Ones to watch in 2021...

In Women on Wednesday (WoW!) we take a look at some of the women to watch in 2021, who are making a mark on the arts, entertainment, business and education world in Cork and beyond
Ones to watch in 2021...

Singer Lyra.

1) Singer Lyra

She rang in the New Year to much acclaim. 2020 was a great year for the Cork singer, but 2021 is going to be even more exciting.

Deirdre Breen.
Deirdre Breen.

2) Artist Deirdre Breen

One of seven artists who created stunning street murals across Cork city in 2020. More please...

Professor Maggie Cusack. Picture: MTU
Professor Maggie Cusack. Picture: MTU

3) President of Munster Technology University Professor Maggie Cusack

She has become the second ever female President of an Irish university.

Sophie Motley.
Sophie Motley.

4) Sophie Motley, Artistic Director,


We’re excited to see what she brings to the role at the much-loved Cork venue.

Holly Cairns. Picture:Gareth Chaney/Collins
Holly Cairns. Picture:Gareth Chaney/Collins

5) Holly Cairns TD

An exciting and lengthy career awaits in the Dail for this young female Cork TD.

Sanita Puspure. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Sanita Puspure. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

6) Rower Sanita Puspure

She is our greatest Olympic hope, provided the games go ahead this year.

Nora Twomey.
Nora Twomey.

7) Norma Twomey, Cartoon Saloon

Twomey, from Cork, who co-founded the Oscar nominated animation company, is heading up a new show for Netflix.

8) Barbara Nugent, President of Network Ireland Cork

Clonakilty-based Barbara runs Transilient Coaching.

9) Karen O’Sullivan, President of Network Ireland West Cork

Katherine is GM of O Donnell Design in Skibbereen.

Miss Cork Zoe Hendrick
Miss Cork Zoe Hendrick

10) Miss Cork Zoe Hendrick

Zoe, aged 24, is using her platform to raise serious issues, from racism to Alzheimer’s.

11) Nicole O’Brien (@nicole.ob)

Nicole rocketed to fame after appearing in season one of the Netflix show Too Hot To Handle. She now has 870K Insta followers.

12) Sarah Greene, Actor

Having had a great 2020 in Normal People (as Paul Mescal’s mum), she’s due to feature in the Irish comedy Frank of Ireland, alongside Brian and Domhnall Gleeson, in 2021.

13) Professor Mary Horgan

Serving a second term as President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. The first female President of the College in its 366 year history.

14) Saoi O’Connor

It’s over two years since the Fridays4Future school strikes for climate change began in Cork — they continue virtually for now.

15) Peigin Crowley, Wellness Curator

Founder of GROUND, a collection of natural aromatherapy oils and balms — the product is made in her kitchen in Ovens and was launched in Brown Thomas in November. See .

Ann Doherty Chief Executive of Cork City Council. Picture: Philip Williams
Ann Doherty Chief Executive of Cork City Council. Picture: Philip Williams

16) Cork City Council CE Ann Doherty

The city council has had to seriously reimagine the way the city works, since March —Ann and her executives have been at the helm, steering the city through the troubled waters and will continue in 2021.

17 and 18) Molly Garvey and Virginia O’Gara of CUSP

They are the founders, along with Sean Binder, of Cork Urban Soil Project, an exciting pilot project, the first of its kind in Ireland, that aims to turn waste into valuable, nutrient-rich soil for growing food.

19) Bibi Baskin, Wellness consultant, TEDx & Motivational speaker, former TV and radio presenter, and hotelier

She has launched her second pocket book of tips and has a new Facebook group, launched this week, called Bibi’s Happy Place.

20) Catriona Twomey, Penny Dinners

She has one of the biggest hearts in Cork, along with her band of volunteers, the charity has adapted to these Covid times.

 Cork Chambers President Paula Cogan. Picture: Darragh Kane
 Cork Chambers President Paula Cogan. Picture: Darragh Kane

21) President Cork Chamber Paula Cogan

It’s been a challenging time for businesses, Cork Chamber have been offering support to members, and will continue to do so.

Cork County Mayor Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley. Picture: Dan Linehan
Cork County Mayor Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley. Picture: Dan Linehan

22) County Mayor, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley

She has had a super year in her role to-date — her latest campaign aims at getting more women in politics.

23) Alicia Joy O’Sullivan

18-year-old Alicia, from Skibbereen, is a youth activist, living in West Cork.

24) Dr Doireann O’Leary, GP

She continues to share health and wellbeing advice with her 172K Insta followers, but also adds in some of her other life loves, such as fashion. She has a health slot on Today Fm and also has a Dr Doireann’s Podcast.

25) Leila Ecker — Miss Universe Cork finalist

Born in Cork, the content creator has 466K followers on TikTok

26) Aishat Onilogbo, Miss Universe Cork finalist

Aishat, aged, 19 grew up in Midleton and her parents are from Nigeria. She is a Pharmacy student in UCC.

Sinead Kennedy, broadcaster. Picture: Miki Barlok
Sinead Kennedy, broadcaster. Picture: Miki Barlok

27) Sinead Kennedy, TV presenter

She is settling in nicely into her new role as co-presenter on RTÉ’s Today show, since Maura Derrane reduced her working week. 2021 will be an exciting one for Sinead, as she is also pregnant.

28) Eibhlin Gleeson, CEO Cork Opera House

We are excited to see what the Opera House continues to bring us virtually… then physical, fingers crossed, as we go through 2021

 Glamour Editor in Chief Samantha Barry from Ballincollig. Picture: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Glamour
 Glamour Editor in Chief Samantha Barry from Ballincollig. Picture: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Glamour

29) Samantha Barry, Editor Glamour

The Ballincollig native may live across the pond, but that doesn’t stop us being enthralled by her. She’s a regular visitor home — hopefully we’ll see more of her in 2021.

30) Karen O’Reilly, founder of Employmum and Employflex

The flexible recruitment service specialising in remote and flexible work is more relevant now than ever.

31) Danielle McLaughlin, writer

Her debut novel, The Art of Falling, will be launched in February.

32) Eimear Ryan, Writer in Residence at UCC

Eimear Ryan’s debut novel, Holding Her Breath, will be published by Penguin Sandycove in June 2021. She is a co-founder of Banshee Press.

33) Cork singer Stephanie Rainey

The Glanmire native goes from strength to strength. In 2020 she was part of the Women in Harmony group. We can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for her.

Sinead Quinlan.
Sinead Quinlan.

34) Sinead Quinlan

She won our hearts on the return of The Den, expect to see more of Sinead, and hear more of her Cork accent, in 2021.

35) Denise O’Sullivan, soccer player

One of the best professional soccer players in the world. Voted into The Guardian Top 100 list recently. Ireland missed out on the Euros but she’s a joy to watch.

36) Julie Kelleher, CEO and Artistic Director of the Mermaid Arts Centre

Our loss was Wicklow’s gain… exciting things ahead for the Mermaid Arts Centre, we have no doubt, thanks to the Cork native.

37) Saoirse Noonan, footballer

She is a forward for the Cork ladies football team and Cork City.

38) Phil Healy, sprinter

Hailing from West Cork, she is also expected to make the Olympics, if it goes ahead.

39) Orla Cronin, camogie player

The Cork camogie team had a disappointing season, losing to Kilkenny, but Orla Cronin was their best player overall. The team are still contenders for the All Ireland this year — when hopefully we will be stadium-side again.

40. Sian Horn, business mentor

In 2020 she interviewed over 150 small businesses, mentored businesses from March to September for free and just launched The Club for female entrepreneurs (which has more than 70 members already). See

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