We meet Joy, President of the St Patrick’s Society Singapore; she lives in Singapore with husband Colm and children Saoirse (9), Aoibhínn (8) and Oisín (5). (Eldest child Daimhlinn, 24, is currently travelling in Australia.) On top of this important role at the St Patrick’s Society, she also coaches girls rugby and holds down a full time job in alternative investment! Let’s hear her story.
Where are you from originally? What do you miss about it?
I’m from a small town in Tipperary, in the middle of Ireland. I miss the people, the food and the culture. We have been living outside of Ireland for over 11 years and I feel like I’ve gotten more Irish the longer I am away! Our three youngest were born in Asia and I suppose that we worked hard to help them understand our culture and food.
When we moved to Hong Kong with our work, it took us a very long time to feel at home, and a long time to build a network of friends. We learned lessons from that. When my husband’s job led to a move to Singapore, we threw ourselves into getting settled in. I got involved in the St Patrick’s Society and the Irish community, and now every week we’re at Irish Dancing classes with Irish Inspirational Dance, and Gaelic Football training with Singapore Gaelic Cubs. We’re seeing more and more Irish food available on Inish Bia and RedMart, even in the larger supermarkets, so I feel very at home here now.
Tell us a bit about your work and projects in Singapore.
I work for a major global bank in alternative investment solutions. Outside of work, I volunteer as a coach for girls’ rugby with Centaurs, and I’m President of the St Patrick’s Society. I love to build and nurture relationships and so, while on the face of things these three activities seem very different, they’re essentially the same.
In the St Patrick’s Society we focus on building a community, and celebrating Irish culture through social gatherings and events. March is a very busy time, with many events to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. For the girls’ rugby, we focus on developing their rugby skills and building their confidence while working as a team. My day job focuses on building and nurturing relationships with clients.
Where is your home in Singapore and how long have you lived there?
Weʼve been living in the same house since we moved here almost five years ago – it’s near Dover MRT.
What do you like to do in Singapore when you’re not working?
I love to run! Iʼm not very good at it but I love the mental release it gives me. I used to run cross country as a kid, but running in the heat of Singapore is miles away from running barefoot in fields in the Irish countryside.
What are you looking forward to most for 2023?
When things started opening up, I signed up for a few running races; I did the Trifactor RunSwimRun and a couple of 5ks. I also signed up to Standard Chartered 10k but didn’t compete due to various reasons. So this year I want to run a 10k race. Iʼve also signed up for the next Trifactor freshman triathlon and hope to survive it!
Quick questions about Singapore: what is your favourite …
Casual restaurant? Takeshi San, Holland Village. My family love it and we regularly eat our own weight in the world’s best chicken wings and sushi!
Bar? I have to stay loyal to the Irish pubs, so Muddy Murphy’s, Scruffy Murphy’s and Molly Malone’s; for a cheeky local drink, we go to Bar Bar Black Sheep.
Local food? Alibabar.
Nature space? The Rail Corridor.
Nearby holiday destination? Phuket is close and it’s easy with the kids.
If you’d like to get involved with a fun group of people, find out how you can join the St Patrick’s Society Singapore here. There are individual, couples and family memberships starting from $53 for a year. stpatssingapore.org
This article first appeared in the July 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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