Arts Interview: Tracy McElligott

John Rainsford


John Rainsford

Arts interview: Tracy McElligott
Born in Ballynanty into a family of five children I have a twin brother and three sisters.

Born in Ballynanty into a family of five children I have a twin brother and three sisters.

We moved to Kileely just before my first birthday and I lived there until I was 19 years old. At that time I went to live and work in Germany for two years. After my return home I lived in Kileely again until I married my husband, Vincent, in 1984. I have two daughters and now live in Caherdavin.

My education took place in St Lelia’s Primary School in Kileely, before going on to St. Munchin’s Girls School in Ballynanty.

From there, I went to St. Mary’s Secondary School and was one of the first pupils to move to the new school in Corbally. Later, as a mature student, I graduated from University College Cork (UCC) with a Diploma in Youth and Community Development.

Grace Dyas from THEATREclub came to Moyross earlier this year to discuss the production of a show using groups from the area.

This award winning Theatre Company worked with, and within, the Community of Moyross for five weeks in order to help devise a successful show. It will, finally, be performed in the Lime Tree Theatre shortly. Our production will primarily illustrate the differences between the realities of peoples’ lives, here, as opposed to the media headlines that we have seen from time to time. The show will focus on the history of the estates, the stories and the experiences of the people who live here and the memories of its older generations. The production will be aided by community workers and academic experts specialising in the area of social policy. However, the performance will be devised and performed by the people of Moyross themselves.

The performance will be an opportunity to see another side of our community that is not often portrayed in the media.

It will also be an opportunity for the local residents themselves to tell their own individual stories, to share their lives, their joys, their dreams, their achievements and their hopes for the future. The production will allow local people to show the sort of pride that is very much alive in this community. It will also provide a great opportunity for our hard working agencies to come together with the community in a true spirit of partnership, maintaining and supporting a vibrant sustainable community.

Moyross Residents’ Forum, together with the Corpus Christi Primary School, and the Office of Regeneration, have organised five very successful professional plays thus far.

These have included Bondi Beach, The Little Gem, Dear Frankie, Tom Crean and recently, The Love Hungry Farmer. These have been attended by over 210 residents and friends. Limerick, today, is a great city with a wealth of culture and history. I am so proud to be from Limerick and this year, in particular, we have the perfect opportunity to showcase this to the rest of the country and beyond. In addition, to being a development worker with the Moyross Residents’ Forum I have, also, been a voluntary youth leader with Caherdavin Youth Club for the past 22 years. We meet every Friday night in the Caherdavin Community Centre (from 7.30pm to 9.00pm) and cater for young people who are in their first year of Secondary School and upwards. I have been privileged, in this role, to have worked with some great people, both in the past, and at present, in the club. These people have given generously of their time and have shown great commitment to work with the young people of Caherdavin and surrounding areas. I am also part of Happy Feet Dance Group which meets every Tuesday night in the Corpus Christi Primary School in Moyross (from 7.00pm to 8.00pm). There are over 40 ladies in our group and everyone is welcome to come along. It is an hour of great fun with lots of positive energy and you are guaranteed to leave each week with a smile on your face.

Currently, I am part of the Moyross Creative Community Arts Group, along with Ursula Dundon, our Chairperson, Geraldine Clohessy, Monica Spencer, Karen O’Donnell O’Conner and Liz Price.

There is so much talent in our community with story tellers, poets, dancers, dramatists, musicians and singers. At the moment we are working with Limerick City and Co. Councils who are funding arts workshops in Moyross and are consulting with the community to see what they would like to do in the future. These workshops include music, dance, drama and story telling with Mike Finn, Helena Close and Jenny Traynor and have been very successful.

There have been many influential people throughout my life. Mostly, these are everyday ordinary people who face extraordinary challenges with a smile on their faces without the world knowing. I try and stay positive and am inspired by those little things that people do on a daily basis to help each other out. These things, often, go unseen and unrecognised. It is very challenging for all community groups, at present, but you just have to do what you can, with what you have, working with the support of the community.

Generally, I tend to look at things for what they are and not to overly complicate them.

My job can sometimes be very challenging but, also, very rewarding. The support of local residents makes everything much easier. There are wonderful residents, here, in Moyross. Indeed, they are no different from any other community in the country. It is the media that sometimes portray the Community of Moyross inaccurately!

The People of Moyross will perform at Lime Tree Theatre from April 30 until May 3 inclusive at 8pm. The project is funded under the Made in Limerick initiative by Limerick City of Culture 2014. For more information see or ring 061- 774774.