An Irish Homecoming: A publishing dream come true with Brides of Limerick


Some of the more fantastic parts of the job were some of the honest to God local stories, interviewing Irish emigrants with great stories to tell, especially the older members of the Irish community. I loved sharing their tales through my words.

Putting on paper the wonderful work the Irish centers do to help out their own. Meeting some very famous people like Bono, Liam Nelson, Irish presidents, Irish politicians and well-to-do Irish and Irish Americans who give back to others.

Some of the more memorable moments were flying to Hollywood with our staff photographer Nuala Purcell to visit the Playboy mansion and interview Hugh Hefner's personal secretary Mary O'Connor and on the side meeting Pamela Anderson.

And bumping into Gerry Adams in a restaurant a week into the job, approaching him to ask a few questions about what, I don't know (Niall had advised me to always seek out a story and don't let an opportunity pass you by) and Gerry buying me a tea and some cake.

I also remember being in the early weeks of pregnancy with my son Colum and being so sick and exhausted in the offices that my good old work buddy Cahir O'Doherty (arts editor at the Irish Voice) covered for me while I took 20 winks in the computer server room.

There was always a party to go to at the Irish Consulate or a launch of a book or a business. I had a fantastic social life. I kind of felt like Carrie Bradshaw if I'm being honest.

A year into the Irish Voice job Niall purchased Home and Away newspaper (now Irish Central Community News) and asked me to be the editor. Another big moment in my life and another big learning curve. I began to learn a new part of the publishing world and even delved into marketing and sales a little too.

All of those years of experience have stood to me. I moved home to Ireland last May with John and our two kids, Colum and Sadie, and after working hard in New York for nine years I knew I couldn't take a step back from it.

Although I am still editor of Irish Central Community News and I still write regular columns for the Irish Voice, I wanted something more. Something more for myself and my family, and on a cold January evening the idea of publishing a local wedding magazine popped into my head.

It was an idea (and I've had many an entrepreneurial idea over the years as John will tell you) but this one was different. My gut felt right.

It was realistic, one I knew I could just about pull off, and after all I had the experience, didn't I?

I decided if I was serious about this idea I had to tell as many people as possible so I couldn't change my mind, and I did.  John thought I was mad. I didn't.

And before I knew it a name was chosen (Brides of Limerick), a Facebook page set up, a URL purchased, ads were coming in and interviews began to happen with former brides.

And I'm now proud to say that as of next week I will be a publisher. The publisher of Limerick's first local wedding magazine, Brides of Limerick, and if it wasn't for Niall and Debbie taking me on as a rookie who knew nothing about the world of journalism, newspapers and magazines, and teaching me everything there is to know about the publishing world, I wouldn't be where I am today.

Thanks to you both and for giving me the start and the skill sets that have allowed me to get to this place. And thanks to Kelly Fincham who saw in me what I didn't.

I'm not saying Brides of Limerick will be an instant success, but it's my little success story for now. As I type this my first issue -- all 72 pages that I sourced ads for, completed editorial for and did all the interviews for -- is on its merry way to the printers, and in a few days I will have 3,000 copies of my very own first publication.

It's small but it's a start. I'm excited to walk into a shop and see it on the shelf.

So that's my story. Who knows where life will take me from here but the ride has been great so far.