Aoife O’Meara (24 years old) from Greenfield, Cappawhite, has just been crowned the 2012 Pride of Tipperary. The Nationalist caught up with Aoife to find out who is the young lady under the crown, what have been her life achievements so far and what would she like to achieve in the coming year?
Aoife was a pupil in Cappawhite N.S. and St Josephs Convent of Mercy, Doon, before graduating in 2010 with a B.A. Honours degree in ‘Applied Social Studies in Social Care’ at the Limerick Institute of Technology.
At present she is working in St. Gabriel’s School in Limerick.
“I enjoy working there as it gives me the opportunity to work in a caring environment and help children with disabilities achieve their full potential,” said Aoife. “I travelled to Lourdes as a Youth Helper in 2005 and I went back again in 2009 as an adult helper and I’ve been every year since. It is an amazingly worthwhile endeavor that can really only be understood by experiencing it. I would like to continue to work with people and maybe take a different direction. I have a wish to do a beauty therapy course as I have a great interest in the area and would love to pursue and turn my interest into a business.”
Her father is Eugene O’Meara is from Greenfield, Cappawhite where he runs a Poultry Processing Business. He is a member of the Cappawhite Community Council and was Chairman for seven years heavily involved with the committee that planned and fundraised for the beautiful Resource Centre in Cappawhite. Aoife’s mother, Anne (nee Buckley), is originally from Main Street, Cappawhite and a former nurse. Anne currently works as an SNA in Tineterriff N.S. Cappamore and is also involved in the Cappawhite Choir and Liturgy Group.
“Both my parents were very involved in drama and variety groups and the Cappawhite Street Theatre Group for many years,” said Aoife. “I am a member of the Cappawhite Choir since childhood and I love music, singing and acting.”
Aoife has one sister Doireann (21) and one brother Eimhin (18). Doireann is studying Culinary Arts in DIT and Eimhin is awaiting his Leaving Cert results.
During her college years she was involved in the Cappamore Youth Club as Youth Leader and Honorary Secretary for two years and Aoife was also a member of the Danny Ryan Youth Orchestra in Tipperary for seven years playing the classical flute. “All these experiences have had a very positive effect on my life and these groups have given me the opportunity to meet great people while doing something I love and I have made fabulous friends for life.”
Aoife joined the Tipperary Musical Society in 2010 and enjoyed ‘treading the boards’. Jean Lohan, from the TMS, encouraged Aoife to represent the TMS in the 2012 Pride of Tipperary. “It was all very last minute and spur of the moment and I didn’t agree straight away but I didn’t have much time to think about it either - but before I knew it I was in the competition. The experience as a whole was absolutely brilliant. It was so much fun and with all the events being so different made it even better. I met eleven brilliant girls through the process and we all really did get on so well and just enjoyed every moment and made the most of the whole experience. It really was a fantastic experience to be a part of. I was also so overwhelmed by the positive response from people. It was amazing. I discovered how popular the Pride festival is with so many people and I learnt that I could cope better than I thought in pressurised situations. There were so many public events, interviews and radio interviews that I surprised myself with how I coped.”
So what have been Aoife’s greatest achievements in her young life so far?
“Getting my degree, learning and teaching the classical flute and becoming the 2012 Pride of Tipperary.”
What would you like to achieve as Pride in 2012?
Firstly I am extremely honoured and proud to represent Tipperary town, County and my own village, the lovely Cappawhite.. It is a huge responsibility and I am really looking forward to the challenge. I hope to be a voice for the people of Tipperary and to raise awareness for my chosen charity that will be in the area of suicide awareness. I would like to reach out to as many people, groups and organisations as I can and I hope to help highlight Tipperary for the wonderful place that it is.”
What is your favourite thing about Tipperary Town?
“I love the close proximity that Tipperary town is to my home. I have travelled there all my life for shopping or socialising. The Excel theatre is a very impressive facility and we are very lucky to have such a venue for so many shows, events and art exhibitions. The people of Tipperary should be extremely proud of the recent, ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary festival’. It was an amazing success and huge credit is due to the organisers and the townspeople for getting behind it in such an inclusive manner. May it go from strength to strength in the future.”
If time and money were no issue, what is the one thing you would love to do in life?
“If time and money were no issue I would love to travel the world and experience different cultures.”
And on a global/humanitarian level?
“ I would absolutely love to abolish all child slavery and starvation. There is such an imbalance in today’s world - it is really heartbreaking.”
And on a final note?
I would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and congratulations that I have received over the last month. It has been so overwhelming and I appreciate each and every one of them. I would like to thank the Pride Committee for their continued support. Also to my family and friends for their support and encouragement. I would encourage people to contact me or the Chamber of Commerce office in Tipperary town if they feel I can help their cause in any way. I look forward to an exciting year ahead as your Pride of Tipperary 2012 and best of luck to my brother Eimhin awaiting his Leaving Cert results.”