A Day in the Life: Edel Golden


STEPPING BACK IN TIME Edel Golden pictured in period dress at the 2017 National Heritage Day in Ballina, one of the busiest days for the Manager of the Jackie Clarke Collection.

I’m not a great morning person so I reluctantly get out of the bed at around 7.30am or 8am. I wouldn’t be a big breakfast person either but I do need my tea to function so a cup of tea will be one of the first things I have in the morning. I drink quite a lot of tea!
Myself and my husband Shane Healy are currently building a house in Ballycastle but we’re living in Ballina at the minute so I’m only five minutes away from work, I’m spoilt with that.
Days in the Jackie Clarke Collection vary wildly depending on the time of year. I’m the day-to-day manager but a big part of my work concerns going through the archive and digitising documents so I’ll be up on the second floor doing a lot of that.
Jackie Clarke was a Ballina businessman and a collector of Irish historical material. In 2005 his widow, Anne, gifted his collection to Mayo County Council. Jackie had an archive of over 100,000 items so you can imagine there’s a lot of work to be done there. We’re currently building an archive to go online.
With my background this is the perfect job. I’ve a degree in history and in media and communications so I can do the archive work without us having to get in someone else to do it and I can be doing it when I can, especially when it is not as busy here. It is very interesting to be going through the different items and very easy to get sidetracked! There is a basic list of what is there but we’re trying to get to grips fully with what we have so we’re going though all the items, photographing them and so on.
We’d be very busy this week now with the Salmon Festival and National Heritage Week. There’s always events on as well and you could get roped into anything! The National Heritage Day is tomorrow (Wednesday) and it is our busiest day of the year too.
For instance for all of 2017 we had just short of 30,000 people through the doors. For just one day, National Heritage Day 2017, we had almost 5,000 people here.
The garden here is quite a draw and, particularly with the good weather, you will see people coming in here with there lunch and eating it in the garden. It creates a lovely atmosphere. All the staff tend to do the same so for lunch we’d go to one of the many cafes just up the road on Pearse Street and get a sandwich and bring it back and have our lunch in the grounds.
We’re located in the building and grounds of what used to be the old provincial bank. It closed in 1977 and Mayo County Council bought it in 2007. The Jackie Clarke Collection opened in 2013 and I’m here since 2015.
Prior to that I worked with Irish TV in Westport and then in Áras Inis Gluaire in Belmullet.
All of us working here are really passionate about our work. There is a nice, happy atmosphere here. It’s a great place to work and I’m definitely very lucky with my job. There’s three of us here full-time and six people on a community employment scheme. We’re open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday.
I tend to finish up sometime between 5pm and 6pm. In the evenings a lot of my time is taken up with the fact that I am a sheep farmer. A lot of people are taken aback when they hear that! So the evenings are spent outdoors in Ballycastle up near the Céide Fields. Between myself, my husband and my mother-in-law we have a lot of animals.
I’m very proud to say I have 70 sheep myself. I did the Green Cert last year so I’m not just the farmer’s wife, I’m a farmer in my own right! I come from a farming background myself, in Kilfian. I’m also on the executive of Ballycastle GAA Club so there’s plenty to keep me busy in the evenings.
When I get back home I love to watch a film or my guilty pleasure at the minute, which is Love Island. Isn’t it everyone’s guilty pleasure?! I wouldn’t be a big fan of watching series but I love reading. I love sci-fi and fantasy.
I’m a massive Harry Potter fan. We got engaged on one of the sets from the film, on Platform 9 3/4, where the train for Hogwarts leaves from. My husband isn’t a huge Harry Potter fan but he knows I am so he pulled out all the stops.
I love my sleep but I’ve a bad habit of not going to bed early enough. There’s no sleep in at the weekends either, not with the farming and building a house. There’s always something that needs to be done.

In conversation with Edwin McGreal

Name: Edel Golden
From: Kilfian, Ballina
Age: 30
Occupation: Manager, Jackie Clarke Collection, Ballina

Quickfire Questions

If money was no object, what would you do all day?
Probably living at home in Ballycastle and farming, not having to worry about bills or mortgages.

Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?
Very few people know I’m a sheep farmer!

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
I had crocodile before when I was in Spain. It was kind of like not very nice chicken. 

Where’s your favourite place in the world?
If not home, I’d have to go with Tanzania. We were there for a safari and it was just the most beautiful place.

What makes you angry?
I’m pretty easy going but I don’t like lies, people should be upfront.

Name three things that are always in your fridge?
I’m not a great cook so the fridge contents would be basic enough! Ham, cheese and milk.

What makes you nervous?
The lead up to any event in the museum, hoping that it will go well for everyone.

Favourite TV show?
I love The Golden Girls.

Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?
Barack Obama, when I was working for Irish TV in the White House on St Patrick’s Day.

What do you miss most about being a kid?
The freedom before you had summer jobs. Having these endless summers stretching out in front of you.

What’s your most prized possession?
Shane got me a personalised Harry Potter engagement ring box which I absolutely love.

Best advice you ever got?
Sometimes you don’t need to control everything, let things go with the flow.
Describe yourself in three words?
Positive, creative and a good friend.

How do you unwind?
Getting outdoors and walking or reading.