Sorcha McKeown, Miss Cork 2019
Name and position: Sorcha McKeown, Miss Cork 2019
Family: One younger brother.
Pets: One dog, Pippin
Favourite thing about Cork: The people - nowhere else has the same sense of humour
Least favourite thing about Cork: The lack of investment in infrastructure, transport, entertainment etc, although this seems to have improved over the last few years!
One thing you’d change about Cork: I would like more facilities and opportunities for young people
When you were small, what did you want to be as a grown-up?
I wanted to be an actress as a child, but lost interest as I grew older - could still happen yet I suppose!
Tell us about your career progression to your role today:
In 2017 I decided I wanted to dedicate some time to researching and promoting positive mental health. I created a fundraising campaign named 12 Peaks for Pieta where I climbed at least one different mountain every month of the year throughout 2018. We ended up raising over €8,000 for Pieta House, and I enjoyed the experience so much I started looking for a new platform with which I could help people. Miss Cork seemed to be a great way to continue my work, and now having won the competition I’m looking forward to getting involved in as many projects as possible.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do?
Getting the opportunity to be involved in exciting projects and campaigns, especially anything which raises awareness around mental health.
What motivates you?
I want to make people proud. Everyone in my life has been so supportive of me in both my studies and pastimes, so I want to do the best I can for them.
What advice would you give your 15 year old self?
To be confident and enjoy life. I think when you’re in your teens, it’s easy to be looking so forward to growing up that you forget to just enjoy life as it is.
If you weren’t in the job you have, what would you be doing?
If I hadn’t won Miss Cork, I would have continued trying to raise awareness around mental health anyway, as it’s such a huge issue that affects so many people. But I’m glad I’ve been given this role so that I can hopefully help even more people.
What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date?
Definitely my 12 Peaks for Pieta campaign. I set a goal of raising only €500 starting out, so to manage over €8,000 was an amazing feeling, especially seeing as each €1,000 provides a person with a full course of therapy. The whole experience really reminded me how generous and kind people are when you ask for help.
Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?
Probably my parents. They’re very supportive and have helped me whenever I needed it. I would have to say my camogie team also - I’m very lucky to have grown up with a group of strong women who have always been there for me.
What is the life dream now?
No one particular thing, but just to be happy and healthy, and to continue working on projects that make a difference.
How do you switch off?
Exercise has always been a great stress reliever for me. If I’ve had a bad day, I always look forward to camogie training, because it allows me to focus and forget about whatever else is going on in life.
What is your favourite Cork memory?
Playing in Páirc Uí Chaoimh as a child during half-time of a game. It was such a nice experience and probably one of the things that convinced me to stick with the sport.
What is your favourite place in Cork?
Maybe Fota Gardens. I have so many memories from childhood being brought there for picnics or school tours in the summer.
Do you have a favourite quote or motto?
I always liked the seanfhocal ‘Is de réir a chéile a thógtar na caisleáin’. It’s essentially the Irish version of ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. I think it’s important to remind ourselves that everything takes time but that consistently taking small steps will get you there in the end.
When are you at your happiest?
No better feeling than reaching the top of a mountain! There’s a nice peaceful feeling that comes with looking down on the scenery below.
None! Everyone makes mistakes but as long as you learn and grow from them it’s worth it.
What is your hidden talent?
I wish I had one! I might have to try and find one ahead of Miss Ireland in September.
What might we be surprised to know about you?
I have a diploma in Sports Law from the Law Society of Ireland.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Darkness into Light is happening on Saturday 11 May, and I’d encourage anyone who can to attend! There’s always a great atmosphere and you’re supporting those in your community who are struggling alone. Go to darknessintolight.ie for more details.