FORMER Minister for Justice and now presenter of TV3's Midweek and Mastermind, Nora Owen has lived in the same house in Malahide since 1969 and has no intention of moving from her beloved coastal village.
'My husband and I both worked in Linson which is now Bristol Meyers in Swords. We are both chemists and we worked there and at lunch-time we would drive around looking for a house where we could settle down. ' We looked in Swords and Malahide was just starting to develop. There was old Malahide and then Ard na Mara was really the first of the new housing developments in the area. They were building bungalows in Ard na Mara and we would watch them build and eventually we decided to buy one.'
Nora said she was not politically involved at the time but slowly, her interest in local issues brought her into the political sphere, first as secretary and chairperson of her residents association and then onto Malahide Community Council. 'We were both working in Swords so I didn't get terribly involved that much in Malahide at first and our social life really revolved around our work life. 'It wasn't until 1971 that we put our name down to adopt our eldest son and we got him in February 1972 and then I began to get involved in Malahide.' So what is it about living in Malahide that she loves so much?
Nora said: 'Well first of all it is living near the sea. I was born and raised in Clontarf and I couldn't have envisaged living inland. ' Then there is the actual village itself. We are indebted to the people who developed the village around a crossroads which allowed us to keep a village heart and even with the developments all around, we still have a tight village centre.' Of course there is also Malahide Castle and Demesne which Nora describes as the ' jewel in the crown of Fingal'. In the wider Fingal, it is the unique blend of urban and rural life in the county that is a big attraction for Nora and her family.
She explained: ' When the children were young we loved to go out into the rural north county and I love that about Fingal – within five or ten minutes of a big conurbation like Swords or Balbriggan you can be in the middle of the countryside. We used to go out into those back roads and pick blackberries.' Nora added: 'I think it is sometimes forgotten about Fingal that it is the last remaining rural countryside in Dublin within a few minutes of the city.' Now having the most active retirement anyone could imagine and in the midst of a whole new career in media, Nora cannot see herself leaving her beloved Malahide.
She said: 'I can't really see myself living anywhere else. We are both getting on in years and both retired and I couldn't see myself leaving the area. 'I'm still involved locally in a non-political way. I was on a little group that got together to bring back the Fry Model Railway and I'm part of another group looking at the concept of secure housing for older people.' 'I'm still out there and still involved,' Nora concluded.