Miriam meets...... Dr Anne Looney and her sister Fiona Looney
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Dr Anne Looney and her sister Fiona Looney tell Miriam about their childhood in the Greenhills area of south Dublin. Their parents moved there as newly weds and the sisters reflect on the value of living your early life in one community. That said, they explain to their parents moved house frequently in their childhood.
The sisters weren't close as children - the three year age gap seemed very wide. But when Fiona was seventeen, she borrowed her sisters new white jumper without asking permission. The jumper was destroyed with tomato ketchup and Fiona says that Anne's gracious response to this calamity changed their relationship. Anne dates their adult relationship to Fiona's years in London when Anne was a regular visitor to Fiona's home.
While Anne as a high academic achiever, Fiona was less fond of study. Anne went on to college, became a teacher and now works in education. Fiona went to college to study journalism but left after a year to work in Hot Press.
Both sisters recall their father. He was from Macroom, County Cork and the sisters talk of his great sense of humour and interest in sport. He died three years ago and they remember his illness and death. They grew up in a household where there was a great interest in religion. They describe how the death of their father impacted on their faith. Both continue to go to Mass.
Fiona tells Miriam that if she hadn't worked in Hot Press with such an interesting group of people (including writers Declan Lynch, Graham Linehan, Arthur Matthews and musician Paul Woodfull) she might never have become a creative writer or a playwright.
Fiona has written a trilogy of plays telling stories of suburban women's lives. The most recent one, Greener, opens in The Gaiety Theatre in Dublin next week. She describes the nerves associated with an opening night.
Anne explains to Miriam about her work as CEO of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. She describes some of the challenges they face when looking at the issue of Leaving Cert reform.
Miriam asks both women what made them so independent minded - they credit their parents, their school and the fact that Santa brought them a set of encyclopedia for Christmas, with each of the four children getting a number of their volumes.
They chose Mise Eire by Sean O Riada; The Lark by Moving Hearts and Anthem by Leonard Cohen