Damien Geoghegan is a Fine Gael Councillor from Dungarvan who is currently serving as the Mayor of Waterford. Damien has served as a councillor for many years and is incredibly proud of his homeplace, Dungarvan. A lover of sport, the arts and all things local – Damien can often be seen at various events accompanied by his wife Natanya. He has two kids, Ronan and Caragh. A lover of the simple things in life, Damien believes that Waterford is one of the greatest places on Earth, and you would struggle to find anyone more passionate about the county than the current Mayor.
What were you like growing up, did you always think you’d end up where you are today?
It is always hard to know where you’re eventually going to end up, but I think everybody finds their own niche. From a public service viewpoint, I always had an interest in current affairs locally and nationally, and politics when I was growing up. I would have always loved election time especially, and I would get involved and help my father who would’ve been heavily involved in campaigning and canvassing for Fine Gael and Austin Deasy. The politics of Garret Fitzgerald excited me and motivated me during my teenage years of the 1980s. That is where I cut my teeth both electorally and politically. I really count myself honored that the public have placed their trust in me, and I absolutely love where I’m from and working to bring about improvements and investment in our communities is what reality gives me satisfaction.
Who would you say has been your greatest inspiration?
I don’t necessarily have any individuals who I look to for inspiration, but I really admire (and am inspired by) ordinary people who face tough challenges on a daily basis in their daily lives, yet they persevere and remain positive and determined.
What does your ideal weekend look like?
I like to relax at home on a Friday night with a glass of wine (or two!). I take our family-dog Teddy for a walk on Saturday mornings, with The Waterford Greenway and Clonea Strand being particular favourites for me. I love sport (Horse-racing, Football, GAA), so I like nothing better than a good weekend of sport also. Sunday might will involve taking a drive somewhere in the county to one of our many beautiful destinations (Lismore, Mount Mellary, Tramore, Dunmore East, Ardmore, Mahon Falls), and return home then for a pint outside The Anchor Bar or Moorings in Dungarvan, where I watch the world go by. Summer days and evenings are glorious in Dungarvan.
What’s your favourite ever piece of art (book, film, song, album) and why?
I have many favourites across all aspects of the arts. Favourite Poem: “Wild Swans at Coole” by Yeats. Favourite Movie: Mississippi Burning. Favourite Song: “Rainy Night in Soho” by The Pogues. Shane McGowan is arguably one of Ireland’s finest-ever writers. In reality, he’s a poet who could hold his own with any writer or poet of this or any previous generation. Favourite Album: “Rum, Sodomy and The Lash” by The Pogues.
What is your pride and joy in life?
My family is my absolute pride and joy. My wife Natanya and two children Ronan and Caragh. I count myself very lucky!
What would you say is your worst characteristic?
I can be quite impatient at times.
What is your pet hate?
People who incessantly whine and complain over relatively minor issues get me every time.
What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Keep positive. Always remain ambitious. Work hard.
What is it that you love most about Waterford?
The people! We live in a beautiful part of the world, but the reality is that people really make a place special. I absolutely love the Waterford sense of humour. You can’t bate it boy!
Tell me something interesting about you that not everyone will know.
Here is an interesting one–My name isn’t Damien! I was actually Christened Patrick Geoghegan!
If you could change one thing in the world what would that be?
End world hunger and end child-exploitation.
If you could do or be anything else – what would you choose?
A writer or journalist! I love to write. I might write a book someday about my exploits as Councillor. You’d be amazed at the things we come across in our work!
Do you have regrets, or are you someone who always looks forward?
I think everyone may have done or said things that they may regret, but generally- speaking I have no big regrets in life. Enjoy the journey and do the best you can. That’s my philosophy. It isn’t a dress-rehearsal!
If you could choose to travel anywhere in the world what would be your destination?
I’ve travelled quite a bit over the years, and it’s something I really love to do. I love the buzz of being in a big city, and New York and Washington DC are favourites of mine, as I spent a couple of summers on the East Coast of the U.S. when I was in my early-twenties, but my favourite destination to visit is London. It’s magical. Everything from sport to drama to fashion to politics to history. It really has it all and is constantly changing and evolving.
Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?
Hopefully we’ll be living life to the full, with no restrictions! Lockdowns and the difficulties that Covid brought will be but a distant memory. Isn’t that what we all want?!