Alumni Spotlight

Sinead Kane - First blind athlete to complete World Marathon challenge

27 Feb

Sinead Kane is a keynote speaker, visually impaired athlete, record holder, brand ambassador to Allianz Ireland, qualified solicitor, writer with the Irish Criminal Law Journal and PhD researcher. Sinead recently became the first blind person to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days and she has just completed a 24 hour endurance race in Finland.

Course/subjects studied at University College Cork

• BCL – Law degree – 2001 to 2004.
• LLM – Masters in Law – 2004 to 2005.

Best memory of UCC

Graduating with my Law degree and graduating with my LLM Masters in Law. Both of those days bring back very special memories for me knowing that my hard work paid off. Other memories would be the old College Bar, the Western Star, sitting in the Kane building in the evening during the Law Society debates, trying to find an available photocopier in the library, trying to find law books on the shelves in the library which would never be there, going to the UCC FLAC Society meetings, having coffee and scones in the O’Rahilly building. Always getting lost in the O’Rahilly building because every corridor and floor looks the same, meetings in the disability office. Happy days!

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?

I never really thought of myself as a leader before college but during my time in UCC I really blossomed in that area. I was rep a few times. I was also the marketing leader for the FLAC student society. Also during school I was somewhat shy but college really helped me to come out of my shell. I joined the Law Society debate team and it developed my confidence in presenting my views. Since leaving college I have become a very prominent key note speaker in Ireland. My experience in college not only prepared me for my career, but it also prepared me for life outside of my career. I gained skills that cannot be taught. Through interactions with fellow students, professors, internship supervisors, and co-workers, as well as other college staff, I earned a "degree" in people and social skills. Educationally, the Law degree and Masters in Law has given me a good all round knowledge of Law. Regarding life experience, UCC has taught me to create my own opportunities and to work with others in achieving those opportunities. Teamwork is essential. None of us do life by our self. We all need a bit of help. As my good friend John O’Regan always says: to make the dream work you have to have teamwork. In UCC, I felt part of a team, part of a community who wanted the best for each of its students.

What is your advice to current UCC students?

Think big. Have endless vision. The education provided by UCC is world-class so go out there and make the most of it. Remember UCC can provide all the skills, experts and education but ultimately your success will lie with you. The responsibility lies with you not UCC. I couldn’t choose to be born visually impaired but I can choose how I live my life and I choose to live it with a positive, hardworking attitude. Only you can make that choice. Also find out what you enjoy and what is your passion in life. Once you do that then you can turn what you enjoy doing into a career.

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?

The staff in the Law Faculty were very helpful to me. Also the Supporting Ability- University College Cork Disability Office staff and also the University College Cork Library staff.

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?

Like most students I joined nearly every club and society at the beginning of each academic year. Only realising afterwards it was impossible to go to them all and so I mainly just stuck with:
• FLAC – free legal advice centre for students
• UCC Law Society

Favourite UCC legend or superstition

You couldn’t walk through the central path of the quad until you had graduated, or you would be doomed to fail your exams. Also not walking over the crest entering the quad.

Development and Alumni Office

Oifig Forbartha agus Alumni

5 Brighton Villas, University College Cork, Western Road, Cork, Ireland

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