Jessica Murphy (46) is mother to two young sports mad sons. Having studied in UCD and after spending a number of years working in the UK and Dublin, Jessica returned home to her native Waterford, where she has worked in marketing for over 20 years.
However, more recently, she has devoted her efforts and skills to Focus Ireland, helping people who are experiencing homelessness. Having always been passionate about making a difference, Jessica jumped at the opportunity to join Waterford’s Focus Ireland team….
Life in a Day
Well, there’s lots of talking – each and every day! The beauty with my role in Fundraising and Marketing for Focus Ireland, is that I get to speak with the most amazing people, every-day.
It still surprises me sometimes when I get a call from a person who wants to climb Carrauntoohil or sleep outdoors in October to fundraise for those who need some help. It can be quite inspiring.
I get these calls and emails and more every day so I get to connect with some of the kindest people you could meet.
Most days I will catch up with my colleagues around the country; we have services and teams in Waterford, Cork, Limerick, Sligo, Wexford, Kilkenny and Dublin.
There can also be a lot of event planning depending on what I am working, right now we are getting ready for the Focus Ireland Carrauntoohil Climb which will take place on Sunday, August 29. Then we will be straight into the Shine A Light night fundraiser on Friday, October 15.
Now there’s also a lot of ‘admin’ to do every day. Focus Ireland takes our governance very seriously, so for me this involves working with a number teams within Focus to ensure all donations are accounted for and recorded correctly. Working with a charity like Focus Ireland is very rewarding.
What school did you go to?
I went to the Sacred Heart of Mary, Ferrybank, now the Abbey Community School. Then it was on to UCD for me. Ferrybank was a convent school when I went there, so to see the transformation over the years has been interesting. Hockey was the primary sport and we spent a lot of time going across the bridge to take on the schools in town.
What teacher do you remember most vividly?
I remember my Third Class teacher Mrs O’Brien; now I’m not sure if it is her I remember most or being in Third Class. I do remember being very happy there and learning pretty cool stuff, it felt like my little world was getting bigger and I loved it. It was probably my favourite class of primary school.
What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?
Three pieces of advice – not that she would have paid a blind bit of notice, granted. Be kind to yourself, don’t be in such a rush and What is for you won’t pass you by. I might have bought that last piece of advice, to be honest, and I have seen it to be true over the years.
How do you relax?
I have two young sons so ‘relax time’ does not come often, but if I see a space at all, I would be in the car and on my way to Tramore for a coffee and a walk on the beach and if conditions were right at all, a swim. There’s nothing like being by the sea.
What is your favourite film and piece of music?
A good James Bond or Stars Wars movie would be up there for me. There’s always music on in the house, be it the radio or whatever. We have a mixed taste between us, so it could be anything. But Leonard Cohen has always been my favourite, since my early teens.
When was the last time you cried?
Kellie Harrington got a tear from my eye on that early Sunday morning a few weeks back. When she got her gold medal and ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ was played, it was such an amazing moment. The Olympic Games were amazing, the effort and emotion displayed. I was so disappointed for Rhys McClenaghan and of course our own Thomas Barr. But I didn’t cry for them. Kellie got my tears.
What has been your happiest moment of recent times?
I went camping recently to Clonakilty and it was great. I love camping, the freedom and meeting people you would not come across normally. Having chats up in the camper’s kitchen and the kids running around. It lashed rain and nobody really cared – we all just went about our business – and the next day the sun was shining again. Great times.
Do you pray?
Well, I do and I don’t. I pray and talk to those who have gone before me, if I am looking for a little help or just someone to listen. Also, I like the peace I can find in a church. When I am on holidays, I would often find the local church, light a candle and sit and think. Sometimes to the annoyance of my travel companions.
What is your biggest fear?
Cyberathazagoraphobia – I had to look that up! I didn’t know if there was a word for the fear I have. A fear of forgetting your passwords. Anyway, yes I always have issues with passwords. That combined with our lives being wrapped up in APPS these days, I fear locking myself out of my own life! I have taken precautions, and appointed my nine-year-old son as my technical support and he is playing a blinder.
What is your most treasured possession?
I want to say my car, it is not fancy or anything but I just love it, but that seems quite shallow so I dug a little deeper. Since forever I have wanted to go to Australia and particularly the Sydney Opera House. In 2010 I got there and I have the photo. That is my most treasured possession, I have it somewhere that I see it every day, and I am sure if the house was on fire I would certainly consider going back in for it, after my family were safe of course.
What is your favourite thing about Waterford?
Our coast line would always be answer to that, but to be honest since I started working with Focus Ireland, I would have to add the people. On a daily basis, I am surprised by how kind and passionate Waterford people are about helping Focus Ireland. That goes from primary kids the whole way to grandparents. The efforts that so many people put in to raise funds and be involved in helping others is extraordinary.
If you could change one thing about Waterford, what would it be?
We are a vibrant city and Waterford is a great place to live and raise kids, but we’ve been missing one thing in my lifetime: I would love to see the Liam MacCarthy Cup travel up the Quay on one of those open top buses. My goodness, we would give it some welcome. Wouldn’t it be nice to have it travel up the Quay a few times? But maybe I am being greedy now!