Where were you born?

I was born in Cork and grew up in Tower village outside Blarney. I studied Computer Science in UCC and was lucky to be one of few in my class not to emigrate when I graduated. I moved to Dublin to work as an analyst/programmer with Bank of Ireland.

Where do you live?

I now live in Montenotte in Cork.


I live with my husband Michael and three children, two girls and a boy.

Best friend?

I am lucky to have a small number of very close loyal friends but if I had to pick one, it’s my friend Valerie; every Sunday morning we run for an hour down the Marina. This is our sanity check and no matter how wet, dark or miserable we start out on that run, by the end of the hour, the world looks better. I run for my sanity, not just my vanity.

Earliest childhood memory?

My parents staying up all night making me a pair of wings for my part as an angel in the school nativity play, I think I was about five. I remember my father rigged my wings to flap when I pulled on a string. I had the best wings that day.

Person you most admire?

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy’s bold advocacy of the disadvantages throughout her life, and in particular her work with Focus Ireland, is one of the best examples of ethics-based leadership I am aware of.

Person who most irritates you?

That varies from day to day.

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

I’d love to see what Colm McCarthy the economist would do with the job.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

My most memorable holiday is from my early childhood. I recall the six of us falling asleep in a very large tent while my parents spent the night holding onto the frame of it during a fierce storm.

We woke to sunshine and a devastated campsite around us.

Favourite TV programme?

Inspector Montelbano.

Favourite radio show?

Marion Finucane on a Sunday at 11. I love the review of the Sunday papers. Her 2008 radio interview with Nuala O’Faolan shortly after she had been diagnosed with cancer was a master class in professionalism, courage and dignity.

Your signature dish if cooking?

Chicken and chorizo pasta bake.

Favourite restaurant?

The Barn in Glanmire — there is always a sence of occasion and it’s been the scene for many happy family occasions.

Last book you read?

The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye by David Lagercrantz — the main character, Lisbeth Salander, is an elusive, exceptionally talented hacker and mathematical genius. It’s a continuation of the Stieg Larsson 3 book series.

Best book you read?

The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The life-long positive impact that Aibileen has on her little three-year-old charge remains with me years later.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

Can’t remember. One of the Now CDs for the kids or running.

Favourite song?

Lovely Day by Bill Withers, I doubt anyone could resist singing along to that chorus.

One person you would like to see in concert?

Garth Brooks.

Do you have a pet?

Not that I know of.

Morning person or night owl?

Morning. I discovered when I used to write code that I could solve a problem in five minutes first thing in the morning that had completely defeated me for hours the previous night.

Your proudest moment?

That’s easy. Standing on stage in the Aula Maxima with Gillian Keating and Caroline O’Driscoll having received the alumni award from UCC for our work on I Wish, in front of our families.

Spendthrift or saver?

I go through periods of both. At the moment I’m a spendthrift.

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

I learned to swim at Mayfield Leisure centre when I was a kid. My kids all learned to swim there, I have trained there, I know the staff to see. You walk into a welcome and sense of belonging.

I’d love to see the centre get a major facelift so it could continue to be a positive influence on people in the area of all ages and backgrounds, particularly young people.

What makes you happy?

Watching the faces of the young girls at I Wish as they listen enthralled to the young women working in Arup or Dell EMC and seeing the penny drop.

Family get-togethers. Running with my 11 or 15 year old daughters. Brackens cream cakes. Finishing the half marathon in Cologne, I crossed the line with a big stupid grin on my face looking a sight. Running the Cobh 10 mile in the rain with my friend Ann and together cursing the hills. Hot water bottles.

How would you like to be remembered?

A giver more than a taker. A decent human being. A really good mother, partner, friend, sister, etc.

What else are you up to at the moment?

Working at nights and weekends to put the finishing touches to I Wish 2018 with our team.

* Ruth Buckley, is the Deputy Chief Executive, and Head of ICT & Business Services at Cork City Council, and Co-founder of I Wish

More about I Wish

The showcase I Wish events are taking place at Cork City Hall on Thursday and Friday, January 25/29, and in the RDS Dublin on Monday and Tuesday. January 29/30. The I Wish showcase, sponsored by Dell EMC VMware with conference sponsors Arup, are free to attend and it includes talks and demonstrations by women in STEM roles. A full line-up of speakers and exhibitors is available online, as well as online registration at

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