Colourful hair, a colourful wardrobe, and colourful language... that's how I want to be remembered

Sorcha O’Brien, who lives in Greenmount, is the new Communications Officer at Nano Nagle Place. She shares her childhood memories, likes and loves...
Colourful hair, a colourful wardrobe, and colourful language... that's how I want to be remembered

Sorcha O'Brien, who works at Nano Nagle Place.

Tell us about yourself;

Hi, my name is Sorcha O’Brien, I’m 28 and I live in Cork city.

I studied English Literature and History of Art in University College Cork, receiving a First Class Hons in both subjects.

After finishing my Bachelors degree, I moved to the Netherlands to study in Maastricht University, pursuing a degree in Arts & Heritage; Culture, Policy and Management.

Upon completing my Masters in 2018, I enrolled in a Digital Marketing certificate in Munster Technical University. I got the job as Learning & Outreach Officer of Nano Nagle Place in 2019 and I’ve recently been promoted to Communications Manager.

Where were you born?

I was born in Manchester in the UK, but we moved to Cork when I was five years old, so I consider myself a #PureCork gal.

Where do you live?

I live in Greenmount by the Lough, one of the older neighbourhoods in Cork city, it’s great as I can walk to work in 10 minutes and we’re super close to the city centre. We try to avail of that as much as possible by going to pubs, restaurants, and events in the city.


Mom and dad are both from Cork, I have one brother, a brilliant sister-in-law and two amazing nieces under eight. 

I got engaged in September, 2022, so I have a soon-to-be husband as well!

Best friend?

My dog, my fiancé (in that order!) and an old school friend who is back in Ireland after three years gallivanting around New Zealand!

Earliest childhood memory?

It’s not a positive one, but it’s the one that sticks out the most! When we moved from the UK, we brought over my pet goldfish, and we all moved in with my gran and grandad. They would often leave their side door ajar, so cats often appeared in the kitchen looking for food. One day a cat spotted the goldfish and started swiping at his bowl, trying to eat him... the goldfish managed to jump out of the bowl, and my grandad, upon hearing the commotion, burst into the kitchen and stepped right on top of the poor fish, killing him instantly under his slipper. My poor Grandad had no idea how to break the news to me. Needless to say, I was distraught, but looking back it’s hilarious.

Person you most admire?

Working in Nano Nagle Place has introduced me to the work of Nano Nagle, who I’m ashamed to say I wasn’t aware of before.

Nano was born in the 18th century in Cork at a time when Catholic education was illegal. She was born into a life of wealth and privilege which she left behind in order to set up seven secret schools across Cork city for poor Catholic girls and boys.

Considering the time in which she was born, and the risks she took to give young girls access to an education, I see her as an early feminist.

 She was voted Irish Woman of the Millennium in 2000, and the museum in Nano Nagle Place tells her story.

I also work alongside many inspiring women who I look up to including Susannah Ahern (Programme Manager), Helen Geary (Ministry Manager), Naomi Masheti and Fionnuala O’Connell (Cork Migrant Centre), Karina Healy (Lantern Community Project), Clare Condon (Good Day Deli) and many more!

Where was your most memorable holiday?

Probably my most recent holiday in Moraira, Spain. My boyfriend of five years proposed to me on my favourite beach, El Portet, at sunset …he’s fierce romantic! He proposed on our first day, so we had a full week to celebrate with plenty of sun and cervezas.

Favourite TV programme?

I just finished Bad Sisters on Apple TV, a must watch for any Irish woman.

Favourite radio show?

The Arts House on 96FM, it’s a great way to catch up on any cultural events happening in Cork. They recently interviewed Nano Nagle Place’s new CEO, John Smith!

Your signature dish if cooking?

I make a mean Shepherds Pie… perfect comfort food for dreary January.

Favourite restaurant?

The fabulous Good Day Deli is less than 30 seconds away from my office! You’ll often catch me scoffing down their poached pear pancakes with a flat white!

Last book you read?

I think it was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Best book you read?

My favourite book is For Esme With Love & Squalor, which is a book of short stories by J.D. Salinger.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

A vinyl record of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ album, Unlimited Love.

Favourite song?

Communion by CMAT.

One person you would like to see in concert?

I’m lucky enough to have seen most of my favourite artists/bands live (Fleetwood Mac, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lana Del Rey, CMAT) but Wet Leg are on my list for 2023.

Do you have a pet?

Yes, a dog called Socks. He is a 15 year old Lhasa Apso, so I’ve had him for over half my life. 

I am very biased but he is the best boy in the entire world, and if you ask me about him you will be subjected to a 30 minute slide show of picture and videos.

Morning person or night owl?

Neither??? I love my bed and never want to leave it, so I’ll happily stay in bed all morning and go to bed early in the evening!

Your proudest moment?

I’ve had a few, but getting my Masters degree in Arts & Culture is definitely a highlight. Also buying our first house in 2021 was pretty cool.

Spendthrift or saver?

Total spender... budgeting is not my strong suit.

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

No walls on the River Lee! We need to learn to protect, restore and improve the heritage we have, rather than build walls, add concrete or glass to everything! Look to other European cities who have utilised their rivers, why can’t we do the same in Cork? #LovetheLee

What makes you happy?

Sounds cheesy but being surrounded by my friends and family, eating something yummy and preferably with a large drink in my hand.

How would you like to be remembered?

For colourful hair, a colourful wardrobe, and colourful language.

What else are you up to at the moment?

I’ve just started my new role as Communications Manager of Nano Nagle Place, so I’m just beginning to sink my teeth into that. I’m really looking forward to creating content for social media and our website and getting creative with the role.

In my personal life, we’re still decorating our house, I love interior design, colour, and mad furniture and art, so looking forward to tackling some of the plainer rooms of the house. 

Also, wedding planning…but that’s a year or two down the line. I’ve already got a dress so I figure everything else will fall into place!

You can follow NNP across all social media @nanonagleplac. You can follow Sorcha on Twitter at @SorchaOBrien

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