I’m so excited... It's a big beast of a show

This summer’s biggest stage production in Cork — Morrígan — is an exciting new Irish Opera created by composer and director John O’Brien, and librettist Éadaoin O’Donoghue, produced by O’Brien and Cork Opera House. Today, in My Weekend, Éadaoin O’ Donoghue features in our My Weekend.
I’m so excited... It's a big beast of a show

Éadaoin O' Donoghue who writes for theatre and opera. Her latest production is Morrígan, running at Cork Opera House.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I live in Cork City, and I write for Theatre and Opera. I am the youngest of four, and grew up on a farm in North Cork. All my siblings became engineers of different kinds and I think that was the hope for me.

However, mathematics and my brain were not exactly compatible. I had to work so hard to get my head around things. My sister and brother helped me, but I always had a stronger feeling for language and stories.

I was studying Language and Cultural studies in UCC and it was there that I got interested in Theatre. I was a terrible student academically, but I loved the immediacy and intensity of creating plays and sketches.

I trained as an actor but mostly, I write. I love the freedom of expression it gives me. I write plays, and recently started collaborating with John O’Brien in Opera.

John O'Brien, composer and director, who has collaborated with Éadaoin O' Donoghue for 
John O'Brien, composer and director, who has collaborated with Éadaoin O' Donoghue for 

 He is a composer and director. He writes the music and I write the words. Our next creation is an epic Opera called Morrígan which will be performed at Cork Opera House on July 28, 30 and 31. The Morrígan is the Goddess of death and fate in Irish mythology. She tells the audience the old story of Deirdre of the Sorrows from her point of view. I am so excited for people to see it. We have a massive cast of incredible singers and a world class orchestra. It’s a big beast of a show!

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

It depends on what’s happening. Cork Midsummer Festival took place recently and I loved seeing live performances and catching up with everyone afterwards for a few drinks. It’s been so wonderful to get back to that sense of community after the suspension of the last few years.

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

I am a total night owl. Lie ins, all the way.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Artists don’t have 9-5 lives. My work structure is different, and usually dictated by deadlines.

So weekends become a bit irrelevant. The work just needs to get done.

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

Singapore. It is a true melting pot of different cultures, and the cuisine is a reflection of that. I would bring my boyfriend and we would eat ourselves into oblivion.

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

I go to a spot about ten minutes outside the city. There is a beautiful bend in the river and it’s ideal for a dip. The colder the better! 

It saved my mind during lockdown. I love to go with friends and relax on the river bank. Instant bliss.

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

Depends on the week. I did a personality test recently and apparently, I am what is known as an ambivert.

I need equal amounts introversion and extraversion. Sometimes I am surrounded by people and just need some solitude. Sometimes, just the opposite.

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

I train in Aikido at the Dojo on Douglas Street. It’s an incredible martial art, especially for women.

No matter how tired or stressed out I am, I always feel so energised and empowered afterwards. 

I love the people who train there too. For two hours, the world melts away and we become warriors!

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

I like cooking for people, but in a very relaxed way. So, a simple, tasty meal like roast chicken would be my humble offering.

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

Nell’s on MacCurtain Street is just fabulous. Excellent wine and the best of local meat and vegetables.

Right across the road is Cafe Spresso. It’s such a pleasure there because it has a real ambiance and the owner Tomasz is a legend. The coffee is strong and the cakes are all homemade.

For lunch, the new White Rabbit or anywhere in The English Market. We are very lucky to have these places, aren’t we?

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

Late on Sunday is the best time to go to the cinema. These days, I notice people think it’s ok to be on their phones and have full volume conversations.

I become homicidal and it ruins the experience. An empty cinema is the way to go.

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

No day is alike, so I don’t have a fixed time to get up. Monday is like any other day. I don’t mind them. I think they get a bad wrap.

The philosopher Slavoj Zizek says “You don’t hate Mondays, you hate Capitalism”.

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