I grew up here in Killough at my parents’ home, just up the road from Greenville, and the house and farm were inherited by my brother, Tim, who loved Killough as much as I do. We lost Tim in August 2018 and Killough has never been the same since.
In my late teens I studied for a BA at NUIM. I read in French , Greek and Roman Civilization, Anthropology and English and graduated in 1989 with an Honors degree in English and Anthropology.
After my BA I was encouraged by Dr. Eileen Kane then Head of the Department of Anthropology, to continue with my anthropological studies so I was accepted onto their doctoral programme.
The subject matter was Irish academic life and it was a massive undertaking. My work was entitled ‘Academic Rites: An Anthropology of Contested Reproductions of Modern Irishness’. I interviewed over 20 senior professors, academics, and activists, over an 8 year period, on what had shaped their thinking about modern Irishness. Among the people I interviewed for my research was the late Conor Cruise O’Brien; Professor Seamus Deane; Professor Joseph Lee; Professor Richard Kearney and Professor Roy Foster, among many others. I also interviewed our current President, Michael D. Higgins (then a Minister but formerly a Sociology lecturer at the National University Galway) and several leading academic feminists, including Dr. Ailbhe Smyth ; Dr.Margaret Ward; Dr. Mary Cullen, among many others.
I successfully defended my Ph.D. in 2000.
When Professor Hastings Donnan, my external examiner, asked me on the day of my viva what was I going to do next, I think he expected me to say publish the thesis or try for an academic job. But at that stage my focus was shifting and I did not have the institutional infrastructure I needed to pursue a career academically. I told him: “Open a fashion boutique”. He looked shocked! But that is what I did . I did lecture for a while at LIT Thurles in Sustainable Rural Development, and was central in organising two high profile conferences for them, including a huge celebration of Tipperary for the Institute in 2000, my passion for fashion, art, and all things creative was bursting forth inside me. I have also worked in a voluntary capacity in rural development in my local community Killea.
In 2004 I opened a café boutique in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary called ‘The Business’. This was a wonderful learning curve, and a truly exciting time in my life. I met fantastic people and my then partner, now husband , Seosamh Devine and we were blessed during that time with our first two sons, Don and Joss. Etienne our youngest child was born in 2012. My dote. I am now studying for an MA degree at UCD in Art History and am hoping to continue to work on maintaining and developing as a type of portfolio almost, of my work, our family home here at Greenville.
I love cooking and baking, photography, and almost all aspects of the Arts.