Spotlight 2018

Mairead deBláca – deBláca Jewellery

8 May 2018
Mairead deBláca

UCC graduate, Mairead deBláca, is the founder of Mairead Deblaca Jewellery. After college, the Mallow native worked and travelled extensively throughout the USA, Africa and Asia. Inspired by her travels and a love of art, she turned her hand to jewellery-making, establishing multi-award winning deBláca Jewellery. Mairead’s work is now sold in the Kilkenny Shop, Carrig Donn and on her website. She talks to us about her college days and how UCC shaped her as a person.

Course/subjects studied in UCC and year of graduation
BA Arts / History and Archaeology. I loved both subjects and they have shaped my thinking and approach to life. Taking stock of the past can make you more grateful for the present.

Best memory of University College Cork
I love that UCC is one of the Queen’s Colleges of Ireland and that the quad was initially supposed to be for Queens Belfast, they have ours and we have theirs. I love the history of that and other gems, in my final year I was one the students to give tours of the campus. My memories are really about the people I met, from different backgrounds and experience. We had a few mature students in our classes and they always sat up the front, took amazing notes and asked lots of questions that now would be me!

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?
It was the first chapter of life on my own and has shaped me into the person I am now. I was 17 when I went to UCC and I thought I was so mature and could never image that anything could shape me! I felt great family pride to graduate from UCC as my uncle did before me. 
Like a lot of students, I ended up in a job that is unrelated to my degree but still take the learnings and apply them to everything I do. A degree is so important and I don’t think I would gone to the USA without it, travelled as much as I did or ended up designing jewellery.

What is your advice to current UCC students? 
Enjoy college life, the real world is a lot different.

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?
I loved John A. Murphy (History) he always was so approachable. He would eat in the student canteen and even make his guests eat with him there. When I joined UCC in 1987 it was a smaller college and I felt we knew everyone there.

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies? 
We used to go to various debating events held by the Law Soc. but not as much as I should have and this is probably one of my biggest regrets. I worked in the library re-stacking booking to make extra money and when I wasn’t working or studying, I was with friends so I wish I had more time to partake.

Favourite UCC legend or superstition 
It must be the legend that crossing the quad was bad luck for exams and you only cross the quad after graduation for photographs. We never did cross it, better to be safe than sorry!

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