‘Hopefully cafés and restaurants can remain open. Like the arts, they’re badly missed’  

What I do…

Rhona McGrath, Arts Officer, Roscommon County Council


What time does your day start?

 I get up around 7.30 am, with a view to starting work at 8.45 or 9 am, whether that is office-based or working remotely – it’s a blended approach these days!


What’s the first thing you have to do?

If I’m working remotely I’ll have time for a short run – well it’s more of a ‘wun’ (walk/run) – along by the canal in Boyle. My working day starts with a coffee! Then it’s time for a quick check of emails before responding to any straight away.


Where does your day take you?

My office is in Áras an Chontae in Roscommon town. Before Covid, I would have expected to attend various events throughout the county and nationally. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to meet many people at all since I took up the post in May this year.

However, being from Roscommon, I am fairly familiar with the local arts scene. But I’m definitely looking forward to getting out and about in 2021!


What do you listen to in the office?

My colleagues, because have an open plan office! Before work I listen to Radio One. I can’t listen to the radio or music while working, I find it too distracting.

Unless of course it’s part of the working day, and that’s the lovely thing about my job is the variety of both audio and visual work I experience from the great artists locally and nationally!


What do you do for lunch?

I usually bring a lunch in with me if I’m in the office and we’ve also got very good facilities in the canteen. If I’m working from home, I haven’t far to go!

Occasionally I’ll arrange to meet a friend or colleague for lunch. Hopefully cafés and restaurants can remain open. Like the arts, they’re badly missed when closed and so important for our social interactions with friends, family and the public in general. But a great place for lunch if the weather is dry, even at Level 5, is Lough Key Forest & Activity Park where the outdoor food carts are open for business, and a walk is an optional extra!


Best thing about your job?

Working with artists and creatives to plan for and support arts projects and events. And then seeing or reading of the public response and engagement.


Worst thing about your job?

This year, it’s the devastating impact of the pandemic on arts events, particularly physical and live arts events. 2020 and the impact of Covid-19 will be forever watermarked in our consciousness. I look forward to continuing to support artists and arts organisations as they plan their way back to full activity.


What time do you clock off?

That can be hard to do! Generally I finish up at around 5.30 or 6 pm.


Who’s at home?

My husband Jim, our children Luke and Sally and our new puppy Roxy!


How do you wind down in the evening?

If not attending a committee meeting (now less often of course, and via Zoom), or on ‘taxi’ duty (mainly to football training as Luke is on the Roscommon Minor panel and Sally plays with Boyle GAA), I try to tune into some arts events online. I love singing too and very much miss singing with the choir in Boyle.

I also like to watch some TV or Netflix dramas and I enjoy reading too. I’m really looking forward to experiencing live music and theatre again as well as the longer evenings when I can get out and about again in the outdoors.