Dr Cíara Losty is the course leader for the MSc in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology in the South East Technological University (SETU) and Applied Practitioner in Sport Psychology. She currently provides sport psychology services on the Jockey Pathway and is also Team Ireland’s Paralympic Sport Psychologist. Originally from Dublin, she lives in the Gracedieu area of Waterford city now and is married to Liam. They have one young son, Seanán.
Life in a Day
There’s always an early wake-up call with Seanán – he’s a human alarm clock. When it’s an onsite day in SETU, my day is structured, it’s lecture preparation, meetings with students, and delivery of classes. I am lucky that I get to teach in the SETU Arena, I love delivering my class there and looking out onto the pitches. It really is a top-class venue. An applied sport psychology day is a more varied day. As a sport psychologist I am supporting athletes to perform under pressure and manage their emotions, but I also support their well-being. I could have a meeting with the multidisciplinary team, such as coaches, physiotherapist, dieticians, strength and conditioning, physiologists and discuss how best to support an athlete or jockey that we are currently working with. The rest of my day will be taken up with one-to-one consultations with athletes and working through any issues they present with or would like to discuss. It really is enjoyable and varied work. No one day is the same.
What school did you go to?
I went to school in St Louis High School in Rathmines (Dublin). I really enjoyed my time there, it was a big school, with a great selection of subjects and options. We got good career support and advice on all the options and routes for us for whatever our career choices would be. During transition year I headed off with one classmate to an outdoor education centre in Donegal and loved it. After that I knew I wanted to work in sport in some way.
What teacher do you remember most vividly?
Mrs Maguire, who was our music teacher. Every class in St Louis had an hour a week of choir. It was enjoyable and something different. At the end of the year, each class would be put forward for a choir exam. She was a petite and formidable lady with a tiny frame and she could command and manage our attention without uttering a world.
What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?
You can’t be liked by everyone and if you are true to yourself then people who you respect and like will reciprocate.
How do you relax?
Running and exercising are my two main forms of relaxation. I plod it out on the Greenway every day. I love to go to the gym in Ken Brown Fitness in Ferrybank; the workouts are great, and the craic is good. My favourite thing to do to switch my brain off is head to a gig. You cannot beat good live music.
What is your favourite film and piece of music?
This is tricky. I listen to a lot of music. When I heard the a cappella version of Marvin Gaye singing ‘Heard it through the Grapevine’ I stood still and listened, the tone and clarity in his voice is outstanding. My all-time favourite film is the ‘The Wizard of Oz’. I was frightened of it as a child, and I vividly remember hiding behind the sofa watching it everytime the wicked witch came onto the screen. When Dorothy lands in Oz and the screen goes from black and white to colour, it really is magical.
When was the last time you cried?
I cried when I heard about young Jack de Bromhead’s accident. The horse racing community is very small and being based in Waterford and working with jockeys it felt very close to home. What a wonderful boy. My heart goes out to all his family and friends.
What has been your happiest moment of recent times?
I would say graduating from my PhD in Wales. The process was a long and winding road. When I graduated my son was just eight weeks old. I drove over to Wales via the ferry with my Mum. It wasn’t exactly Thelma and Louise with an eight-week-old, but we had great fun and to have my son there when I graduated was very special, it’s a memory I cherish.
Do you pray?
I’m not religious but if I’ve been sick or sore, I have probably rocked out a few Hail Marys in my head.
What is your biggest fear?
Anything happening to any of my family or close friends. All the other stuff in life is replaceable – those core people are not.
What is your most treasured possession?
My Dad bought my Mum a small silver ring when they were going out, and my mother gave it to me. I absolutely cherish it and love to wear it. The meaning behind it is so special.
What is your favourite thing about Waterford?
The accessibility of what is on your doorstep with minimum fuss is a huge plus for living in Waterford. In Dublin, I would have had to get on a school bus and spend an hour and a half every day, each way, getting to school! I’m allergic to commuting. I love that within 15 minutes from my house I can be at a beach, the Greenway or home from work and at my kitchen table. There’s no big fuss. There’s a real quality of life here and I don’t take that granted.
If you could change one thing about Waterford, what would it be?
More frequent public transport and pedestrianisation of the streets. I love the way the city is transformed and pedestrianised during the Spraoi festival. It makes the town safer and more accessible.
In conversation with Dermot Keyes