Eleanor Cunney returned to her Alma Mater on Monday last when she delivered the 7th Annual Catherine McAuley lecture in St. Leo’s College Carlow. Invited guests included sisters from the Mercy congregation, representatives from local organisations with close links to St. Leo’s College, Board of Management, Parent Association, past staff and of course the student body.
Following a welcoming address from event co-ordinator Mairead Redmond, Ms Cunney gave an inspirational talk about her school day memories and detailed where her educational path had led her. Eleanor recounted how she has successfully carved out a career in media and today holds senior positions as TV Producer, Director with RTE and Media Lecturer with Kairos Communications at Maynooth University. Currently working as TV Drama Director on the popular RTE soap opera Fair City the audience were eager to learn the latest story plotlines but no secrets were forthcoming.
Principal Clare Ryan welcomed Eleanor back to St. Leo’s College but also welcomed her mother, affectionately known as ‘Doc’ Cunney who had served as an inspiring Home Economics teachers for many years. Ms Ryan thanked Eleanor for taking time from her busy schedule and described the Catherine McAuley lecture as a wonderful event which inspired students as they witnessed first-hand high-profile speakers who emerged from among our own school community. “Each year we identify potential speakers who have an important and meaningful story to tell. While each speaker has a unique personal story, one thing is always common: their passion for the legacy of the Mercy education that has profoundly impacted on them and the subsequent opportunities afforded to them”, she said.
The annual event, which brings in senior professionals from the wider business community to network with current staff and students has proved to be a most worthwhile initiative. The Annual Catherine McAuley Lecture was originally established to honour the foundress of the worldwide Mercy Order and previous guest lecturers at St. Leo’s College have included past students Olivia O’Leary, Broadcaster, Professor Hannah McGee, Royal Irish College of Surgeons, Mary Doyle, Department of Education and Skills, Alison Miller, Irish Women’s Rugby, Mary Curtis, RTE Digital Director and Patricia Devey, Penguin Publishers. The afternoon concluded with the renowned Mercy hospitality of a cup of tea.