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People of the Harbour

In this new section, we get to know a little more about the people living in our Harbour towns. This week we meet Joe Healy from Coolmore, Carrigaline.

What book impacted you the most? No Lovelier City – A Portrait of Cork is a book of black and white photographs of life around Cork in the 1950s and 1960s taken by former Lord Mayor, Anthony Barry. It inspired my abiding passion for photography.

Favourite thing to do in Cork? A stroll along the city streets with my camera on a quiet Sunday morning. I think Cork is finally taking on the appearance of a modern progressive city, with so many new building projects in the pipeline or nearing completion.

What TV shows are you watching at the moment? Apart from documentaries, I also enjoy watching Scandinavian series such as The Killingand The Bridge, as well as French cop series like Spiral and Braquo. The Italian Mafia series Gomorrah is amazing. It’s at series four now but I’ve just gone back to watching it from series one.

What three items would you bring with you to a Desert Island? An iPad with an everlasting battery and free wi-fi would be on my list. At least then, I’d be able to keep up with what’s happening throughout the rest of the world. Also, a comfortable hammock to sleep in and relax upon during the long days, and of course, I’d need an infinite supply of food and water.

What takes up too much of your time? When I was at school it was daydreaming, at least according to my teachers! Nowadays, I like to think that most of what I do has a purpose or meaning. I’m one of those who has adapted easily to retirement and I find there’s never enough time in the day. Quite time consuming, but enjoyable, is managing my two Facebook groups - Carrigaline Memories and The Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway. Also, there’s much to do as chairman of Passage West Museum, especially with our opening for the new season on St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching.

What's the best way to start the day? Once I’m up and about and the weather is good, I like to get out and take a walk along the old railway line by Drakes Pool or from the museum in Passage West. The Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway was once described as being one of the most picturesque railways in Britain and Ireland. It still retains much of its charm and it’s a great amenity to have close by. Great plaudits are due to Bill Condon and Eddie Cogan,who were the inspiration for, and who worked so hard to ensure that the Drake’s Pool walkway come to be.

Who has impressed you most with their achievements? Martin Luther King, for obvious reasons. Closer to home, Sean Moylan, a Republican column leader in North Cork during the War of Independence. The British commuted the death sentence they initially imposed upon him because of his chivalrous actions in battle (he personally intervened on several occasions to save the lives of enemy captives). He later became a Minister for Education in the Fianna Fail government.

When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with? When I was a professional photographer, people often asked me which camera they should buy. However, things have changed, with most people now owning camera-phones - about which I know a lot less!

If you had the power to change one thing in this country, what would it be? It shouldn’t be so easy for people to be able to object, often on trivial grounds, to building projects which will be of benefit to the community. Of course, there’s the other side of the coin where protests are totally justified, the Ringaskiddy incinerator being a case in point.

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal for? That must be a trick question. It would have to be something nice and sedate. I don’t play chess ... so maybe draughts?

What is one of your favourite smells? The distinctive aroma from a freshly opened jar of coffee.

What was your biggest achievement in 2019? Being part of a team of totally committed people involved in the establishment of Passage West Maritime Museum. There’s a long road ahead, but we’re holding our own. And if I can put in a plug here, we are ALWAYS looking for new members.

What is your biggest hope for 2020? That the threat of having a toxic incinerator on our doorstop will no longer be with us. That work will start on the long-awaited M28 motorway and finally give some respite to daily commuters from Carrigaline and elsewhere. It’s been a long time coming. On a political note, I’m hoping that the current incumbent will no longer be president of the U.S. after the November elections.

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