While I had an early love for April O’Neill, my first real journalistic heroine was the late Irish crime reporter, Veronica Guerin. After happening upon a talk at a DCU open day whereupon Professor of Journalism John Horgan was speaking of the perils of getting into journalism “just because you’d seen the movie Veronica Guerin” I decided it was the career for me.
During my time at DCU I was further inspired by Horgan who, on retirement, told my class to “never let the fire in our bellies go out.” So with the fire very much alight, and with experience editing college magazine, Flashback and creating a radio documentary on the evolution of my native Dublin, “From The Pillar To The Spire”, I embarked on life as a journo.
My first foray was as an intern with Irish music institution Hot Press, which saw me interview fledgling Irish talent and go to gigs for free as part of the day/night job. The next post was with a South Dublin start-up newspaper, Town and Village, during which time I wrote reviews and profiles on local events and businesses.
But my big break came on a start-up venture of a grander scale, STELLAR Magazine. Starting just after the first issue had gone to print, my almost three years at the magazine saw it become one of Ireland’s best selling glossies.
There I wrote about everything from fashion and beauty to health and relationship advice. Though my passion lay in the human interest and well-being features – interviewing real people about real things.
Despite loving every minute of it, it was time for a change. So shaking off the glossy shackles of the magazine world, and following a tearful farewell (and a 14 hour flight), I set up home and office in a cottage on the fringes of Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Combining my preoccupation with war and foreign corresponding, travel writing, human interest and most recently, photography, with all the adventure of relocating to a new and rapidly developing country, I’m living the dream – free and freelancing.
UPDATE: After 12 months with the Phnom Penh Post, I’ve uprooted yet again and am trying my hand at London life. Still free, still freelancing, just less tanned, less mosquito bitten and more likely to have a cup of tea in hand than a cocktail.