First Irish black woman to be called to the bar honoured at Cork City Hall

Cynthia Olan from Mahon was honoured at a reception in the Lord Mayor’s Chambers in City Hall today after qualifying as a barrister with the Honourable Society of King’s Inns
First Irish black woman to be called to the bar honoured at Cork City Hall

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Deirdre Forde at the City Hall, Cork with Cynthia Olan the first black Irish woman to have been called to bar as a qualified Barrister in Cork and Munster province by The Honorable Society of Kings Inns. Picture Dan Linehan

A CORK trailblazer is set to go down in legal history after becoming the first Irish black woman called to the bar following years of hard graft and determination.

Cynthia Olan from Mahon was honoured at a reception in the Lord Mayor’s Chambers in City Hall today after qualifying as a barrister with the Honourable Society of King’s Inns.

Established in 1541, The Honourable Society of King's Inns is known as the "Inn of Court" for the Bar of Ireland.

 The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Deirdre Forde at the City Hall, Cork with Cynthia Olan the first black Irish woman to have been called to bar as a qualified Barrister in Cork and Munster province by The Honorable Society of Kings Inns. Included are her parents Ada and Lola Olanrewaju. Picture Dan Linehan
The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Deirdre Forde at the City Hall, Cork with Cynthia Olan the first black Irish woman to have been called to bar as a qualified Barrister in Cork and Munster province by The Honorable Society of Kings Inns. Included are her parents Ada and Lola Olanrewaju. Picture Dan Linehan

A graduate of Waterford Institute of Technology, Cynthia said she had always dreamed of becoming a barrister. She puts much of her success down to her very supportive parents Ade and Lola.

“There were times when I felt I couldn’t do it,” she said. 

“However, it’s all about knowing what you want and not giving up. I couldn’t have done it without my parents who have been so incredibly supportive.” 

Cynthia is the oldest of five children. She has four younger siblings-Sharon (18), Sinead (13), Timmy (22) and Zion (20).

“Education and learning were always in our house. My brothers and sisters are all very motivated too and are pursuing their own individual paths.” 

The 27-year-old said that she never set out to be the first Irish black woman called to the bar but is glad to serve as a role model for others.

 The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Deirdre Forde at the City Hall, Cork with Cynthia Olan the first black Irish woman to have been called to bar as a qualified Barrister in Cork and Munster province by The Honorable Society of Kings Inns. Included are her parents Ada and Lola Olanrewaju and family members, Lemmy Okeze, Sinead Olan, Bola Adegboyega and Olaayinka Ombosebi. Picture Dan Linehan
The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Deirdre Forde at the City Hall, Cork with Cynthia Olan the first black Irish woman to have been called to bar as a qualified Barrister in Cork and Munster province by The Honorable Society of Kings Inns. Included are her parents Ada and Lola Olanrewaju and family members, Lemmy Okeze, Sinead Olan, Bola Adegboyega and Olaayinka Ombosebi. Picture Dan Linehan

“I don’t think there was any pressure that came with being the first black barrister in Cork. I think any pressure I had came from myself. My main concern was that I was just an ordinary girl from Cork who wouldn’t be able to do this. At times when I felt like quitting I always rang my mum and she reminded me that this is something I’ve always wanted. 

"I’m really lucky to have the support of my family because I don’t think I could have done it without them.”

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