Next in our #HumansOfMuckross is
Emer Halpenny, class of 1985
"What I miss most about Muckross is the social aspect of it all. Thinking back on it now, I was surrounded all day, every day by girls I’m still close to. All these years later and we still haven’t run out of things to talk about!"
"I was always in trouble, but some of those memories are funny now, looking back. I’m very anti-smoking now but back then, I was always getting caught for smoking - in ‘the smoking lane’ or in the toilets and once (because it was so cold) under the stairs in the concert hall. Seven of us were lined up in the office and Sr. Norah was taking it very seriously given the dry and dusty, extremely flammable choice of venue, but mid reprimand, she looked down and commented on all the various shoes colours - we all looked down at the line of red, yellow, turquoise and purple shoes lined up - it was the eighties after all - and, unable to help it, all seven of us went into kinks of laughter. It didn’t help that we were already in trouble but it always makes me smile when I remember that - the easy way teenagers laugh; the silly things that set us off. It also makes me smile that several of the girls lined up with me that day might very well read this post!"
"After a few wild and turbulent years, I discovered the theatre and ended up directing and teaching drama; my focus has always been on the resilience and confidence building aspect of drama - or any creative endeavour and although I closed my drama school in 2017 I still work with teenage girls in Loreto College Foxrock, which often reminds me of my own happy school years. My daughters (one of them is a Muckross girl) run the drama school now. More recently I have been building a new business with my good friend and fellow Muckross pal Caitriona Breathnach. It's very different in some ways to teaching drama, as its a natural skincare company called ANU, but it is about instilling confidence in women and encouraging them to be comfortable in themselves, so that aspect is still there."
Advice for my 18 year old self:
"Every wrong decision you make now will turn out to have a point; all the pain you seem to be bringing on yourself will shape the woman you will become and you will make a small difference in the lives of others some day. Stop beating yourself up. Your mother was almost always right. PS: leave your eyebrows alone"
Fun Fact: I will eventually finish writing a book and get it published. And make millions from the film.