Local Faces: Ciara Fogarty
Ciara Fogarty

Local Faces: Ciara Fogarty

HAVE you ever heard a song that acts as some sort of mental time machine?

Every time you hear the different musical elements – BAM – you’re right back there living through a particular memory or back in a moment in time.

Music can unlock that part of our brain which enables us to access emotions and memories with great efficiency through a kick of dopamine.

A particular chord in a song, a lyric, a vocal, and it can whisk us right back down nostalgia street and plonk us right in the throws of our memories.

For Ciara Fogarty, it’s The Reflex by Duran Duran and Simon Le Bon belting out that refrain of “oh, whyyy don’t use it? Tryyy not to bruise it…”.

That’s all it takes and Ciara is zoomed back in time to the 1980s, growing up in Harelawn in North Clondalkin.

“I remember the excitement and the friends growing up, oh and the community spirit, it was amazing,” Ciara tells The Echo.

“A lot of these areas have something of a stigma and a bad impression from people that have never been there you know?

“These are still great areas today with strong community spirit.

“When I was a kid there’d be big gangs of us playing rounders in the field, I would climb lampposts putting up ropes for us to swing from or be skating around in my fisher price roller-skates.

Ciara says a lot of her inspiration comes from her mam’s drive ….. you can’t be what you can’t see

“We’d head down to the van shops, you’d get the best curry sauce in all of Clondalkin in the Chinese van up next to the Finches.

“I actually remember going up to bus drivers asking for rolls off the receipts, and bunking on the bus up to the village.

“Horses were basically wild back then as well, it would be common to see horses running up and down the road in the estates or eating your bushes.

“We were the only ones with a car and the neighbours were the only ones with a phone, we’d all be helping each other out, whether we needed some sugar or a nob of butter or whatever.

“Nobody really had a huge amount of money, so we were all in the same boat and people were fairly connected.”

When Ciara was nine-and-a-half-years-old, they moved in to a much more laid back environment in Floraville – but the Canadian-native wasted absolutely no time in keeping the craic going.

“We had a great time as teenagers,” Fogarty recalls.

“I remember dancing in the field to Michael Jackson, everyone was at it.

Ciara Fogarty

“Or we would be going around knick-knacking, playing kerbs, skipping.

“It was a great time to be growing up.”

Born to Irish parents in Canada, Ciara moved home when she was three-years-old with her mother and three siblings.

Over the years, the Fogarty’s lived all over Clondalkin and Ciara attended Scoil Mhuire and Coláiste Bríde before completing her state examinations in St Louis High School in Rathmines.

In the intervening years, Ciara did some factory work and worked in Bewleys among others things as she took up social care in her studies.

Borne from her desire to help people, Ciara pursued work as a job coach and did a stint in the local employment office in Ballyfermot and later in Stewarts Hospital.

Looking to change things up a bit, Ciara ended up working in hospitals for several years but it wasn’t in her “heart and soul”.

So, Ciara ended up going back down the social care route and picked up work in St John of Gods as a Support Worker – which is what she does today.

In Summer 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, Ciara contributed to a food bank being run by Cllr Francis Timmons and she couldn’t help but share her ideas.

With this, after some back and forth, Ciara ended up being asked to join the board in Bawnogue Youth and Community Centre and she has been part of it ever since.

However, it was in the summer of 2015 that everything changed.

Ciara Fogarty

“I was just sitting in my house in 2015 and it literally just came to me, some of the best times in my life were in Clondalkin,” Ciara says.

“I was sitting back reminiscing, I loved the nostalgia of it and it just felt like I can’t be the only one who feels that way.

“So I set up the ‘I grew up in Clondalkin’ Facebook page and it has 8.4k members today.

“It started with me putting up my memories, feeding into that nostalgia and people from all angles and points of view, from all over Clondalkin, started to contribute.

“So that encourages people to share their own nostalgic memories of what it was like growing up in the area.

“I love that feeling of bringing people together, people sharing that sense of pride for where they come from and feeding into that positivity from where they live today, in different countries all over the world.”

But where does this passion to help come from? Well, it’s very simple.

Ciara had a lot of exposure to a hard-working community-minded person growing up who inspired her to want to help and play a positive role in her community – her mam, Triona.

“My mam is a very good person, she raised four children basically on her own and still managed to do a lot for her community,” Ciara says, with great fondness.

“I get what I do from her. My mam always went out of her way to help people, she’d never turn somebody away at the door.

“We were the only ones with a car and if anybody needed anything, to be brought to the hospital or anything like that, she’d have no problem.

“She was driving activities in her community, I remember her organising a community clean-up day as well.

“A lot of my inspiration comes from my mam’s drive and she is one of the most generous, kindest people I’ve ever met.”

You can’t be what you can’t see.

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