Tipperary Town native Mags Blackburn works as a publicist with Bluemonkey PR. She holds a Masters in Journalism from DIT and has been working in music PR for five years.
What's your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend in Tipperary?
My perfect weekend involves eating good food, being active, seeing friends and listening to music. Tipperary is blessed with beautiful scenery and plenty of good food and I love being able to bring friends here to show it off.
Who has made the greatest contribution to Tipperary in your lifetime - and why?
Nicky English is a name I associate closely with my childhood.
What's your favourite part of the county - and why?
I love to hike as does my husband. We have a couple of favourite trails that we keep coming back to but we love exploring and trying out new ones. Depending on our mood we are looking for spectacular scenery, a challenge or something our dog can join us on. Between mountains, forests and lakes Tipperary has lots of options for us.
I have climbed Galteemore several times, each time different, and I love that on a clear day you can see as far as far as the Shannon and beyond to the north or the Comeragh Mountains in Waterford. The best sandwich you will ever have is on the top of a mountain.
What do you think gives Tipperary its unique identity?
I’m a history nerd so I can’t help but see that Tipperary’s identity is closely tied to both a strong sporting tradition as well as a rich history. The GAA was formed here, Tipperary is its home. You can actually walk in the footsteps of early Irish history in places like the Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle.
Tipperary also figures heavily in the formation of the Irish Republic including the War of Independence. And because of its central location, road network and river system we are spoiled for access to so many beauty spots and outdoor activities. Tipperary also has a remarkable music and arts tradition from The Clancy brothers to Gemma Hayes just to name a few. It’s all an all-rounder in other words.
What's the biggest challenge facing the county today?
I think economically Tipperary has been failed in the past. Hopefully there are ways to utilise its unique features including historic sites, outdoor activities, its sporting history and arts centres that could revitalise villages and towns.
If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Tipperary, what would it be?
I would like to see Tipperary get more recognition for the beautiful place it is. There are people trying, you can see that with the development of Blueways and Greenways. But I feel it needs more support in order to develop and take advantage of the things that make it special. Unemployment is an ongoing issue in Tipperary and Covid has badly affected retail and hospitality. Tipperary needs people and government working to put in place solutions and funding that can solve these.
What has impressed you the most about how the music/ entertainment industry has adapted during the pandemic?
The artists in Ireland are incredible. The have shown they are resilient and have continued to create art over the past year in what have been extraordinary and uncertain months. The industry and the government need to rise up to meet them.
Do you think people will be more appreciative of live events/ music/ arts after the pandemic?
People became more aware of the importance of live events, music and the arts because of the pandemic. A certain amount of complacency may have set in because these things always seemed to just exist. The pandemic showed just how fragile the system is, how easily it can be taken away and how important these things are to people’s quality of life.
People now have a better understanding and therefore can appreciate what it takes to put on a show, write an album and exist as an artist in Ireland.