My Weekend: We are just like Santa's busy little elves preparing for The Polar Express to arrive in West Cork

Kim McNamara is manager at the West Cork Model Railway Village. She features in our My Weekend
My Weekend: We are just like Santa's busy little elves preparing for The Polar Express to arrive in West Cork

Kim McNamara, Manager at the West Cork Model Railway Village. Picture: Dermot Sullivan

TELL us about yourself:

I came back from England to Clonakilty in my early teens along with my two sisters and our parents (my dad was a Clon man) we were holidaying here every year before the move back so knew some familiar faces when we walked into the school on the first day!

I lived and worked in Cork city from leaving school till my mid 20s where I then travelled half the world working on cruise ships, returning back to Clonakilty in 1997.

My first day in the model village was on Valentine’s Day 1998 and I’ve loved the place ever since.

I started working in the ticket office first training to be a tour guide taking in all aspects of the running of the business including how to clean the train tracks.

I became manager in 2002 working with a great team and supportive board members.

How do you like to spend Friday nights?

Friday nights at the moment are taking up with preparation for the wonderful experience of The Polar Express, however finishing work and heading to Fiddlers Green pub for a few drinks by the fire with my partner and a few friends having the craic, followed by a takeaway or a bag of chips from the Rossa grill is on my to do list.

Lie ins or up with the lark?

If I’m not working a lie-in is a big treat, the model village is open 7 days, and the weekends are busy all year round.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Of course, the week doesn’t stop on a Friday they blend together. Here at the model village I do have a fantastic team who work really well together, and we are currently preparing for the Polar Express which is taking a lot of organising, we’re really excited to host it here for the first time and there’s a huge interest from the public for it.

Kim McNamara, Manager of West Cork Model Railway Village; Paul Hayes, Chair of Clonakilty’s Enterprise Board and Orla O’Donovan, Chair of Clonakilty Chamber. ‘The Polar Express’ an enchanting interactive indoor and outdoor Christmas family experience, embarks on its journey to West Cork Model Railway Village, Clonakilty Cork from November 27 to December 24. See modelvillage.ie/product/the-polar-express. Picture: Dermot Sullivan
Kim McNamara, Manager of West Cork Model Railway Village; Paul Hayes, Chair of Clonakilty’s Enterprise Board and Orla O’Donovan, Chair of Clonakilty Chamber. ‘The Polar Express’ an enchanting interactive indoor and outdoor Christmas family experience, embarks on its journey to West Cork Model Railway Village, Clonakilty Cork from November 27 to December 24. See modelvillage.ie/product/the-polar-express. Picture: Dermot Sullivan

If money was no object where would you go on a weekend break?

It maybe sounds a bit of a busman’s holiday but a trip on the Orient Express with my lovely partner, from London to Venice and or a few cities in-between.

Closer to home are there any beauty spots you like to enjoy?

Nothing beats West Cork to help recharge the batteries, there’s more than a few beauty spots within a 20-minute drive from Clonakilty and we’re spoilt for choice. 

I love having a coffee overlooking Galley Head viewing point after a walk on Owenahincha beach, not a bad spot to contemplate life.

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

I like to catch up with friends and family any time not just the weekends!

Do you get to indulge any hobbies?

Apart from a good book or movie I’m a member of the Clonakilty and District Lions Club and although we have been less active during Covid times we’re making plans going forward and always on the lookout for ways to raise funds and new members to help us in our fundraising for local and international charities.

Entertain or be entertained?

I love to be entertained - so good company with good food followed by a gig in De ’Barra’s = wonderful.

Where do you eat out in Cork?

We’re spoilt for choice, lunch in Scannell’s or a Pizza in La Jolie Brise, Baltimore.

Dinner in the wonderful Mirch Masala Indian restaurant in Clonakilty is a real treat.

How do you spend Sunday night?

Sunday is a day to go for a nice walk, cook a roast dinner and after relaxing start it’s also time to think about planning for the week ahead.

What time does your alarm go off?

It is set for 7.30 snooze.

Anything else you are up to right now?

We are in full Christmas mode, just like busy elves in Santa’s workshop we’re preparing for the Polar Express at the model village.

Tickets for the event are on sale on our web site modelvillage.ie and some dates have sold out. We’re delighted to be hosting a Christmas event again, it’s going to be a lot of fun!

See www.modelvillage.ie/product/the-polar-express

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