Meet the people who are behind the writing workshops, outreach programmes and operations at Fighting Words.
We work in partnership with schools, libraries, theatres, cultural organisations to provide opportunities for children, young people & adults with additional needs with “the write to right.”
Editor Mc Conkey
Editor Mc Conkey has been terrorised by children since Fighting Words opened its doors in 2009. Editor McConkey is a proponent of both doughnuts and creativity, as well as being a firm believer that KIDS CAN'T WRITE STORIES. Children have been proving Editor McConkey wrong on a daily basis for over 15 years.
Hobbies include: nose hair trimming, gangrene-toenail clipping and attempting to force volunteer mentors to do the homework of the talented young authors who come through the magic door.
Editor McConkey's favourite word is child-free.
Sara has over 20 years’ experience in volunteer management, operations and human resources in the nonprofit sector in Ireland. Originally from Connecticut in the United States, Sara joined Fighting Words in 2009. She oversees the volunteer programme, communications and provides operational support to all Fighting Words locations.
Sara holds a BA in history from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, an M.Phil in Medieval History from Trinity College Dublin and has CIPD qualifications in human resources management from the National College of Ireland. Sara loves walking around the places she’s read about in history books, swimming in the sea and daydreaming. Sara is committed to providing the best and most inclusive experience possible for all Fighting Words volunteers.
Her favourite word is firecracker.
Scaling Education Project Officer and Kildare Coordinator
Pierina started working with young people when she interned for Fighting Words Wicklow in 2018. She joined the staff as Project Coordinator for Wicklow and Kildare in 2020. Pierina now co-ordinates the Scaling Education Project and manages workshop programme in Kildare.
Graduating from Maynooth University with a BA in English and Sociology, she continued to complete her MA in Children's and Young Adult Literature in Dublin City University. Pierina is a strong believer in the power of imaginations as she loves to journey through many fictional worlds via books and the wonderful stories created at Fighting Words. She is dedicated to giving everyone the opportunity to have their voices heard, especially young people.
Her favourite word is blurb - try saying it fast at least ten times!
Mark has worked with children and young people both professionally and as a volunteer for over ten years. He has been involved with Fighting Words since 2014, having always been drawn towards anything related to words and creativity and he hasn’t looked back since.
Mark graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in French and Philosophy and then completed a master’s degree in Cognitive Science to find out where imagination comes from. He still doesn’t know the answer to that question but is having a whale of time searching. When he isn’t reading, scribbling in a notebook or working with groups of writers you’ll find Mark outside, either in the woods or in the sea.
His favourite type of jellyfish is the moon jellyfish and his favourite word is lassitude.
Development Manager & 100 Years Project Coordinator
Seán Farrelly has been involved in Fighting Words since 2018. He has also had four plays produced and three short stories published. Seán is involved in both Freshly Ground Theatre Company, as a dramaturg and workshop facilitator, and the International Congress of Youth Voices, speaking at youth activist events around the world. He has an aggressively fluffy dog called Penny and a penchant for collecting more books than he'll ever read.
His favourite word (today!) is wonderstruck.
Information Technology Administrator
Emmy is an information systems administrator with 17 years experience of both volunteering and working in the nonprofit sector in Ireland, first for Amnesty International Ireland and at Fighting Words since 2010. Emmy holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Information Systems from Trinity College Dublin. He joined Fighting Words in October 2010 and is responsible for all IT systems management, security, and administration.
Emmy loves every sport there is but especially football.
Wicklow Project Coordinator
Helen is a writer and arts worker with a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing, both from University College Dublin. Her professional background is in educational publishing and theatre, though her first job ever was in a toy shop (she says yes, it was as fun as it sounds, and yes, she did get to play with the toys).
After joining Fighting Words as a volunteer mentor in 2022, Helen took up the role of Wicklow Project Coordinator in 2023. She has long been an advocate for the literary arts as an outlet for self expression, and she believes that creative writing in all it's many forms is not only enormous fun, but can also have great utility, both at the personal level and communally.
Her favourite word is 'indubitably'. It means 'impossible to doubt', but she likes it just because it's fun to say.
Louise is a drama facilitator and playwright. Her work in Fighting Words began as an intern many moons ago and in September of 2022 she took up the position of Project Administrator. Louise is also a playwriting mentor in Fighting Words Young Playwrights Programme, with the Abbey Theatre.
Louise holds a BA in Drama (Performance) from DIT and an M.Phil in Theatre and Performance from Trinity College. In 2015 she trained as a drama facilitator with NAYD through ArtsTrain and has been a freelance facilitator since then. She has facilitated workshops in DYT, ITW, on the Tenderfoot Theatre programme and in a range of primary and secondary schools.
Her favourite word is onomatopoeia. Which sounds fancy, but it’s fun. It’s a word that sounds like the noise it describes. Like oink, boing, pop, cackle!
Seirce Mhac Conghail
Comhordaitheoir Tionscadail Gaeilge
Is as Baile Átha Cliath do Sheirce, áit inar bhain siad céim amach i mBéarla agus Gaeilge ó Choláiste na Tríonóide i 2022.
Tá Seirce tar éis a bheith gafa le leis na healaíon, idir litríocht, dhrámaíocht, agus fhéilte leis na blianta anuas, le béim ar obair dheonach agus ar an tseafóid. Foilsíodh scata dánta acu in irisí, agus ghlacadar páirt sa scéim Scéal Úr le TG4, ILBF, agus BBC Gaeilge. Tá grá acu do theangacha, don gcruthaitheacht, agus do gach madra beo.
Braitheann an focal is fearr leo ar an lá. Is é amanathar an focal is fearr leo inniu.
Nóra Nic Con Ultaigh
Nóra is Education Director with Fighting Words and contributes to teacher training education at Dublin City University. She has over twenty years of experience working in the arts in education sector. She is a founding member of Cups and Crowns Education Theatre Company and established the Ard-Dioplóma sa Drámaíocht for Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge,Ollscoil na Gaillimhe – University of Galway.
Nóra spent ten years teaching English and French in Coláiste Mhuire in Cabra, Dublin 7. She is also a Creative Associate with the Creative Schools programme.
When she is not working, Nóra can be found rowing currachs in Dublin Bay or swimming in the sea.
An focal is ansa léi ná an focal fánach.
Colm Ó Cuanacháin
Colm was appointed Executive Director of Fighting Words in 2023. He joined Fighting Words in 2020 as Education Director.
Colm was a primary school teacher in Gaelscoil na Cille and principal at Gaelscoil Aonach Urmhumhan and Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn Educate Together in Cork.
Colm has a PhD in human rights education from the University of Leicester. Colm worked in human rights and development education with Comhlámh, served as Secretary General of Amnesty International in Dublin, as head of campaigns with ActionAid International and as Senior Director with Amnesty International in London.
Colm can sometimes be spotted on a small old sailing dinghy in his native Co Cork - something you would know if you ever heard him speak as Gaeilge nó as Béarla!
Development and Outreach Officer
Colm has worked in the arts as a musician, teacher and facilitator since 1995. Colm studied at the Drake Music Project, learning how to facilitate music workshops for children with disabilities and additional needs.
In 2011 Colm was appointed Head of Songwriting at BIMM Institute while studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Music Education at Middlesex University. Colm went on to study Technology Enhanced Learning Teaching and Assessment at TU Dublin.
Colm started volunteering with Fighting Words in 2010 before joining as Development and Outreach Officer in 2018. Colm is committed to ensuring that Fighting Words programmes are accessible to as many people as possible. Colm is a nerd when it comes to music and likes to be involved with all musical developments at Fighting Words.
His favourite word is bamboozled.
Comhordaitheoir na gClár Gaeilge
Is as an gCeathrú Rua i nGaeltacht Chonamara í Bríd-Treasa. Chaith sí seal ag obair mar aisteoir agus mar láithreoir teilifíse. Bhain sí céim amach sa mBéarla agus sa tSiceolaíocht in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, rinne sí iarchéim san oideachas i gColáiste Mhuire gan Smál agus rinne sí cúrsa sa nGaeilge fheidhmeach agus san aistriúchán le hInstiitiúid Teicneolaíochta na Gaillimhe-Maigh Eo.
Chaith sí blianta ag obair mar mhúinteoir bunscoile. Faoi láthair oibríonn sí cúpla lá sa tseachtain ag múineadh Gaeilge d'fhoghlaimeoirí fásta in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh agus caitheann sí an chuid eile den am ag obair mar chomhordaitheoir le Fighting Words Chonamara. Is breá léi a bheith ag cur na cruthaitheachta chun cinn.
Is é rósamhach an focal is fearr léi.