"My mother has always inspired me with her unwavering love and support. I didn’t start my psychology degree until I was in my 40’s, and Mammy (and Dad too) never pressurized me to abandon my relentless focus on travel and dance to begin it any sooner. She has come to see so many of my performances and has always taken a keen interest in what I do. She gave me a huge respect for the arts, with her love for music and singing (she has been choir singing for over 20 years now) and has always encouraged me to follow my heart, however unconventional that may seem to others.
My friends love her, and her bohemian attitude. She can fit in with my generation without a bother and can hold her own in any conversation whether it be of a political, social justice, arts, or general knowledge orientation. She’s funny, quirky, intelligent, caring and kind. Often when we are out I’ll turn my back only to discover her talking to some young tourists welcoming them to Ireland."
Sitting down with the lovely Róisín who is the epitome of life. An avid dancer and traveller, she lives life largely and brings everyone together wherever she goes. As International Women’s Day is approaching, we ask about her Mother or mammy – about what is so inspiring about her.
“My Mam, Marie Therese Corrigan (Terri) was born in Dublin in 1947 the baby of a family of 10 children. Being the youngest her own mother was very protective and didn’t want her to leave Ireland to work abroad, even though she had secured child minding “au pair” jobs in Hamburg and Sweden in her early twenties. “Therefore, she has always been supportive of my love of travelling – even if it’s taken me away to live in far off lands - she says she can live vicariously through me”, Róisín laughed.
“Mam and Dad got married in 1972. Mam was working in the IDA (Industrial Dev Authority) as a public servant. Up to certain time, the law didn’t allow for women to return to work after marriage. You see - It was the start of the 70’s, and women were demanding the right to remain in the workplace and to have the ambitions of a career path. The laws were starting to loosen up but the attitudes around that time was that a woman should be at home with her children and only a very small percentage went to work. And my mother followed that path of a stay-at-home-mother, of four young children.”
I ask Róisín if she feels that today’s narrative has changed “Well, we can do better. Women need to feel supported in taking on roles to balance home life and work. Companies have to be aware of the changing demands placed on women at different life stages and seek to actively assist making it more equal for all. My mother believes if a woman wants to stay at home and raise her children, there should be more conversation around this, as this is one of life’s biggest jobs and most important work.”
“My mother is my inspiration. After all of my siblings left home, she returned to the workforce after 25 years and had to learn all of the new systems from scratch. She recently retired at the grand age of 73 (citing her love for holidays and travel as the reason to stay on working!) and now wants to focus on volunteering and painting, and of course her beloved choir singing. You are definitely never too old to learn!”. I ask about her growing up years and how it has impacted her, and she answered “Mam always said that having 4 children was tough work but the best work too, so very rewarding, as she had always wanted to be a mother. She took to yoga to find balance and that sparked my interest in yoga, watching her as a small child!”
She continues on to say that her mother was a champion for women’s rights back in the 90’s where she volunteered at a charity aimed at offering women financial aid who found themselves in a crisis pregnancy situation and no funds to start their motherhood journey. The charity assisted these young women to ‘get on their feet’ and supplied moral and financial support.
I ask for the one piece of advice that Terri would give to her younger self. Róisín said “ Don’t to be so impulsive. The right answer will usually come. Also, to treasure your children’s childhood years a little more – it goes by all too quickly!”