Our Team

Collections 

Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi, Collections Team Lead

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi is a dynamic, instinct-led, curiosity-driven arts and culture practitioner.  In her artistic practice, particularly as a commissioned poet on the Poetry as Commemoration project run by the Irish Poetry Reading Archive under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme, she is highly experienced in engaging creatively with primary source materials held in local archives and digital repositories.  She is passionate about the possibilities of material history as a portal for reflecting on historical events and building imagined futures.

She has supported and led content marketing, brand communications, and arts education activities on a strategic and operational level, and is delighted to apply her professional experience in collections management, visitor engagement, curation, negotiation, research and strategic thinking on policy and planning in a museum environment for the MoCI.

Graduating with an honours BA in English and Philosophy in 2018, she pursued an MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management at UCD in 2019. In 2021, she completed a professional certificate in Cultural Event Management from IADT. As a creative writing tutor she previously led the MoCI Child and Youth online poetry workshops, facilitating sustained arts engagement for young people aged 4- 18.

She is excited to be able to continue to develop her confidence and competency to lead and influence change in the Irish museum sector. By leading the Collections Team, Enyi-Amadi is committed to reinforcing the MoCI mission to deepen public understanding of the diverse experiences of children and childhood in Ireland. She aims to deliver an effective strategy to guide meaningful actions addressing the gaps in Child and Youth Voices and Rights. She is on the Editorial Board of Unapologetic magazine, amplifying under-represented voices in Ireland and on the advisory board of CIACLA, promoting a modern representation of contemporary Irish arts.

The photo is of me graduating from Nursery school in 2002, aged 4, at Estolub Nursery & Primary in Lagos, Nigeria. I started attending the nursery school at age 11 months because I would erupt in floods of tears whenever my mum would bring me with her to drop off my sister. I didn’t want to leave my sister, so my mum was encouraged to enrol me at the same school despite my tender age.

Dr Fankun Cao, Intern, August 2024, Collections cataloguing and digitisation

Fankun’s Ph.D. specialised in Policy and Economic Evaluation (Shandong University, China). She has a proven track record in applying innovative methodologies to tackle research challenges. In her research, she delves into how services’ effectiveness, benefits, and efficiency are perceived by policymakers and providers alike. She employs a blend of quantitative and qualitative methods in her work, aiming to furnish governments and institutions with evidence-based insights to inform their decision-making processes. Her collaborative projects often involve cross-disciplinary teams. She brings considerable project management experience, and enthusiasm, to the the task of cataloguing and digitising the Museum of Childhood Ireland’s Collection. Her diverse experience in teaching, and other fields has contributed to shaping her focused, patient, and dynamic character.

Since childhood, I’ve always loved toys. Holding a panda toy, wearing a baseball cap, and dressed in an oversized t-shirt, I looked curiously into the camera, wondering why its flash captured me so vividly.

Basak Ellibes, Collections cataloguing

With an MA in Cultural Management Basak is an experienced  museum director at https://istanbuloyuncakmuzesi.com/ (2009-19). She is also an educational content creator, author of children’s books, and writes for children’s science magazines. Basak was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1982. Despite growing older, she never gave up on daydreaming and playing with toys. After graduation she started working as the director of the Istanbul Toy Museum. With the TOYCO project she led in 2010, she brought together for the first time the most respected children’s and toy museums in Europe in a major event in Istanbul. In 2018, she moved to Ireland with her husband, daughter, and dreams. She is also an educational content creator, author of children’s books. Her first book was published in 2021.

When she was a little child, she believed that her magical power was to imagine, and that every dream she imagined would come true.

Jonathan Harte, Collections/Heritage Advisor

Jonathan is a dedicated individual with a deep-rooted passion for history and the preservation of cultural and natural heritage. His journey in heritage conservation began with his pursuit of a Master’s degree in World Heritage Management and Conservation at University College Dublin (UCD). During his time at UCD, Jonathan delved into various aspects of heritage management, including the principles of interpretation, conservation, sustainable development, and community engagement.

Currently, Jonathan is applying his expertise in event management as part of the team working on the commemorative event for the National Famine Way’s expansion to Liverpool and Canada with the Strokestown Famine Museum and the Irish Heritage Trust. Through this role, he is actively involved in promoting the preservation and celebration of Ireland’s rich cultural heritage, particularly concerning the historical significance of the Strokestown Tennants from 1847 who embarked on this journey during the Great Famine.

Jonathan contributes his skills to the Museum of Childhood Ireland, as he considers it a vital platform for promoting the preservation and celebration of Ireland’s rich cultural heritage, especially concerning the historical – contemporary relevance of childhood.

In this photo I was six, and was exploring the Irish National Stud and Gardens in Kildare for the first time. Since I was young, I have always been fascinated by history and nature and had an interest in archaeology and historical areas. This inquisitive mind led me to pursue history and human geography as my undergraduate studies, which ultimately led me full circle to heritage conservation as my current field of work.

Lauren Kavanagh, Intern, Collections Project ( Research, Curation of Exhibition) from July 2024

Lauren recently completed an undergraduate degree in English and Film Studies in UCD. With a particular focus on film history, she has a keen interest in the preservation of media/objects and the telling of their accompanying personal stories. She also also has always had a love for vintage toys, dolls and stuffed animals in particular.

As a child when people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always told them, “a clown”. I was enamoured by their colourful outfits and makeup, and have had a love for performing on stage and making people laugh ever since. This photo was taken when I was around four years old in London, shortly before moving to Dublin. I have always loved expressing myself through fashion, the wings I’m wearing in the photo were a staple of my wardrobe!

Brenda Keneghan, Collections Conservation Advisor

Brenda Keneghan retired from the Victoria and Albert Museum where she was the specialist in plastics in the conservation Department for 27 years. She has undertaken many surveys of plastics in collections both in the V&A and advised other collections such as English Heritage and the National Trust.  She is a committee member of the Plastics Historical Society and is editor of their journal Plastiquarian.

Professor Mary O’Dowd, Historian, Collections cataloguing

Mary is Emeritus Professor of History at Queen’s University Belfast, and a long standing member of the Museum of Childhood Ireland team. Her research interests have focussed on gender and social history in early modern Ireland. She was a founding member of the Women’s History Association of Ireland and served as president of the International Federation for Research in Women’s History, 2000-2005. In 2010 she was elected an honorary member of the Federation’s Board in recognition of her work for the Federation. Professor O’Dowd has served on a number of public committees including the Irish Manuscripts Commission and the Board of the National Museum of Ireland. She is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and was elected to the office of Secretary of the Academy in March 2021. Professor O’Dowd’s most recent book is Marriage in Ireland, 1660-1925 published by Cambridge University Press in 2020 and co-authored with Maria Luddy. Her current research project is a history of old age in Ireland.

Zhang Peiyi, Intern, August 2024, Collections cataloguing and digitisation

I am a postgraduate student in digital humanities from Trinity College Dublin, focusing on the intersection of historical research and digital technology. I am passionate about history and cultural heritage, and particularly interested in the preservation and dissemination of childhood history. The mission and values of the Museum of Childhood Ireland are highly aligned with my academic interests and personal beliefs. Childhood history research and education not only enriches the public’s understanding of history, but also emphasises the importance of childhood in social development. During my time at Trinity, I not only systematically learned the theoretical knowledge of digital humanities, but also practiced my skills through multiple projects. I have been involved in several projects related to the digitisation of historical materials, which required me not only to be proficient in historical knowledge, but also to be proficient in using digital tools to analyse and present data. In addition, my course included modules on programming and digital content creation. I aspire to promote children’s history and cultural heritage.

“This is a photo of me when I was four years old, in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China. I am standing in front of a TV in our old house, and I miss it so much. I spent most of my childhood there. My childhood experience was not as great as it should have been and I have grown up with the wish to use my power to help children.”

Children’s Advisory Team

Dr Harry Shier, Children’s Advisory Team lead

Harry Shier is an Irish activist, researcher, writer, facilitator and commentator on children’s rights, participation and play, who has worked internationally in community groups, NGOs and universities.
He is known for his “Pathways to Participation” model from 2001, and his work with child workers on coffee plantations in Nicaragua, Central America. He holds a PhD in children’s rights from Queen’s University Belfast. Officially retired, he is still involved in voluntary and freelance work. More at www.harryshier.net.

As a child I loved my trike. In those days (the late 50s of the last century) it was considered safe and normal for young children to ride around the peaceful local roads unsupervised. Here I am (left) with my brother Donald in our back garden in Lisburn, Co. Antrim. You can see my dad’s hen-run in the background.

DR Hadjer Taibi, Facilitator


Hadjer is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Evaluation, Quality and Inspection in the Education department of Dublin City University. She is originally from Algeria, and she completed her
PhD in Applied Linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2022. Hadjer’s research interests involve a range of topics related to language, communication, and education. Her research interests fall within the various areas of sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, online communication, intercultural communication, language teaching and learning, and social justice in educational settings, particularly in higher education.

“As a child, I liked looking at the starry night sky because it was always there, no matter where I was. Now, as an adult, looking at the night feels like meeting an old friend—familiar, comforting, and a link to times when dreams had no limits.”

Alannah O’Sullivan, Facilitator

Precious Benjamin, Facilitator

With the Child and Youth Participation team members age 12-18 years

History 

Dr Sarah Anne Buckley, History Team Lead. See Board members.

Dr Mary Hatfield

Mary’s research focuses on the history of class, gender, and age during the long nineteenth century. Her forthcoming publications are on the history of happiness in Ireland; the history of pediatrics and child-care; and a project on girlhood and Catholic education in England, Ireland and the United States. She has previously published on female education, children’s fashions, boyhood masculinity, Dublin boarding schools, and photographic depictions of Irish childhood.

Dr Richard McElligott

Richard is Lecturer of Modern and Irish History in the Department of Humanities at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT). Prior to taking up that role in September 2019, he served for four years as a historical researcher on the Mother and Baby Home Commission of Investigation, overseen by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. His research expertise includes Irish social history, with a particular expertise on Irish sporting history. He has published widely in this area and some of his latest work has examined the role of sport in the history of Irish childhood in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

As a child growing up in rural North Kerry, I loved to explore the fields or trying to investigate the course of nearby rivers. The worst example was the time I was to attend an altar-boy meeting in the village Church. That meeting ended suddenly. Rather than wait for my parents to collect me, I decided it would be quicker to walk the five miles home by myself, I was only 7 at the time. It took me hours, and my mother (not having a clue where I was) was distraught. The neighbours went out driving around with herself and my father. Eventually as dusk closed in my father spotted me on the main road only a half mile from the house. That put a stop to my exploring – at least until the following weekend!

Lorraine McEvoy

Lorraine McEvoy is a PhD student in history at Trinity College Dublin. Her research focuses on the recuperation of children in Europe in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, with a focus on recuperative holidays and temporary hospitality schemes. These initiatives involved sending groups of children abroad for short periods of time in order to restore their mental and physical well-being. Her research draws on case studies from various countries including Ireland, Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany, in addition to schemes from after the First World War. Her broader research interests include children and childhood in the era of the two world wars and the history of humanitarianism. 

Professor Eileen Murphy

Eileen’s research focuses particularly on human skeletal populations recovered from prehistoric Russia, and covers all periods in Ireland. She is particularly interested in the use of approaches from bio archaeology and funerary archaeology to help further understanding of the lives and experiences of people in the past. Another of her research interests involves the study of past children and she is the founding editor of the international journal, Childhood in the Past.

Annika Stendebach

Annika is a doctoral researcher at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture at the University of Giessen. Her PhD project focuses on Irish youth and social change between 1958 and 1973. It might seem strange that a German student is working on such a project, but after spending her Erasmus year at the National University of Ireland Galway in 2012/2013, Annika just fell in love with Ireland and its people. She has not stopped researching Irish youth culture since.

I was quite the whirlwind as a child, always running around and playing outside. The only time my parents managed to get me to come inside and sit down, was when they read stories to me. One of my favourite books were the adventures of “Pippi Longstocking” by Astrid Lindgren, probably because I identified so much with her. Judging from our shared characteristics, I actually think my parents chose the wrong character from the novel as my namesake.

Aine Maguire, Oral History Research for MoCI, Children of Achill and Robert Henri (From July 2023, Áine’s work is funded thanks to the generosity of Mayo CC)

Children’s Rights 

Clare Daly, Child Protection and Law

Clare practices primarily in the Child Care Team in CKT. Clare has over 14 years of broad and varied experience in legal practice, specialising in child protection, data protection including the data rights of children; litigation, personal injuries, mental health law, education law, family law and has advocated in the District, Circuit and High Courts. For over 10 years she advised a statutory body charged with investigating breaches of children’s rights. Clare has considerable experience providing advices to organisations on their child protection obligations and has advised statutory bodies, insurance companies, sporting & religious bodies, charities, universities, schools and numerous organisations working with children.

Clare is a regular lecturer in the Law Society Professional Practice Course on Advanced Family Law and in the Diploma and Certificate programmes, in the areas of child protection and data protection law. She has published articles in the Irish Journal of Family Law, Irish Educational Studies Journal, local print and news media, and was quoted in the Sunday Times Ireland and RTE online. She has presented at conferences in UCC, UCG, Legal Island, and various conferences including the IPB Conference on Managing the Risk of a Criminal Investigation . Clare co-authored “Adoption law and practice under the Revised European Convention on the Adoption of Children” (2013).

Dr Gabriela Martinez-Sainz, Children’s Rights Alliance liaison

Gabriela Martinez Sainz is an Ad Astra Fellow and Assistant Professor in Education at University College Dublin researching and teaching on children’s rights, global citizenship and education for sustainable development. Her overarching research interest is understanding how key elements essential for global, plural and sustainable societies –such as sustainability, human rights and citizenship– are taught and learnt. Her latest research focuses on the teaching and learning processes of the target 4.7 of the SDGs in digital spaces to better understand the role technologies can play in education. At UCD, Gabriela is co-convener of the Rights Education Network (REN) with colleagues in the School of Education, School of Law and School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice and Director of the Voice, Agency and Rights in Education (VARiE) research group in the School of Education. Gabriela is also co-founder of Child Rights Chat, a multinational project aiming at the creation of digital spaces for learning about children’s rights, their legal instruments and the challenges for their protection and promotion in practice. She holds a PhD in Education and a Master’s Degree in Educational Research from the University of Cambridge where she conducted research on human rights education, reflective practice and professional knowledge. As a researcher, she has been affiliated to the Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Education of Dublin City University, the Brazilian Centre for Analysis and Planning CEBRAP, the Centre for Governance and Human Rights of the University of Cambridge, and also the Center for Socio-legal Studies of the University of Oxford. She has worked as an educational consultant for international organizations including UNICEF and Child Rights Connect, on projects related to human rights and peace education, professional development, child participation and school conviviality. She is also the author of textbooks and educational materials on issues of citizenship, democracy and human rights for schools. Gabriela is an intersectional feminist, an advocate of children and young people’s rights and supporter of a radical education.

Dr Joanna Ralston

Dr Joanna Ralston is a practising Barrister in Cork since 2003 specialising in Family and Child Law, Capacity Law and Property Law.

Dr Rowan Oberman


Dr. Rowan Oberman is Assistant Professor of Global Citizenship Education at the Institute of Education at DCU and teaches on a range of under-graduate and postgraduate programmes including initial teacher education courses and the DCU Masters in Climate Change. She is Co-Director of the DCU Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Education. Her  research is in the areas of: climate change education, picturebooks, children rights and creative writing. Her doctoral study explored how picturebook reading and writing support inquiry-based climate change education and examines children’s emotional responses to learning and reading about climate change. She has developed numerous curriculum resources and has written two picturebooks. For example, she acted as curriculum specialist in the development of a national curriculum in climate change and disaster risk reduction for St Vincent and the Grenadines and she co-authored a children’s rights education resource published by the  Ombudsman for Children’s Office. She was also a member of the project team which ran the Children and Young People’s Assembly on Biodiversity Loss.  She is a qualified Barrister.


When I was in my first year of primary school my baby doll, Sarah, was the baby in our class play. At break time, there was a bit of an accident involving a football, Sarah Jane and me. Sarah’s arm came off and I broke my collarbone. Luckily everything was mended enough in time for the play’s performance. Everyone wrote lovely messages and drew smiley faces on my plaster bandages.

Education 

Dr Eemer Eivers, Education Team Lead. See Board members.

Dr Mira Dobutowitsch

Mira Dobutowitsch has a background in psychology and education. She completed her PhD in 2019. This Irish Research Council funded project was a mixed-methods investigation of associations between children’s screen time use and wellbeing, and parents’ strategies for navigating their children’s engagement with digital devices. Mira has worked as an independent researcher, consultant, and data analyst on a number of projects.

Dr Suzanne O’Keeffe

Suzanne lectures in sociology of education and social, personal and health education (SPHE) in the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education at Maynooth University. Suzanne has 10 years teaching experience in a primary school classroom. Her research interests include children and childhood, education, gender and masculinities.

“This is me at 4 years of age visiting my grand-aunt in Limerick city. I think I was told to “mind” the toddler on the chair and smile for the photo!”

Melatu Uche Okorie

Melatu was born in Enugu, Nigeria and has been living in Ireland since 2006. She has an MPhil in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies including, Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (Faber & Faber) and The Art of the Glimpse: 100 Irish short stories (Head of Zeus). Her debut collection, This Hostel Life, was published in May, 2018.

Dr Rita Melia

Dr Rita Melia is a lecturer in early childhood education and care at Atlantic Technological University Galway and Mayo campuses. Rita has worked in Early Childhood Education and Care, in practice, research and policy for over thirty years. As an owner /manager of a creche and preschool and as the Reggio Children International representative for Ireland, Rita has been influenced by Loris Malaguzzi theory of the Hundred Languages. Rita was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to Harvard Graduate School of Education under the sponsorship of Professor Howard Gardner (Multiple Intelligences) and Professor Benjamin Mardell (The Pedagogy of Play). As a practitioner, educator and researcher Rita believes in the importance of supporting and enhancing young children’s 21st century skills, of curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, communication through the arts as a right not merely a need. Rita has a variety of national and international experiences which have resulted in her developing relationships and networks which support her in her many areas of interest in Early Childhood Education and Care. Rita`s PhD research is titled ‘My self-image and your interactions’: The influence of the preschool educator’s image of the child as a learner on children’s wellbeing and involvement (nuigalway.ie) Mol an Óige agus tiocfaidh sí (praise the young and they will flourish).

This is me with my dad John Brady on my first birthday. He died when I was 18 months old, and my sister only six weeks. We lived in a beautiful part of Athenry town, Abbey Row, where we played all day every day on the street in front of the row of eight houses. My sister now lives in the old school master’s house which you can see in this picture. Every time I visit, my childhood memories come flooding back and it always feels like home

Dr Regina Murphy

Emma Farragher

Emma is a primary school teacher and teacher fellow at DCU Institute of Education. She is a passionate advocate for the arts and has a keen interest in children’s literature.

As a child, I loved to imitate my mother (and embrace my creative side by using her make-up … on the walls)

Children’s Literature

Delaney Price, Children’s Literature Team Lead

Delaney Price is a passionate advocate for children’s literature, blending her academic pursuits with a deep commitment to preserving literary heritage and sharing it with the world. Delaney, a native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, completed her undergraduate studies at Trinity College Dublin, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English. Currently, she is enrolled in a postgraduate program at Trinity, focusing on Children’s Literature. Her passion extends beyond academia; she is dedicated to preserving and sharing the treasures of children’s literature through various forms of media. With a keen eye for detail and a relentless pursuit of new findings, she endeavours to unearth forgotten gems and shed light on untold stories, ensuring that the magic of childhood reading remains accessible to all. Excited to contribute her expertise to a wider audience, Delaney is thrilled to join the literature team at the Museum of Childhood Ireland.

This photo was taken in 2006 for my sixth birthday in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The party was held in a train carriage that was renovated as a place to experience afternoon tea, and lavish costumes were provided for my preschool friends and me to dress up in. 

Dr Supriya Baijal

Supriya Baijal is a scholar, poet, and creative polymath, deeply immersed in the fields of children’s literature and digital humanities. She has a PhD in Children’s Literature and her scholarly pursuit continues at Trinity College Dublin, where she is enriching her understanding of digital humanities within the M.Phil. program, aiming to bridge technology and literary studies.

An avid theatre enthusiast, Supriya has directed and participated in numerous productions, leveraging her artistic talents to reinterpret narratives and engage diverse audiences. Her engagement with the arts extends into poetry, where she articulates her deep connection to nature and the human experience.

In addition to her literary and scholarly pursuits, Supriya is an accomplished athlete, having excelled in athletics and tennis at national levels, which instills in her a discipline that permeates all areas of her life. Her artistic expressions also extend to music and dance; she plays the synthesizer and enjoys singing and dancing, which further enrich her creative output and personal well-being. 

This photo from an Inter-State Athletics Event captures Supriya with medals—gold for the 4×200 meters relay and bronze for the 200 meters individual race—highlighting her prowess as a sprinter and her competitive spirit. 

From a young age, Supriya was drawn to the enchanting world of stories. Her first memorable encounter with literature occurred during visits to the Aurobindo Ashram Children’s Library in Kolkata, where her mother introduced her to “The Book of Dragons” by Edith Nesbit. This early experience sparked a lifelong passion for children’s literature.

Dr Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak

Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak is an Associate Professor of Literature at the Institute of English Studies, University of Wrocław, Poland. She is the co-founder of the Center for Young People’s Literature and Culture and the Center for Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature at the University of Wrocław. Her interests include child-led research, posthumanism, and new materialism. She published Yes to Solidarity, No to Oppression: Radical Fantasy Fiction and Its Young Readers (2016). She is the co-editor (with Irena Barbara Kalla) of Rulers of Literary Playgrounds Politics of Intergenerational Play in Children’s Literature (2021) and Children’s Literature and Intergenerational Relationships Encounters of the Playful Kind (2021), (with Zoe Jaques) Intergenerational Solidarity in Children’s Literature and Film (2021), and (with Macarena García-González) Children’s Cultures after Childhood (2023). She is Fulbright fellow (Rutgers University), Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow (Anglia Ruskin University), and a grantee of the Polish Foundation for Science and the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange. In the years 2017-2021, she served on the board of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature. She is the University of Wrocław co-ordinator of the Erasmus Mundus International Master: Children’s Literature, Media, & Culture.  

One of the most vivid memories of Justyna’s childhood, spent in communist Poland, is the sight of the pink wall of Barbie doll boxes at a Mattel shop she visited in the mid 1980s, when staying with her friends in Belgium.  Barbie dolls were some of the most coveted toys among Polish children in that period.    

Sam Hayes, Media

Sam studied English and Philosophy at Trinity College Dublin before specialising in children’s media through studying in the Children’s Literature, Media and Culture Erasmus Mundus program. Their research interests concern how literature can facilitate discussions of social issues, as seen in the instagram The Anti-Empire Book Club, which curated media appropriate for children and teens that could be read in response to discourses of colonialism, or their masters dissertation that focused on developing a framework to link video games, to discussions regarding the climate crisis. They volunteered as part of the 2022 Gdansk edition of Kino W Trampkach (a children’s film festival).

As an older child and young teen Sam always loved telling stories. They loved recording ‘movies’ on a video camera with their friends. That intersection of play and storytelling has always appealed to them and they hope to bring this to their work with the museum.

Gabriela Portillo Menéndez

Gabriela is a PhD candidate at Mary Immaculate College (Ireland). Her thesis looks at the intersection between psychology, early childhood and literacy and the role cultural institutions, such as museum and libraries, play in children’s socio-emotional development.
She graduated from the international masters Erasmus Mundus in Children’s literature, media and culture, where she was lucky to learn about child culture in countries such as Scotland, Denmark, Canada and the Netherlands. Additionally, she freelances for several children’s
literature publishing houses in her home country, Spain, and collaborates with the YA magazine El Templo de las Mil Puertas.

“Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was crystal clear: a ballerina. And librarian. As early as age 3, my mom used to take my sisters and me to the children’s section in the library, and we would play and read together —which, at that stage, were indistinguishable to me. If visitors came home, I would climb into their lap and ask them to read for me. My favourite book was rather long, so most people tried to skip through some paragraphs, but I always noticed and demanded to be read precisely what the text said. All my relatives sighed in relief when I learned to read by myself, and I don’t blame them.”

Irish Language

Dr Sorcha De Brun, Irish language

Sorcha de Brún, lectures in Modern Irish in the University of Limerick, Ireland where she is also Director of European Studies. She received her PhD from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, in 2016 and has published extensively on twentieth and twenty-first century Irish language prose and literary translation. She has published poems and short stories in various anthologies, and a selection of her poetry and stories for children is on the Séideán Sí Primary Curriculum, published by An Gúm. A recipient of the John and Pat Hume Scholarship Award, Duais Foras na Gaeilge (Foras na Gaeilge Award) Duais Ghearrscéalaíochta Mháirtín Uí Chadhain (Máirtín Ó Cadhain Short Story Award) and Oireachtas na Gaeilge literary awards, Sorcha has translated and published a selection of poems by nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century German poets to Irish as part of the Dánnerstag Irish-German poetry project, of which she is co-director. She is also a co-editor of EuropeNow Campus journal and a member of the Royal Irish Academy Committee on Irish language and Celtic Studies (Coiste Léann na Gaeilge agus an Léinn Cheiltigh). Sorcha is currently working on her monograph on masculinities in Irish language prose writing. 

Dheineas staidéar ar an bpianó i gCeol-Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann, mar aon leis an gcuid eile de mo mhuintir: mo dheartháireacha agus mo mháthair romham, ise mar chuid den ghrúpa amhránaíochta ar ar tugadh ‘The Thirteens.’ Bhíos ann mar pháiste, mar dhéagóir, agus go dtí go rabhas im bhean óg agus mé aon bhlian is fiche d’aois. Tobar mór inspioráide mo shaoil, ionad súgartha dom a bhí san Acadamh. Tá sé fós ar chúl mo chinn agam, agus é mar fhoinse don tsuim atá agam sa cheol agus sa litríocht. Mhúnlaigh an taithí a bhí agam ansin ó bhonn mé. B’ann a fuaireas amach gur féidir leis an saol a bheith diamhair, doléite, mistéireach. Na heachtraí a bhí agam ann, thuigeas as an nua a raibh de cheol agus de litríocht sa bheatha. Chuas ar seachrán agus mé ag seinnt ceoil agus bhailíos liom go háiteanna im shamhlaíocht ag cumadh scéalta a bhí bunaithe ar chumadóireacht leithéidí John Field, Mendelssohn, Tschaikowsky. An drámaíocht, an rómánsaíocht agus an briseadh croí, bhaineadar de bhonn m’óige mé amhail is gur ag dul trí stoirmeacha a bhíos. ..

When I was a child, I studied piano music in the Royal Irish Academy of Music with the rest of my family. I was there as a child, as a teenager, and until I was a young woman of twenty one years of age. The ‘Academy’ was my imaginative and cultural playground. It has remained a major source for my lifelong interest in music and literature. My experiences there shaped me in a fundamental way, and my explorations, both musically and otherwise, introduced me to all things musical and dramatic, poetic and literary, crumbling and mysterious. I lost myself in pieces of music, imagining narratives and constructing stories based on compositions by John Field, Mendelssohn, Tschaikowsky. Drama, romance but also heartbreak took my childhood self by storm. ..

Aoife Ní Chorráin, Irish language

Is as Contae Ard Mhacha d’Aoife Ní Chorráin. Ag fás aníos, d’fhreastail sí ar bhunscoil lán-Ghaeilge, agus d’fhorbair paisean ollmhór dá teanga dúchas ó am s’aici ag foghlaim ann agus í óg. I ndiaidh di freastal ar mheánscoil, bhain sí céim céadonóracha amach sa Ghaeilge ar Ollscoil na Banríona i mBéal Feirste, agus ó shin, chuaigh sí ar aghaidh le bheith ag obair le TG4 mar chomhordaitheoir na meáin sóisialta le Cúla4. Chinn sí obair a thosú le NI Screen, ag foghlaim gach rud faoi na meáin Gaeilge. Anois, tá sí ag glacadh sos ón méid sin, í ag obair do pháirtí polaitíochta anois agus ag baint an-sult as. Tá sí chomh sásta bheith páirteach leis an eagraíocht seo fosta, agus ag súil go mór leis an fhás agus forbairt a fheiceáil!

Aoife Curran is from County Armagh. Growing up, she attending an Irish medium primary school, and a huge passion for her native tongue grew as a result of learning in that environment in her youth. After going to secondary school, she got a first class honours degree in Irish at Queens University, Belfast, and from that, went on to work with TG4 as a social media coordinator for Cúla4. She decided to then begin working with NI Screen, learning everything there is to know about Irish language media. She is now taking a break from it, working for a political party and really enjoying that. She is thrilled to be involved with the museum and is really looking forward to witnessing its growth and development!

Armagh had just won and as you can see from the photo I’m thrilled! (I’m on the left) I also have a funny comparison photo… the second photo (of my little sister) was taken a good few years later, as there is 12 years between us, but the similarities are staggering! Just goes to show that personality traits can be very much inherited!

Community Engagement 

Chloe Browne, Engagement Team Lead

Chloe Browne is an arts writer and curatorial assistant from Ireland. Currently working in the contemporary art sector, she holds a dual undergraduate degree in Art History and Italian from Trinity College Dublin and a Master’s in Art History and Curatorial Practice from the University of Edinburgh. Guided by a keen interest in social history as told through the medium of art, Chloe’s work explores how objects, literature, and artistic media can inform a study of societies past and present. Passionate about public engagement with culture and the arts at all levels, she is delighted to be working in the realm of community engagement at the Museum to encourage a connection with the subject of childhood across Ireland and further afield.

“There was nothing I loved more than a playground as a kid, especially swings. I think I drove my whole family demented. I may have only had ten words in my vocabulary but one was definitely “push.” I also used to spend a lot of time with my granny and other adults when I was young, as I was the first grandchild. As such, I didn’t really understand the concept of adults versus children so I just presumed all my granny’s friends were my best friends too. I was absolutely disgusted one day when we went on a day trip together and the three sixty year old women tried to explain to me that they couldn’t go down the children’s slide at the Zoo.”

 Megan Brien, Autism advisor

I am currently finishing my final year of my PhD at Trinity College Dublin, where I am researching the history of interiors for autism in Ireland. As a Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholar, my research aims to understand how design, policy and provision of services correlated in the built environment in twentieth century Ireland for children, adolescents, and adults. I am keenly interested in the architectural humanities, as it affords me the opportunity to consider the historical, social, and cultural implications of a history of architecture.

“Growing up I was never seen without drawing paper and colouring pencils, so it is no surprise that I also have a practice based background in the discipline of design, with a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and Technological University, Dublin respectively. 

One particular chapter of my childhood stands out as a favourite memory—the days spent baking jam tarts with my grandmother. During these baking afternoons our kitchen became a cosy mess of flour, stories, and playfulness.” 

Anna Sutcliffe, Achill events, Disability advisor

Anna works as Head of Development for Dignity Ireland, a charity that services people with disabilities. She is very passionate about promoting an inclusive Ireland through her work. She also runs her own business, called House of Achill, from her home on Achill Island. She has an undergraduate degree (TCD) and postgraduate degree (TUD) and is currently completing a diploma in the History of European Painting at Trinity College Dublin. She speaks fluent Irish and German and has a keen interest in art, history, and Irish culture.

As a child her favourite memories are of time spent on the beautiful Achill Island off the coast of Mayo with her family. She used to try and steal her neighbour’s sheep dog by offering it bowls of cornflakes!

Aine Furey, Story Collector

Áine has a huge interest in Irish culture and heritage. She is a qualified National Tour Guide ( White Badge) and has been guiding for 23 years. She has a degree in Celtic Civilisation from UCC and a Higher Diploma in Irish Folklore from UCD.

“I believe the Museum of Childhood to be so very important. My mum being from Edinburgh, I visited that wonderful Museum of Childhood every time I visited my grandmother there. I am looking forward to collecting lots of stories for Ireland.”

“Me aged 2/3 in my grandmother’s garden Edinburgh 1973.”

Dakota Oliveira, Art, craft & play child/youth engagement

Dakota, a Lecturer at University College Cork, is an American historian and anthropologist from Phoenix, Arizona. Dakota specialises in the promotion of marginalised peoples, and is part of the Engagement team at the Museum of Childhood Ireland. Her interests intersect history, anthropology, art, literature and human rights.

Geneva Wilson, Art Resources for all at the museum

Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Geneva came to Ireland to earn a degree in Art History & English at UCD. Particular interests lie medieval literature, puppetry, and the relationship between children’s art and the avant-garde of the early 20th century. 

She is extremely passionate about the creative development of children through play and, since graduating in 2023, has worked as a Programme Assistant at an after-school, where she helps to structure a creatively stimulating after-school programme for children ages 4-5. In her own time, she enjoys making jewellery and writing about art, film, and music.

Geneva will be pursuing an MA in the History of Art at The Courtauld in London in September 2024.

My most magical memories as a child were playing in our overgrown flower garden in the backyard. I felt like Alice in Wonderland as I chased the bunny rabbits that lived in the bushes. When I was 6, I named my first cat Dinah. I would bring her to my favourite corner of the garden and sing to her—just like Alice!

Sofia Zambetti,

Art, craft & play, child/youth engagement team

Hailing from the Bronx, NY, Sofia from the Museum of Childhood Irelands’s Engagement team, is a graduate of Georgetown University with a Major in English Literature and Musical Composition, and currently works as a Business Analyst. Coming from a creative background her interests lie in garment construction, musical composition, literature and art.

As a child Sofia was a fan of Legos, American Girl Dolls, playing with her parents’ musical instruments, and coffee! Need proof? See the photo below!

Amy Louise Clarke, Intern, March/April 2024

Amy is currently studying History and Sociology in Maynooth University. She is planning to go forward to study for a Postgraduate Masters in History or in second level education.

As a child, I was extremely interested in the 1916 Rising and the history of the children involved in the rising. Due to this, my family decided that they would feed this interest and buy me books that were fiction and non-fiction but there were always two that I would always go and pick up to read over and over again. These two books were ‘The Easter Rising 1916: Molly’s Diary’ by Patricia Murphy and ‘The Young Rebels’ by Morgan  Llywelyn. From reading these books my addiction to Irish history began. They were the beginning of my love for history. 

Allycia Susanti, Intern July to August 2024

Allycia Susanti earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature at Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, Indonesia before currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree through the Media Arts Cultures Erasmus Joint Programme. Her previous publications and works include poetry, and research on literature, media, linguistics, and psychology. As her studies take her across multiple countries such as Ireland, Austria, Denmark, and Poland, she enjoys learning about different cultures and languages, and broadening her culinary horizons as a hobby.

 I couldn’t have been older than five in that picture. Although I don’t remember what year the photo was taken, I know it was taken during lunar new year, because that’s one of the only times I would wear a traditional chinese Qipao. Being Chinese-Indonesian, I only started to really understand the complexity and significance of my ethnic background when I look back at how much of my childhood and life was shaped by my culture. I may look unimpressed in that photo, but I was really in for a full-on new year’s feast that day!

Sonia Sartor, Italian Language/Dante to Joyce project

Emily Drew, Early Years

Viktoria Kozak, Ukrainian Voices

Strategy Team

Sorcha Kavanagh, Strategy Team Lead. See Board members.

Ruthanne Baxter

A native of County Fermanagh, Ruthanne Baxter, started her heritage career, over twenty years ago, as a Tour Guide for the National Trust properties, Florence Court House and Castlecoole. Ruthanne is currently Civic Engagement Manager for the University of Edinburgh Heritage Collections and creator of Prescribe Culture, a heritage-based non-clinical initiative for health, social care and wellbeing, which won the Tech4Good Arts & Culture Award 2021. Prior to taking up her role at the University, she was Commercial and Visitor Services Manager for Edinburgh Museums & Galleries, City of Edinburgh Council.

Ruthanne has strong experience in heritage tourism and business development and has provided the ‘Business of Heritage’ training for remote and rurally located organisations on behalf of Museums Galleries Scotland. 

More recently, Ruthanne has been pioneering non-clinical heritage-based health initiatives and is a Co-Investigator on heritage health research projects such as, Prescribe Heritage Highland, in partnership with the University of Highland and Islands School of Rural Health, and the TOUS study with Nuffield Dept. of Primary Health Care Sciences at Oxford University. She is Chair of the Social Prescribing on Campus International Network, SPOC Global, has co-authored a Student Mental Health Literacy course, with Prof Anne Duffy, at Queen’s University, Canada, and provides consultancy on developing heritage-based early interventions and social prescribing nationally and internationally. 

I had the joy and privilege of being brought up in a multigenerational household. My Granda Aiken was very fond of Ceili music and, in the evenings when he would return from ‘ceilis’ with his friends, he’d put RTE radio on and enjoy the traditional music programme. We had a piano in the living room and I would try and play by ear, some of the tunes I had heard, so Granda instructed I should have piano lessons. My 5th birthday present was starting piano, I ended up studying music at university, running my own School of Piano and still play the organ and piano in my local church.

At the age of 5, Ruthanne had the excitement of being a flower girl for her wonderful neighbour, Barbara. The highlight of the day for her was getting to waltz, for the first time, on her father’s feet.

Marketing Team

We are currently recruiting a Social Media and Website Team. If you can help please do get in contact with us at secretary@museumofchildhood.ie

Website

Strategic/Collaborative Partners/Grants

Collaborative Projects 2024

Child/youth ‘ Creative Beginnings’ – working title – the children will choose their own title. Collaborative project from the Museum of Childhood Ireland (Islandwide), Sticky Fingers Arts (Newry), Monaghan County Library, Action for Children’s Art UK. A Child/youth project.

When We Were Kings And Queens

Ongoing project from 2023 with Robert Burns, Majella McAllister, and Chloe Browne. Adult focused project.

Robert Henri and the Children of Achill Project

Ongoing project. Majella McAllister, MoCI Project Lead, Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, MoCI, History Lead, NUIG, Anna Sutcliffe, MoCI Achill coordinator, and Áine Maguire, funded Researcher for the MoCI. Inter-generational project.

Dante to Joyce

Majella McAllister and Sonia Sartor with Ausilia Venturella, Tortorelle school, Italy – Annual children’s project.

Bloomsday

Ongoing annual child/youth projects from our Education team with Marsh’s Library, Dublin.

Collaborative Projects 2023

Collecting Childhood

The Children’s Literature Team worked on a collaborative, IRC project ‘Collecting Childhood’ during 2023 with the Children’s Literature Department at Trinity College Dublin. Leads, DR Jane Suzanne Carroll, Majella McAllister and Ciara Aoife O’Síoráin. Adult projects and Children’s projects.

FuturePastPresent Drogheda

Majella McAllister, Project Lead, Yagmur Burhan, Sonia Sartor, with Jamie McNamara, SPAB, and Jessica Farrell LEGO® artist. A collaborative project with Upstate Theatre. Inter-generational project.

Engage Kilkenny

Majella McAllister, Project Lead. Child/Youth Voice project

Children’s Art, Creativity & Play Workshops

Dakota Oliveira and Sofia Zambetti from Museum of Childhood Ireland with the Robert Emmet CDP and SICCDA – ongoing projects

Museum of Childhood Ireland and the Heritage Council’s CTCHC Projects, Tralee /Tipperary/Dundalk

Tralee:

Majella McAllister, Project Lead, Cliodhna Martin, Eoin O’Connor, Jamie McNamara. Child/youth project.

Tipperary:

Majella McAllister, Project Lead, Cliodhna Martin, Edgar Debel, Danny Sheehy, Jamie McNamara and with an incredible cast of thousands! Child/youth project.

Dundalk Town Centre’s historic Long Walk Trees:

Majella McAllister, Alison Harvey, Jamie McConville – With presentation day at Louth County Museum. Child/youth project.

Tralee, Tipperary and Dundalk were collaborative CTCHC projects with Alison Harvey at the Heritage Council.

Mayo County Council

Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

Irish Research Council

Heritage Council

Faber-Castell

Collaborative Town Centre Health Check Programme (Alison Harvey, Planning & Development)

Marsh’s Library

Robert Emmett CDP

Innov8 Creative Academy

Saoirse Ethnic Hands on Deck Co-Operative – Cork Migrant Project

https://www.universityofgalway.ie/cfrc/

https://www.qub.ac.uk/

SETU Carlow

University College Dublin

https://www.tcd.ie/

Fingal County Council

Bloomfields Shopping Centre

and a special thanks to the McCormack family for their help

The Museum is working with Saoirse Ethnic Hands on Deck, the Cork Migrant Project, and with Innov8, on our sustainable, ecological, ethical brand initiative ‘Kyle Na No’ for the museum.

We continue to expand our Home and Diaspora teams.

Would you like to volunteer alongside our Board and Team? Wherever you are in the world, we’d love you to get in touch. This is a museum of us all, and for us all!:

mmcallister@museumofchildhood.ie