This is the cherry blossom tree in the back garden of my parents house.
My father planted it 17 years ago as a marker of the success of my mother in being awarded an honours Masters degree in Modern Irish Drama at the age of 64. He was so very proud of her, and loved her deeply.
They are both dead now – he 10 years ago and she just over a year. We siblings know we will be selling their house, but a strange inertia has us in its thrall, and we somehow cannot seem to take the necessary steps.
I look at this tree now and I also see in it the unconditional love, strong values and respect for learning that both my parents consistently surrounded their children with. I am struck by the thought that in many different ways, it truly is what my father intended it to be – a marker of success.
Deirdre is Dublin born and bred. Having lived for almost 10 years in Munich, Germany, she returned to live in the heart of Dublin’s Liberties in the mid 1990s, and hasn’t budged since. Having studied science and worked in the development of the early mobile phones over her time in Germany, she changed tack entirely when she returned to Ireland and has spent the last 20 years working in the nonprofit / charity sector here.
Initially with Barretstown and for the last 15 years, heading up Ireland’s national representative body for charities, community and voluntary groups – The Wheel. With almost 1,000 members, Deirdre is a passionate advocate for the power of community action and voluntary groups to make positive social change happen. She is married with one 10-year old son whom she unashamedly adores!