Cork Choral Festival is a major celebration in our household - we were kind of born into it!

 Aoife Osbourne has been volunteering with Cork International Choral Festival from a young age. It’s a major celebration in the Osbourne household. The Festival got underway this week and runs until May 1
Cork Choral Festival is a major celebration in our household - we were kind of born into it!

Aoife Osbourne has been volunteering with Cork International Choral Festival from a young age

TELL us about yourself;

I’m Aoife, 23 and just finishing my undergraduate degree in UCC, where I studied English. I’ve been a part of the Cork International Choral Festival since my early childhood - my mum started working with the Festival when she was about 18 so myself and my brother were kind of born into it. 

It’s a major celebration in our house! I started working with the Front of House Team, first selling programmes and then stewarding, but in 2018 I also worked as a Festival Intern in the office which was an amazing experience. 

This year I’m super excited to be coming back to an in-person Festival as the Box Office Coordinator.

Where were you born?

Just a short walk away from my Nan’s house in St Finbar’s Hospital - made it quite handy for her to visit her first grandchild!

Where do you live?

I live in Blarney, just up the road from the castle - which may explain my inability to know when to shut up! I come from a farming background so I’ve grown up surrounded by fields, hills, trees - it’s quite lovely actually.


There’s my parents, and my little brother (though he is considerably taller than me). Choral really is a family affair for us - my brother works on the Stage Management team and my mum is the Steward Coordinator. Dad normally spends the Festival weekend keeping up with farm work but slots in where he can!

Best friend?

There’s no way I could pick just one - I’m so lucky to have so many friends and singling out even a handful of them feels wrong. I will say that during my time in UCC, I’ve maintained relationships with old friends where possible but I’ve met some truly incredible people in my course and through my work with UCC Societies and Student Media. My boyfriend definitely comes into the mix there too - he’s always down for a laugh and some sort of adventure!

Earliest childhood memory?

I think I was about 3, and I met my older cousin Rebecca and her dad in the local shop. She’d just gotten one of those Brunch ice creams, so because I wanted to be like her I kicked up a fuss until I got one too. Fast forward about 20 minutes and I was bored of the ice cream and it started melting down my dress and into the car…still feel a slight twinge of panic when I see a Brunch ice cream!

Person you most admire? 

It definitely changes depending on what I’m reading, watching, listening to - I’m currently obsessed with a musical called Come From Away which is based on a true story set in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. One of the characters it features is of Beverly Bass, who was the first female American captain for a commercial airline. Something about the #GirlBoss energy of that really speaks to me!

Person who most irritates you?

Honestly, probably myself most of the time! Particularly with Final Year, I jump between either working really hard and then burning out, or procrastinating and then ending up with too much work. Sometimes I wish I could just kickstart my brain to work when I need and want it to.

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

My mum, for sure - I’ve never seen anyone so brilliant with a balance sheet and she’s incredibly thrifty so I would 100% trust her to prioritise and spend wisely. If anyone could allocate funds accurately, it’s her!

Where was your most memorable holiday?

Last September, my boyfriend Jack took me to this tiny little village in France called Ruminghem for my birthday. He somehow found this little woodland chalet half an hour away from a railway stop. There was a fantastic proper French bakery, and a shop that was a grocery store by day and a pub/restaurant by night. 

It was unbelievably peaceful and idyllic, the kind of thing you expect to see but never think you actually will. 

We also took a trip to the largest aquarium in Europe and then hopped back through London where we saw Come From Away. Amazingly, we saw it on the eve of the 20th Anniversary of 9/11; it’s such a moving story anyway, but it was all the more special and poignant for that.

Favourite TV programme?

It’s got to be Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - it’s a few years old at this stage but it’s just brilliant. By turns it is hilarious, intelligent, emotional - it combines mental health and feminism with parodies of musical theatre and pop songs. Absolute creative genius!

Favourite radio show?

I’m not much of a radio listener, but I do enjoy The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe of a Sunday morning - I think it’s testament to the quality of the arts scene in Cork that there’s always something new going on.

Your signature dish if cooking?

I’m actually a massive foodie, but I like recipes that are quick and relatively cheap - I’m a big believer in raiding clearance sections in supermarkets! If I was picking my signature dish though, I love sea bass with sesame glaze and pineapple fried rice. It’s always a happy moment when I spot sea bass on offer because then I know exactly what I’m cooking for dinner!

Favourite restaurant?

This is almost impossible, there’s so many amazing food spots in Cork. I absolutely adore Cafe Izz or the Quay Co-op for something lighter or for lunchtime, but if I’m celebrating then I love Paradiso or Cask. I’ve also recently been introduced to Sicilian Delights, which is ideal if I need a little bit of a study break when I’m at college!

Last book you read?

A friend of mine gifted me a copy of The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting by Evanna Lynch. She’s best known for playing Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter film series so I’ve admired her since my early teen years but her memoir is just stunning.

I can’t remember the last time I devoured a book so quickly. 

It’s definitely not for the faint of heart (trigger warning for eating disorders and mental health, I bawled my way through the first half) but reading it was a wonderful combination of grief, pride and compassion.

Aoife Osbourne has been volunteering with Cork International Choral Festival from a young age
Aoife Osbourne has been volunteering with Cork International Choral Festival from a young age

Best book you read?

There’s a YA novel by Janet Nelson called I’ll Give You The Sun which has been a favourite of mine since I was 17. It’s got elements of mystery, romance and humour but it’s also very artsy and quirky. Such a unique style of novel, I’ve never read anything quite like it. Bonus points for LGBTQ+ representation also!

Last album/CD/download you bought?

I really like the Encanto soundtrack at the moment - I’m such a Disney geek anyway and I love Lin-Manual Miranda’s work. The summer vibes and Latin feel to the soundtrack is just an instant mood booster on a rainy day.

Favourite song?

Not sure I have a favourite but currently my top track is I Bet You Think About Me by Taylor Swift. I know, a bit cliche for a female twenty-something but I’ve loved Taylor since I was quite young and I admire how her music seems to grow with her to reflect where she is in her life.

Do you have a pet?

We have two dogs in our household, both rescues, Belle (springer spaniel) and Clover (sheepdog) but I also have a dwarf hamster called Mionla, which means ‘forget-me-not.’ She’s also a rescue and is affectionately known as ‘squishy baba’ for her ability to stockpile her cheeks with food.

Morning person or night owl?

Night owl, for sure. I’m famously not good with mornings until I’ve had my coffee!

Your proudest moment?

This week, I finished my last week of lectures in UCC. It feels like it’s been such a long time coming and with several challenges along the way (personal, professional, academic and of course, COVID) it’s so surreal to think it’s finally here, but I’m also just so proud that I’ve come this far and am so close to getting an actual degree.

Spendthrift or saver?

Depends on the situation! When it comes to food I like to treat myself so I don’t mind splurging a bit but I’m a fan of secondhand and vintage shops for clothes. 

As for saving, I’m working towards a Masters programme at the moment so I’m trying to mind my monies for that but it’s easier said than done for sure!

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

Better mental health services, particularly for children and adolescents. It just makes sense to me that if young people learn coping skills earlier, they are better equipped to cope with mental health and less likely to need emergency help later on which would improve the pressure on adult mental health services - doesn’t seem like rocket science!

What makes you happy?

Weirdly I’m actually happiest when I’m working and when I’m busy. I’m always up for a new challenge and because I’ve been lucky enough to have some great opportunities particularly over the last year, it’s really satisfying to see the finished result of a project - be that a newspaper, an event or even just an essay, that feeling of achievement is unbeatable.

How would you like to be remembered?

I think as someone who persevered and never gave up - the phrase ‘nevertheless, she persisted’ has always been something I’ve focused on.

What else are you up to at the moment?

So once the Festival is over, it’s straight into my final exams. After that, I’m hoping to spend the summer writing more - I’ve just won the Eoin Murray Scholarship for Creative Writing which is a huge honour so I can’t wait to get stuck into my writing projects. In September, I’m moving to Belfast for a year to complete an MA in Arts Management at Queen’s. All in all, exciting times ahead!

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