My Weekend: We love to see the audience, full of families and friends enjoying a great day out

Marguerite O’Connor, of the Songstress Music and Starlight Entertainment Cork, brings her Swing by the Lee series to Fota House and Gardens this month
My Weekend: We love to see the audience, full of families and friends enjoying a great day out

Marguerite O'Connor, of The Songstress Music and Starlight Entertainment Cork brings her Swing by the Lee series to Fota House and Gardens this month.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I was born and grew up in Cork city, with my fantastic family. My first hobbies were singing, dancing and also kicking a football, playing camogie and going to karate classes, and I still adore all things music and sport.

I have fond memories of my mother dropping me to the Montforts and my being hooked on all things entertainment, and loving the buzz of the stage and theatre.

I went to study at CIT after school to study business, and spent most of my college years working part time in Cork Opera House, which I loved, along with keeping up sports and music with the college. I have an MBA in Business, and work as a lecturer, which I adore. Teaching has always been a passion of mine, and is very rewarding.

I perform as The Songstress Music for weddings, occasions and events, and founded Starlight Entertainment Cork, which creates and manages professional, entertaining events for all.

I am also passionate about supporting charity and cofounded the Christmas Jingle annual fundraiser event with my mother, which is a concert giving proceeds to charities, where I bring together a huge list of performers, for what is always a fantastic, rewarding show.

I set up Swing in the Park in 2017 as an outdoor concert at Fitzgerald Park, and this has grown so much that it has become a concert series, Swing by the Lee, and is due to take place at Fota House and Gardens on September 11 and 12, so that has been the focus for the past few months and I am so excited. This is always a hugely enjoyable outdoor relaxed show and day out for everyone and it’s great to get to share the stage with many performers at least once a year when we’re all so busy, and we love to see the audience, full of families and friends enjoying a great day out. I feel very lucky to be able to work at my main passions in life.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

I love my nights in with a movie, or a cinema trip, and catch ups with family and friends. Cork has so much to offer in the form of the arts though, we’re usually found supporting each other at shows, gigs, or just enjoying a night out with dinner is always good. I have been getting a few weekend trips in as well these past few years with some gigs on hold, so that has been wonderful too. I have friends all over Ireland and across the world, so getting time to catch up with them is always a joy!

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

It varies to be honest, but usually late to bed and an early rise to enjoy the full day!

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

At times music and shows will, but, those are always fun to do anyway, and weekends are spent having quality time with family and friends, taking in day trips to the beach, or a walk or cycle.

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

I’m an avid traveller, and my favourites would be New York (would probably need more than a weekend there though). I also adore Florence, or anywhere in Italy.

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

I adore Inchydoney Beach, and recently stayed in Powerscourt Hotel which was amazing as well. We often pop to Charles Fort for beautiful views, and I really love the Montenotte Hotel for a coffee or bite overlooking the city. When in need of TLC, Escape Spa at the Imperial Hotel is also a firm favourite.

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

Always! We try to plan as many get togethers as possible, and do a lot of family trips and days out as well.

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

I played a lot of sports growing up and continue to support soccer, GAA and as many events as possible! I also like to do outdoor activities, watersports and enjoy listening to music, and baking.

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

A bit of both! Signature dish is a stir fry which isn’t too adventurous!

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

Luigi Malones is always nice for catch ups, and Ecos in Douglas is a long standing tradition, the Elm Tree if it’s out of the city, for coffee it’s usually the Kingsley by the water, or a pop in to The Imperial, Metropole, or Three Little Piggies.

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

Winding down with a movie maybe, and prepping for the week ahead for work usually, to make a head start on the Monday morning!

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

7am is the usual.

What else are you up to these days?

I am in full planning mode with wedding bookings for next summer, and also about to launch some exclusive Starlight Singalong movie events, which we set up in 2018 and are delighted to be able to get back to.

We have some exciting venues that we’ve partnered with, along with some fabulous Halloween and Christmas shows. Our website has just been launched and is found at www.starlightentertainment.ie, along with the social media pages at @starlightcork. All details will be published in the next two weeks.

The college term is also due to re-start, and I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing from the staff and students as well after the summer break, so that’s the priority for the coming months.

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