Dental destiny as Jenny comes home to her roots. – By Christy Parker
NOTHING can be taken for granted any more. Time was when a visit to the dentist was an ominous undertaking, dotted with dread and potted with pain. One would, as a normal course, nervously ply prayer whilst furtively pawing a rosary beads in one’s pocket. Not so any more. The modern dentist is no more intimidating than a hairdresser. Well, most hairdressers anyway…
Nowhere is this more exemplified than in Dermot Cotter’s dental practice at No 1 Friar Street. Dermot has recently been blessed by the return of his daughter Jenny to home soil. It’s a blessing to be shared by his clients as Jenny has come back to play a shared role in the family practice her dad founded in 1979. “It’s a wonderful feeling to be following my career not just in the town but also in the house in which I grew up,” says Jenny with the kind of broad smile often donned by canvassing politicians -except her is genuine.
Jenny, 27, was born in Youghal and is the youngest of eldest three siblings. Oldest brother Stephen is an orthodontist in Killarney and the middle child, so to speak, Paul, is a doctor in Kilkenny. Jenny attended Bunscoil Mhuire and Loretto Convent before enrolling at UCC where, in 2008, she graduated with a degree in Dentistry. Months later, in common with several of her graduation colleagues, she departed for Edinburgh, a destination that had replaced Kent as the priority landing lounge for incoming flights carrying UCC’s medical graduates. “Traditionally Kent offered lots of work in the National Health Service but the system changed there and for whatever reason, Edinburgh took over,” she recalls.
Jenny worked alongside three colleagues in a “busy, city centre practice, where I learned so much about various aspects of the trade alongside some very able practitioners,” she relates. It was –and remains it seems- a wonderful place for dentistry. “Well to be honest, the Scottish diet lends itself towards poor teeth. It must be the only country in the world where Coca Cola is only the second most popular sweet drink. Instead they prefer Iron Bru, which has very high sugar content. They tend to eat a lot of deep fried food also and they don’t have fluoride in the drinking water. So, yeah, dentists are kept busy.”
An accomplished pianist and harp player –although short on practice nowadays, she sighs- the young dentist found Edinburgh “a beautiful city, very friendly and lots of fun.” From an emigrant perspective she labels Scotland “my Australia,” but without a forlorn distance to deny her the fairly frequent trips home that she undertook. Her Scottish exile would prove fruitful and fulfilling but her heart always harboured a return to Youghal. “I would discuss it on and off with my dad who was keen of late to reduce his working hours,” she reflects, spreading that warm smile again, “Then last Christmas I decided the time was right and so here I am!”
It’s not easy to talk with one’s mouth open and a steel instrument of some sort excavating or probing within, but if one could articulate any inquiry its worth asking Jenny has she ever been abroad besides Edinburgh. She may tell you that during her college years she extracted some adventure from visited California. Similarly an excursion to South America brought her through Argentina and Peru, where she followed the Inca Trail. That’s same expedition saw her voluntarily deploy her dentistry skill in homeless shelters. Peering into the hungry mouths of the dispossessed would doubtless have provided the emergent professional with an invaluable perception of the wider world.
The deprivations of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland and Youghal are minimal by comparison, but Jenny is conscious nonetheless of the considerable reduction in standards imposed by current austerity. “Medical cards don’t provide as much as they used to do,” she confirms, “but still, they do provide for some services. I’m impressed by how committed people are in general to dental care and I would encourage anyone to attend a dentist for annual check-ups, which are free. That way, we can tend to any developing problems and treat them quickly and more cheaply before they become bigger problems and perhaps require extraction.”
Happy to be ensconced in the working arena of Friar Street, the enthusiastic younger Cotter is equally eager to re-explore the landscape of her early years. “I love Youghal. It suits me. I have a lot of friends from school and college to visit and my brothers, nephews and nieces are within easy reach as well,” she considers. “I love running too,” she proceeds, “and hopefully if I can stay free of injury, I will run in the Cork half- marathon in June. And there’s no better place than Youghal to prepare for the challenge, is there!?” she concludes, flashing that new-charming-dentist kind of smile again.
Ah yes running; time was when we ran away from dentists, not alongside them. That was before people like Jenny Cotter brought home to us their wonderful ways and skills.
Congratulations to Simon Prim from South Main Street, Youghal, who was conferred with a MA in Politics at University College Cork, last Tuesday 6 December. The Winter Conferring Ceremonies are taken place all this week.
Youghal invited to celebrate return of restored church organ – By Christy Parker
YOUGHAL METHODIST CHURCH is inviting the wider to community to join ‘Come Celebrate and Sing,’ an evening of carols and recitals celebrating the restoration of their church organ. The night, will take place in Methodist Church, Friar Street on Wednesday December 14th.
The organ in question is a two-manual (keyboard) Megahy pneumatic instrument, constructed by the legendary Cork organ builders of the same name, over 100 years ago. Its façade carries 75 pipes with very many more behind it. For half its life it would have been operated by hand pump before an electric motor was installed.
However the years took their toll and earlier this year the melodious monument fell into some disrepair. As the Megahy firm no longer trades, the Church recruited organ builders Kenneth Jones & Associates of Kilcoole in Co. Wicklow to conduct repairs. “The work took about three months to complete in Wicklow and we are extremely happy to see the organ restored to its splendid, original form,” says Gordon Good, who carries the title of Property Steward for the Youghal church.
The restoration cost ran into tens of thousands of euros and was met by private benefactors. It is regarded as money well spent. There is pride and admiration in Gordon’s voice when he quotes the restorers’ summary that describes the organ as “almost all pipe work of spotted metal, which is superb for organ pipe construction and gives finest quality and tone.” That description alone transcends religious relevance and casts the organ into the realms of valuable Youghal heritage.
The upcoming ‘welcome home’ celebration will bring the talents of Ian Sexton to the keyboard in a cross-denomination exercise. Ian is the Organist & Master of The Clerks Choral of Youghal’s Collegiate Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. He also tutors at the Department of Music, UCC and director of a mixed voice chamber choir dedicated to repertoire before 1750.
On a night on which some readings may also be shared, the attendance will further have an opportunity to donate to the Youghal St, Vincent de Paul Society as they leave the church. “We hope the townspeople in general will come and share what will be a joyful night, just eleven days before Christmas,” invites Gordon.
Come Celebrate and Sing is at the Methodist Church, Friar Street on Wednesday December 14th ,f commencing at 8 pm.
Marine leisure strategy for South Cork coastline
By Leo McMahon
A MARINE Leisure Infrastructure Strategy (2010-2020) for around 500 kilometres of South Cork coastline stretching from Timoleague to Youghal was officially launched by Cllr Kevin Murphy at County Hall recently.
It complements a similar strategy for West Cork covering 700km from the Kerry border to Courtmacsherry which was completed in 2008 and is aimed at ensuring development of coastal inlets, bays, beaches and harbours in a coherent and sustainable manner by making the best use of existing and planned infrastructure and to create a quality brand for coastal tourism and leisure in Ireland’s largest county.
‘This publication contains an Action Plan with inputs from over 100 stakeholder organisations and a steering group with representatives from the county council, Kinsale, Cork and Youghal Town Councils, the Ports of Kinsale, Cork and Youghal, Failte Ireland, the Coast and Marine Resources Centre attached to UCC, South and East Cork Area Development (SECAD), West Cork Development Partnership and Inland Fisheries Ireland’, said Cllr Murphy, who is also a member of Kinsale Harbour Commissioners.
The motive behind both West and South Cork strategies, he pointed out, was to ‘use resources, reassess their value and tap into the potential of marine infrastructure to develop sustainable products, services and jobs and also encourage investment along the coast’.
County manager Martin Riordan said the Cork coastline was a unique asset and because its nature and uses had changed over the years, it was necessary to revisit it, build on the product and ensure its potential was maximised.
Complimenting the compilers of the 158 page report, he said Cork had for the first time, a detailed inventory of infrastructure and service providers. ‘We now need to maintain momentum behind this work because this strategy will engage and encourage many agencies to promote development and initiatives.
‘Tourism is one of the key sectors with potential for growth. We have the infrastructure we need to see how we can brand, package and market the unique product and services we have but it is important that we all understand and appreciate what we have along our coastline if we are to showcase it to visitors. Let’s build on the great potential identified in this strategy’, Mr Riordan added.
The strategy comprises an overview highlighting the importance of marine tourism and recreation etc, methodology, an action plan and proposals for its implementation. There are also several appendices including an audit of all coastal facilities in Kinsale Harbour, Crosshaven, Ringaskiddy, Monkstown and Passage West, Cork city, Cobh and other parts of Cork Harbour; from Timoleague to Harbour View and Coolmain, Garrettstown and Old Head, Oysterhaven, Nohoval, Roberts Cove to Myrtleville and along the coast of East Cork via Inch, Ballycotton and Knockadoon to Youghal. There are also sections on the riparian infrastructure of Inniscarra.
Fifty-two short and long-term actions are detailed in the strategy. A key proposal is to create a coastal brand or quality mark for the entire Cork coastline with a central information website.
Short-term priorities include the upgrading of parking and the slipway in Sandycove near Kinsale, develop a commercial tourism pick up/drop off point for angling and commercial tourism at Adams Quay, Kinsale; develop a boat park and slipway near Archdeacon Duggan Bridge, Kinsale; further develop water sports at Garrettstown and Oysterhaven, identify locations for public moorings in Cork Harbour and Oysterhaven, identify four key water access points in Cork Harbour, develop a pontoon or marina and public moorings in Youghal, install uniform water trail and bird watching signage, further develop Spike Island and Fort Camden for heritage tourism, develop a new access with trailer parking at Fountainstown, support the use of Dooneen Pier near the Old Head for angling and tour boats and improve water quality.
Encouraging non traditional users of the sea to engage in marine activities and promote the development of curricula for school children using existing adventure centre facilities are other proposals of which there are many in the strategy highlighting the many opportunities for the county.
Among those who attended the launch were Denis Healy, Port of Cork; Kinsale Harbour Master, Captain Phil Devitt, county councillors and various stakeholders.
Copies of the Marine Leisure Infrastructure Strategy are available from administrative officer Rose Carroll, Cork County Council, Corporate Affairs, Floor 14, County Hall, Cork, who had a major input into the project. It can also be viewed on the website www.corkcoco.ie
BY LEO McMAHON Saturday July 16th, 2011
Now in its fifth year, this popular concert will take place in the magical setting of the Main Quadrangle, UCC, with all monies raised in aid of two Cork-based charities, Brú Columbanus, Cork and Special Olympics (Munster).
Organised by UCC General Services’ Security and Community Policing, Barrack Street, with main sponsorship generously provided by BAM Building and media sponsorship by the Irish Examiner, it is hoped that this year’s concert will surpass the success of last year’s which raised almost €52,000 for charity and attracted an audience of over 1,200 people.
The spectacular surroundings of UCC’s Main Quad provide the perfect setting for this very special, outdoor, all-seated concert, which boasts an exciting line-up of performers featuring Meteor award-winner Brian Kennedy, mezzo soprano Fiona Murphy, with musical director David Munro and backed by The Band of An Garda Síochana. The evening will be compèred by Martina Carroll, RTE, and hosted by Pascal Scott (Killinaskully).
Brian Kennedy is the ultimate live performer, from the moment he bursts onto the stage, grabs his guitar and belts out his first note with total commitment! Performing with contagious energy, this successful singer, songwriter and guitarist combines a beautiful voice with quick wit and easy humour to engage with his audience and guarantee a memorable and entertaining evening.
Dublin-born mezzo soprano, Fiona Murphy has performed with Opera Ireland, Opera Theatre Company, Wexford Festival Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia and the English National Opera amongst others. A finalist in the prestigious Hans Gabor International Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna and Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition, as well as winner of the National Council Metropolitan Opera Mid Atlantic Region Competition in 2004, Fiona performed so beautifully at last year’s A Summer’s Evening on the Quad concert, she is back again this year by popular demand!
Having started his musical life as a concert pianist, Glasgow-born David Munro has also achieved great success as a musical director, conductor, composer and arranger in most aspects of music making. David has written numerous works for stage and orchestra which have been produced and broadcast throughout the world, as well as working with popular Irish artists including Sinéad O’Connor, Phil Coulter, Moya Brennan, Brian Kennedy, The Dubliners and The Celtic Divas.
To enjoy this open-air concert at 8.00pm on Friday 11 June 2010, tickets, priced €40, are available from the Brú Columbanus 021-4345754 or 087 2787074 For further or visit www.asummerseveningonthequad.com
A Summer’s Evening on the Quad Annual Charity Concert at UCC - Friday 11th June 2010
People turned out in great numbers to attend Youghal’s Lifelong Learning Festival event in Cumann na Daoine recently. The day provided a great opportunity to chat with FAS, CIT, UCC, Co Cork VEC and other education providers to find out about learning opportunities for all ages.
Workshops proved a great success and participants enjoyed making paper flowers with the East Cork Traveller Advocacy Group, sampling needlework techniques with the Youghal Family Support Group, and learning how to make the most of container gardening.
Many people opted to enjoy a mini facial given by local ITEC Beauty Specialist students currently studying at the East Cork Further Education and Youthreach centre. Those attending the day found it great fun and above all were surprised at the range of learning opportunities available – full and part time, locally and in Cork, there really is something for everyone.
For further information please contact:
Cumann na Daoine CDP
Tel 024 91900
Click on image to enlarge
Learning takes centre stage on Wednesday 24 March in Cumann na Daoine with a day filled with free workshops, displays, information stands and talks. Organised by the Youghal Adult Learning Network, this special day showcases the variety of learning opportunities available both in Youghal and in Cork City. Free workshops provide an opportunity to try your hand at a range of skills – from paper flower making and gardening to computers and mobile phones; there is something for everyone. Photo: Michael Hussey YoughalOnline.com
The event is part of the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival and provides a chance to find out more, meet with adult learners, guidance counsellors and have a go at new skills. The festival’s motto is Investigate, Participate, Celebrate – so join us in Youghal and:
Investigate – representatives of FÁS, UCC, CIT, Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, St John’s Central College, Dept of Social & Family Affairs, Co Cork VEC Adult Guidance Service, Co Cork VEC, Cumann na Daoine, SECAD and Youghal Family Support Group will all be present to answer your queries about courses available and supports for adult learners. Staff from the DSFA and the County Cork VEC Adult Guidance will give a special briefing session on returning to learning
Participate – watch or join in some of the many free workshops taking place throughout the day. Learn about gardening, computers, paper flower making, needlework and how to make the most of your mobile phone. Other workshops focus on coping with adult dyslexia and how parents can support a child’s early learning. Why not end the day relaxing with a special yoga workshop?
Celebrate – above all enjoy the day – learning should also be fun. So enjoy coffee and a scone prepared by Youthreach students, have a mini facial from ITEC Beauty Specialist students, and celebrate the wealth of learning opportunities available.
For further information contact Cumann na Daoine, 024 91900
Click on image to see the 2009 event
Journalist Christy Parker meets Sinead Kane – Ireland’s first blind solicitor
A young Youghal woman has created history by becoming Ireland’s first blind solicitor. Sinead Kane, who has only 5% vision in each eye and is officially registered as blind, says she is “extremely proud” of achieving a goal that she almost abandoned several through stress and physical pain.
The courageous 27 year-old also initiated a legal amendment to the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. 2008, ensuring that blind solicitors to be accompanied in court by personal assistants. Her tenacious efforts been personally acknowledged in writing by President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Brian Cowen. One of two children born to Marion (nee Crotty) and Paddy Kane, Sinead’s disability is inherent and also afflicts Aisling, her older sister by two years.
Sinead was motivated from childhood, when she witnessed her mother’s battles against discrimination. “I remember restaurants refusing to serve my mother, who it totally blind, because they claimed her guide dog was a health hazard,” she recalls. “But I also remember being with her in Dail Eireann when she successfully lobbied people like Dick Spring to introduce anti-discriminatory legislation outlawing such discrimination. She researched tirelessly and introduced the concept of a New Zealand-style Environmental Health Card, which our government adopted prior to the Disability Act.”
Her sense of injustice was reinforced through to her own painful experiences in adolescence. “I was the only one in school with a disability and I’d feel ashamed and isolated,” she recalls. “There were no special needs provisions and mostly the teachers didn’t understand. I used to be sick with stress and would walk the beach to rectify my head.”
Her natural enthusiasm for life and an equally inherent consideration for others helped Sinead cope with a disability she, at the time, rejected. She work voluntarily with CASA and others organisations, earned a Gaisce award, performed in musicals, practiced Tae Kwon Do to yellow belt standard and acquired certificates in Leadership Skills, First Aid, Running, Outdoor Pursuits and Profile Modelling.
Yet secondary school, a trial worsened by an awareness of deprived rights, motivated her to consider a career in law. A crucial comment passed to her decided the issue. “Someone said ‘You’ll never be able do that. It’s a reading-based career.’ At that moment I decided to prove I could succeed,” she says.
Sinead commenced law studies at UCC in 2001, delighted to study in an environment accommodating towards disabled students. Difficult challenges were to follow however. Physically, her wrists ached from holding specialised but heavy magnifying glasses, her back ached from the posture strain of leaning over textbooks too large for a lectern. Her eyes became extremely sore and tired, as she was compelled to study twice as long as her peers. Socialising ceased almost completely.
The psychological strain was equally unrelenting. In her second year, the task seemed beyond her and she opted to quit. Her mother asked her to accompany her to London before finally deciding. She agreed. On arrival, her mother introduced her to some blind barristers, solicitors and a judge! “I felt totally inspired,” Sinead reveals. “I changed my mind and never again had a doubt.”
She gained her Bachelor of Law in 2004. A year later she wrote a minor thesis of 12,000 words on Victim Impact Statements, which brought comments of recognition from Brian Cowen. That year she also gained her Masters in Law, having studied Advanced Medical Law, Constitutional Law, Criminology, Immigration Law Juvenile Justice and Penology. In April 2005 she successfully sat her Law Society exams, a gruelling challenge from which she emerged triumphant but “exhausted!” From 2005-6 she provided bi-monthly support for barristers and solicitors at Corks Legal Aid Centre as well as consulting its members on the nature of legal advise to walk-in clients.
Apprenticeship and Family Law
Following four months attendance at the Cork Law School, in November 2006 she began her apprenticeship with the Legal Aid Board. She undertook a secondment with Frank Buttimer & Co. Solicitors, Cork, followed by a year’s ‘in office’ training with the Board. Confident and at ease, she regularly attended courts, met clients and took instruction, drafted legal documents and handled her own files. She found the Legal Aid personnel “very welcoming and helpful” and enjoyed her time there immensely.
Vibrant and articulate, Sinead would probably be employed by the Legal Aid Board had not the Celtic Tiger rolled over very dead. “They didn’t want me to leave but the recent State-imposed public embargo forbade them from keeping on apprentices,” she explains. Jettisoned in a country that can ill afford to dispense with excellence, she at least departed, last April, with a glowing reference from Moling Ryan, Chief Executive of the Legal Aid Board. It was a rare contribution for that office to bestow on an apprentice.
Looking to the future
The Legal Aid Board is particularly active in Family Law and it is in this sphere that Sinead perceives her future. For someone so au fait with childhood difficulties and who regularly volunteers her time to Childline, she embraces the prospect. “I can be difficult to work within the confines of the law on emotional issues but I feel I can make a real contribution to people’s lives in the Family Courts,” she asserts.
Since being rendered unemployed, job applications to solicitor firms have been unsuccessful and she concedes that, once again, her disability may not always be understood or accepted. Typically though, this only serves to motivate her further as she recalls the advice given her by leading Family Law practitioner Geoffrey Shannon that “there is no problem that doesn’t have a solution.” She will, if necessary, establish her own practice. “Some people may think my disability would be an impediment but I think I’ve already disproved all that,” she states. “Besides, I believe there are already two blind barristers working in Ireland.”
The altered sky above Sinead’s life reflects not just a change in her professional landscape but in her most grounded perceptions. No longer dismayed by disability, her success has reinforced her belief that “everything happens for a reason” and that one’s reaction to a challenge dictate their future. “If you can believe it, you can believe it; if you can dream it, you can achieve it,” she laughs. Case closed.
The road less travelled leads back to where it all began Photo: Michael Hussey
Ever since she can remember Martha Cashman has been tinkering with bits of wood and metal in her father’s shed. With hindsight, Martha realises ‘it was no wonder, as my Uncle Mick Carey, the last blacksmith in Youghal, a gentle giant, spent long hours working there himself, shoeing the local horses’.
Art took precedence at secondary school, Loreto Convent, Youghal after which Martha made an unusual career choice, much to the chagrin of her art teacher and the nuns at the time! Straight out of school she walked on to a building site in Youghal, Co Cork to start a Decorating apprenticeship. The nuns derided it as ‘a man’s job’, in the hope that Martha would ‘come to her senses’. But as she says now ‘I think part of my drive throughout that phase of my career was to prove to everyone that I had made the right decision’. So, even at this stage Martha was showing great determination and single-mindedness – qualities which have been invaluable in her subsequent creative endeavours!
Apprenticeship completed, she moved to Boston where she set up and successfully ran her own all-women decorating company – ‘Irish Ladies in Painting’. Over seven years later, following the death of her father Kevin, she came home for what was to be Read more