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Anna O'Riordan

Interviewed by Aodhagan O’Reilly, Ines Saz Grana & Aimee Perrin

Aodhagan, Ines & Aimee: How long have you lived in the area?
Anna: I have lived here for 16 years.

Aodhagan, Ines & Aimee: What’s a fond memory you have of living here?
Anna: My fondest memory of living here for nearly 20 years is taking my grandchildren to the playground when they were little. Afterwards, I would buy them ice-cream.

Aodhagan, Ines & Aimee: Have you seen this community come back from hard times before?
Anna: Over the years there have been many catastrophes such as the bank crash of 2008 or more recently Covid-19. The community unites in times of hardship.

Aodhagan, Ines & Aimee: Have you seen any growth in the community in the past years?
Anna: In terms of physical growth, the town has gotten much bigger in terms of facilities and services. But underneath the fancy buildings, the town has also matured in the last 16 years. Young people like to move away from home sooner to make a name for themselves.

Aodhagan, Ines & Aimee: What are some things that have helped you through lockdown and what brings you joy?
Anna: During the pandemic, praying and church visits helped me through this tough time. It brought me peace to hear the priest, either in the church or on my smart device

Aodhagan, Ines & Aimee: What does community mean to you? What sort of things are you doing now to stay connected to your community and family?
Anna: In my opinion, the community is like a giant family. I often walk around town and when I can, attend mass to meet other people. I also regularly visit my family on the weekend.

Aodhagan, Ines & Aimee: What are you most proud of in your community?
Anna: As I previously mentioned, the services have improved tremendously. They only recently built the Holy Family school for young children with disabilities. 16 years ago, you would never have hoped to find a place to look after your autistic child or a girl with down syndrome.

Aodhagan, Ines & Aimee: What was it like living in the town for so long?
Anna: I am from a farming background and I love the peace and quiet and Cootehill delivers it in spades. Cootehill is quiet and quaint, and the community is very caring and enjoyable to be around. Every day, when I walk down the street I am always greeted with friendly greetings and smiling faces.

Aodhagan, Ines & Aimee: What message do you want to share for yourself and this community in 10 years time?
Anna: For the community in 10 years, keep religion and always have a faith to fall back on. Religion is comforting in trying times and it will always succeed us in the end.

Aodhagan, Ines & Aimee’s experience with the project: “We really enjoyed talking with someone from our community.”

Pictured below is a photo of a poem inspired by Aodhagan, Ines & Aimee’s interview with Anna. Also shown are images from Anna’s shoot with Kristina.

Anna O’Riordan