In my spare time I write short stories... I just published my first children's book

JP Quinn is the Head of UCC Visitor Centre - his job is to tell the stories of UCC, and welcome people to campus - and he also recently published a book. This week he features in our Person to Person
In my spare time I write short stories... I just published my first children's book

JP Quinn, Head of UCC Visitor Centre.

Head of the UCC Visitor Centre, JP Quinn features in this week's Person to Person feature.

TELL us about yourself;

My name is JP Quinn and I have been Head of UCC Visitors’ Centre since 2005. My job is to tell the stories of UCC, welcome people to the college, and find new ways to share our unique history and culture in different ways.

In my spare time I like to write short stories and have just had my first children’s book published, A Bee At UCC, which tells the story of sustainability at UCC through the eyes of a small bee Booley, who lives on the campus.

Where were you born?

I was born in Waterford to a mother from Waterford and a father from Donegal. I have lived in Cork since I was four but have always held on to a life-long love for my city of birth and Blaas.

Where do you live?

I grew up in Ballinlough but now live near UCC. I can’t get away from the place!


I am married to Belcy, who is a nurse from the Philippines who works for the Cope Foundation. Every day I am in awe of her kindness and generosity.

Best friend?

I have many friends, but my absolute best friend is my wife, who makes me laugh every day. My oldest friend also works in UCC and I actually consider him as an extra brother rather than a friend.

Earliest childhood memory?

My earliest childhood memory is going to meet my baby brother when he was born in 1984. My sister and I were bought new clothes by our grandparents. 

My little brother sucked his thumb when we met him, which made me smile because I also sucked my thumb and we had formed a connection straight away.

Person you most admire?

This might sound like a cliché but the people I admire the most are my parents. My father finished school at 11 and worked in civil engineering for 40 years to create opportunities in education for his children. My mother was the first woman in Ireland to become a chief clerk in the Irish Court service. A trailblazer in so many ways.

Person who most irritates you?

I like to think that there is good in everybody. I try to ignore irritation in people but if I am being very honest I really dislike reality TV and reality TV stars. They irritate me so much I have forgotten all of their names.

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

Personally, without getting political, I think the best people qualified for public office are people who hold qualifications and experience in the area of their brief. So, without naming names, I think these are the best type of people for these positions.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

I am very fond of Killarney and have had some lovely trips there. Internationally I love returning to the Philippines to see my family, Filipinos are the most loving wonderful people and I am energized by their positivity.

Favourite TV programme?

I am more of a reader but I did love Breaking Bad, The Wire and The West Wing.

Favourite radio show?

Shush, which is a radio show produced by UCC Library, which airs between 11-12 each Monday on UCC983FM.

Your signature dish if cooking?

I cook very little but I make a mean Filipino Sinigang.

Favourite restaurant?

I am a big fan of Nosta on Malborough Street. I also love The Flesk on the Main Street of Killarney.

Last book you read?

The last book I read is an advance copy of Cork writer Madeleine D’Arcy’s new short story collection Liberty Terrace which is absolutely fantastic from a most brilliant writer.

Best book you read?

It changes over time but at the moment I think the best book I have read is Leonard And Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession. It is a wonderful story championing the importance of quiet and ordinary people. 

I am also a big fan of the Tales of the City series of books by Armistead Maupin.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

The last album I bought was Fever Dreams by Villagers. Conor O’Brien is a fantastic musician and a lovely, lovely man.

Favourite song?

Too many to list, but I have always loved Elton John so I am a big fan of Bennie And The Jets but I also love Tangled Up In Blue by Bob Dylan.

One person you would like to see in concert?

The one gig that has escaped me is Queen. I adored Freddie Mercury and would have loved to see him play live.

Do you have a pet?

I didn’t grow up with pets but I have gotten closer to animals in the last few years. My uncle has a affinpinscher named Percy and there is a special little fella in our lives called Tyrion whom we adore.

Morning person or night owl?

In my younger days I DJ’d a bit so I was a night owl, but these days I am in bed by 10.30. I get more domesticated as I get older.

Your proudest moment?

Outside of the day I got married, my proudest day ever was my graduation from UCC. It was really special and really felt like I had achieved something. It was great to have my family with me on the day. A close second would be the day the first print copies of A Bee At UCC arrived into my hands.

Spendthrift or saver?

I am trying to get better at saving, but sure, life is busy...

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

I would love to see more trees planted in the local area. We are getting better at that but we have more to do.

My next book is called A Tree At UCC and I hope to inspire children to plant more trees to help our ecological system by thinking globally and acting locally.

What makes you happy?

I am at my happiest when I am spending time with my wife and also especially when I get to spend time with my nieces Kate , Lucy, Liv and my nephew Vierre. 

They are the centre of my world. 

I am also very happy sitting in Turners Cross when Cork City are playing. I really enjoy watching the team play.

How would you like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered as someone who prioritised his family and as someone who believed that everyone’s life has value and that their contributions, no matter how small they seem, are worthwhile and important.

What else are you up to at the moment?

As well as leading out on the visitor strategy for UCC, I am writing three books for the university, working on my own collection of short stories for adults. I am also planning to write a children’s book about my brother called The Amazing Escaping Bernardo... I also hope to take a holiday next year to slow down!

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