'Imagine trying to sell Newry as a shopping destination at the height of the troubles! '

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'Imagine trying to sell Newry as a shopping destination at the height of the troubles! '


Michael Carlin descibes the various cultural, charitable and professional organisations he was a member of throughout his adult life. He reflects on his time as PRO and president of the Newry Chamber of Trade trying to promote Newry as a Shopping destination. Michael also reflects on his relgious and charitable life, he enjoyed visiting the Cathedral in Newry and became a councellor for the Catholic Marriage Advisory Committee. He also had a close relationship with the St John of God Sisters who took great care of his father when he was ill. As a way of giving back to them, Michael joined the Newry Hospice Fund Raising Committee. He was also a member of the Board of his Daughters' school, the Sacred Heart Grammar School. He was the first lay person to hold the position of Chairperson.


Michael Carlin


Trinity College Dublin




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Michael Carlin

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Life Story

Spatial Coverage

Newry, Co. Down

Temporal Coverage


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All my life I have been involved with various organisations covering cultural, charitable and business. On the business side, I spent almost 20 years with Newry Chamber of Trade holding the posts of PRO and President. Imagine trying to sell Newry as a shopping destination at the height of the troubles! I built up a wide network of contacts in the BBC, RTE and all the top newspapers, north and south. I was a real rollercoaster ride, very bumpy at times but a valuable learning experience. I am what we call in Newry a Cathedral Catholic - I just love the Cathedral. I joined the Junior Choir at 11 and was a member for almost 50 years. It instilled in me a deep love for church music and I will always be grateful to Mr. Torrenson and Fr. Moore for the opportunity they gave me. As a result of the positive experience I had on my Pre - Marriage course, I was drawn to the work of the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council. I applied to become a Counsellor and, after a selection process and extensive training, I joined the Newry Centre (the first to be established in Northern Ireland). I worked therefore 19 years both as a remedial counsellor and running the pre - marriage courses. At 28, I was the youngest counsellor serving in Ireland at that time. I don't know how many thousands of couples passed through the centre during my time, but I knew the game was up when one girl told me 'my many says you did her pre - marriage course!' My aunt, Sr. Hyacinth, is a Poor Clare Nun and we have always enjoyed a good relationship with all the religious congregations in Newry. The St. John of God sisters were very kind to my father when he suffered from varicose ulcers. For years, they changed his dressings on a daily basis and point blank refused to accept any payment. When I was invited to join the Newry Hospice Fund Raising Committee, I saw it as an opportunity to give something back to the Sisters and I served on that Committee for 20 years. It was both a pleasure and a privilege. There is a almost a similar story surrounding my involvement with the Sacred Heart Grammar School Board of Governors. All three of our girls attended St. Clare's Primary School and then Sacred heart where they received an outstanding education which, in every way, prepared them for life. I was invited to join the Board in 1989 and, little did I know that I would serve for 20 years, including two terms as Chairperson. The first lay person to hold that post. Again, it was a learning experience and I have been able to transfer the skills I learned across to other areas of my life. I have now stood down from all these organisations. On the retirement of legendary BBC Tennis commenter, Dan Maskell said 'when you have put everything you have into something and taken all you can from it - then it is time to go'. I couldn't have put it any better.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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