Mairín Hughes - UCC's oldest known graduate
To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March, we meet our oldest known female graduate, 103-year-old Mairín Hughes. Mairín qualified with a BSc and HDE from UCC in the 1930’s. After graduating, she worked in the Pathology Lab in the Dept. of Medicine for 14 years before marrying her late husband and relocating to Dublin. With a keen interest in music, literature and nature Mairín is as lively today as she was in her college days! She talks to us about her time at UCC.
Course/subjects studied in University College Cork
BSc 1935 - majoring in Chemistry, H. Dip in Education.
Best memory of UCC
Watching matches in the Quarry and spending time with friends in the Women’s Club and the Restaurant.
How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?
UCC gave me my job in the Pathology Lab in the Dept. of Medicine where I worked for the late Prof. Billy Donovan. In those days the hospitals did not have Pathologists so we would run the blood tests for them. I loved my job and felt like I was making a difference and helping people.
What is your advice to current UCC students?
Make the most of it!
What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?
Nancy Hayes, who worked in the Physics Department. She had been ahead of me in St. Aloysius School and went on to study Science at UCC. She inspired me to follow the same path. Our school did not offer science subjects but I always had a keen interest in the natural world growing up. My father was an outdoors man, I would go walking with him and learn about the local plants, trees and rocks – I knew the difference between sandstone and limestone from an early age!
Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?
An Chuallacht. I also attended the Philosoph debates and Prof. Alfred O’Rahilly’s Theology Group.
Favourite UCC legend or superstition
The Dairy Science building had just opened during my time at UCC and a group of students decided to post up a slogan saying ‘Where Finbarr taught, let Munster Churn’!