24 Stories Podcast


S.2 Ep.18 - Marketing a Historic Brand with John Crotty

Season 2, Ep. 18

Tourism branding is the talk of the table today with former CEO of Spike Island John Crotty who today, works with Cork City Council focusing on the economic development of the city alongside the 'We Are Cork' brand that focuses on business in the city with it's ethos to encourage people to live, work, invest, study & visit Cork.

Prior to his role in tourism John worked lived in the UK where he worked in retail under Sainsbury's as Customer Service manager overseeing 14 stores across Wales. But a move back home to Ireland & his love for business & history intertwined when he took on the role as CEO of Spike Island during it's relaunch in 2016.

It's safe to say, building, maintaining & promoting a tourist brand is one of John's forte, which is evident in his time atSpike Island where he spent 6 years launching the Island as a prime tourist attraction in Cork. Through agile marketing, it led to great success over the years, where Spike Island receiving Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction & Irish finalist two years in a row. Over the years he was part of the team that transformed the island from a museum, to a concert hall, to hosting after dark tours to highlight the island's dark history.

Today he has aspirations to take his love for history & his experience at Spike Island & write a book on it's history. Stay tuned for it's release!

Advance talks with writing a history book on Spike Island.

More Episodes

Thursday, April 13, 2023

S.2 Ep.24 - Music Promotion & Podcasts with Joe Kelly

Season 2, Ep. 24
We finish the second series series of the podcast with music promoter Joe Kelly from The Good Room. Stephen talks to Joe about his extensive career in the music scene in Cork which began in the early 90s at the iconic Sir Henry's, to today hosting the much loved Live at St.Luke's.Joe is a self-professed 'blow-in' from Galway who came to Cork in the late 80s to study at UCC, and he has never left. He started his career as a DJ at venues across Cork that led to him organising his own successful club nights with Denis O'Mullane including the very popular Mór Disco in Zoe’s and Telefunkin in Metropole Hotel. Those nights kickstarted a vibrant career in music promotion which has seen him either run or co own infamous Cork venue's such as the Bodega, The Savoy, The Pavillion & others that no longer exist today. Joe talks about the highs of booking some of the worlds greatest acts but also the lows when the businesses had to close like the Pavillion did in 2014. Joe has played a vital part in the music & culture scene in Cork and today he keeps doing it alongside Ed Callahan at the Good Room. Today they are the maestro's behind Live at St.Lukes, one of Cork's most unique music experience as well as the It Takes a Village Festival and several others that are too long to mention. They are also the team behind the Cork Podcast Festival - one of the first festivals of its kind in Ireland that makes a triumphant return this year. We have a lot of entertaining nights in Cork to thank Joe for over the years.
Thursday, April 6, 2023

S.2 Ep.23 - Building The Herlihy Centra Group With CBA President Kevin Herlihy

Season 2, Ep. 23
President of Cork Business Association & co-owner of Herlihy Centra Group Kevin Herlihy is this weeks guest who looks back on the family business when his mother & father opened one of the first Centra's in Ireland to now owning 7 stores across Cork. The Herlihy Centra brand was started in 1980 by Kevin's parents who opened their first store in Bishopstown which is still in the heart of the community today.Kevin's career started in hospitality industry having studied it in college, however while working abroad in France he received the call, it was time to come back, give a hand & buy into the family business. From there, the family opened a further 6 stores across Cork & expanded to introduce Herlihy Foods - which is in partnership with Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland. Today Kevin & his brother run the business operating 7 stores, employing over 300 people & aspire to open to a further 3 in the near future.One innovative idea Kevin discusses is his introduction of a staff housing rental scheme in which staff moving to Cork who were without a home, would rent from Kevin via a letting agency. He began to work with Labrynth Recruitment in Croatia, to encourage employees to come & work in Ireland & who would be guaranteed a home during the course of their work. It's definitely something more businesses could consider to implement & to encourage the Government to assist in the process. As President of the Cork Business Association, it's something Kevin is very passionate about, to ensure business booms in Cork but that good staff are at the helm of these businesses.
Thursday, March 30, 2023

S.2 Ep.22 - The World of Fine Art with Dr E. Alana James

Season 2, Ep. 22
It's not everyday you can say you've created an artwork for a world renowned musician - but our guest Dr. E. Alana James can who was the creator behind the Zappa quilt! An artist & academic at heart, Alana has built a career combining both much to her success. Alana grew up in Colorado in the US in an academic household. However, it was an art teacher in high school who ignited her creativity & inspired Alana to pursue art, from there she continued into college to study fine art. She always believed she wanted to be a famous, successful artist, yet her first taste of that success made her realise, that fame & being in the public eye was not for her. That fame came when she was introduced to Frank Zappa through a friend during a tour in which one of his stage requests were that of female underwear being thrown on stage to be made into a quilt. It was then Alana knew she was fit for the job & was commissioned after approaching Frank Zappa. The final artwork was Frank portrayed as the King Of Spade, created by the woven underwear of his fans, its popularity amongst fans was immense. Having received letters from fans & being approached on the street, Alana decided fame in the artworld was not for her.She took a detour from art & went into the world of academia, earning a doctorate in Educational Leadership where she began to work with teens, homeless families, people in violence & drug abuse prevention through art. A move to Cork arose from a holiday in Ireland, when she landed she felt at home & 18 years later, the rest is history. Since the move she set up her own business Doctoral Net creating webinars for Masters & Doctorate students which are distributed to universities throughout the United States - an innovative way of learning, introduced well before our days of zoom. Yet her love of art is still prominent in her life & she continues to create artwork & exhibit. It's our first insight to the interesting world of fine art & the business behind it all.
Thursday, March 23, 2023

S.2 Ep.21 - Theatre & Entertainment with Cork Opera House CEO Eibhlín Gleeson

Season 2, Ep. 21
With music comes great power are the wise words of Cork Opera House CEO Eibhlín Gleeson who gives a behind the scenes insight to the intricate, creative world of entertainment programming. The Cork Opera House is an iconic landmark Leeside with over 160 years in operation, Eileen & the creative crew are planning a bigger & better programme to celebrate another milestone.Eileen comes from a very creative background, coming from a family of musicians & being a musician herself, knew a career in music was a must. She started her creative journey studying music in UCC where during her role in the Students Union she got her first taste of production & music programming when she established the first music week on campus showcasing the talented array of musicians in the university. That early role paved the way for a career in music & entertainment programming.Her first role in the industry began with the INEC in Killarney working in marketing, the box office & gaining experience into the business of entertainment programming. This led to other succession to working in Edinburgh on the famous Fringe Festival amongst others, directing & programming entertainment from music to comedy & theatre. A return home however led to a role as CEO of the Chamber Choir of Ireland using valuable lessons from previous roles.However one of the most exciting stories we hear about Eibhlín's career path was a year spent in Washington DC working at the infamous Kennedy Center on a fellowship programme working with a $200 million budget. One of the highlights of the experience was having the opportunity to bring the Chamber Choir of Ireland to the White where they sang for the Obama's on St.Patrick's Day.After a year Eibhlín returned to Ireland to use her skills from the US to set up her own company supporting artists. The Opera House happened to be one of her clients &when a job opportunity opened, she took a role as general manager before becoming CEO where she remains today. It's an exciting insight to the entertainment industry, the tough work that goes on behind the scenes to bring an array of entertainment to audiences.
Thursday, March 16, 2023

S.2 Ep.20 - Wedding Planning with Ciara Crossan

Season 2, Ep. 20
We get a behind the scenes glimpse into the wedding industry with all it's whistles & bells from the with founder of Wedding Dates Ciara Crossan who for over 15 years, has helped fulfil thousands of people's dream wedding days. From an early age Ciara knew the corporate world wasn't for her & the ultimate goal was to become her own boss, well that's exactly what she did! After completing a BIS degree in UCC, an Erasmus in Boston & a number jobs in global corporations, Ciara knew the office job wasn't for her. Instead she spent two years travelling the world on the advice from her father that she would earn a masters degree of life. At 25 years of age, with ambition & determination she set up Wedding Dates, an online platform & software connecting couples, venues & suppliers together to create client's wedding wishes. In the early days Ciara contacted almost every hotel in Ireland getting clients on board, keeping in mind, this was pre-social media days & overtime with success she expanded the business to the UK market. While the business has been met with challenges due to the complications of Brexit & the complete shut down of the industry of Covid, we hear valuable lessons in how to overcome obstacles in business. While there has been challenges along the way, Ciara has always had a fun spirit to the business carrying out quirky PR stunts where she was awarded for her accolades from running the Cork's Women's Marathon in her mother's wedding dress, to travelling all the way to Finland ina. campervan with friends, covering 7 countries in 7 days to partake in the Wife Carrying competition where Wedding Dates was crowined most entertaining couple. It's a fun, yet interesting insight to the world of weddings & the operations behind all the glamour.
Thursday, March 9, 2023

S.2 Ep.19 - Retail & Franchising with Paul Gallagher

Season 2, Ep. 19
Franchising & building reputable retail brands the the focus of this week with Paul Gallagher, managing partner for Skechers Ireland retail. Since its introduction to the Irish market in 2010, Paul & his partners have been the driving force behind the brand here.Paul has an extensive background in retail, kick-starting his career with Drummy's Shoes before becoming sales manager for Lee Cooper Jeans for the West of Ireland & later taking over Lee Jeans for Ireland. Having worked with these international clothing brands & in some cases introducing these big labels to the Irish market, he opened his own store Gasoline in Merchants Quay selling these well loved labels as well as the Gasoline label which was distributed in other stores across the country. With huge success he opened a further two stores in Patrick Street & Mahon Point Shopping Centre.However, his business was hit with some difficulties, following the recession & with an increase of rent for retail units in Cork City Centre, Gasoline was one of many stores that closed their doors in Cork City. The current retail vacancies, accessibility of the city & options for businesses in the city at the moment & the need to boost the city & revitalise it, is something Paul is passionate about.In 2016 Paul eventually sold the Gasoline brand to focus on Skechers which has expanding to 24 stores across the island & employs over 300 staff. Part of the ethos of the franchise in Ireland is giving back tot he community, sponsoring charity events, sporting events & teams. Tune in to hear the ins & outs of operating an international franchise & Paul's plans in the pipeline for the brand as well as his own ventures with SHUZ 4 U.