Thursday 26 April 2018

'I wouldn't mind seeing death cafés in Ireland,' says retired RTE broadcaster Valerie Cox

RTE's Valerie Cox.
RTE's Valerie Cox.
Jason Kennedy

Jason Kennedy

A café where people can relax, eat cake and discuss their own mortality may not sound like the cheeriest way to spend an afternoon, but broadcaster Valerie Cox thinks it may be a welcome facility in Ireland.

The veteran journalist, who announced her retirement on RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke earlier this month, thinks Irish society should be more open about dealing with death.

Ms Cox spent two years studying a Master’s Degree in End of Life issues in UCC and is now eager to put it into practice.

“It’s an area we totally disregard, particularly the issue of our own death and how that’s going to be handled,” she said.

“I went to the UK last year, where they’re organising death cafes. This is where you walk in off the street, you talk about your death with similarly-minded people and you eat cake.

“It’s been a huge success. I wouldn’t mind seeing some of them in Ireland.”

So far there have been almost 3,000 death café events held across 33 countries. According to Death Café’s website, there have already been three events held in Dublin, with two more to be held later in the year.

Ms Cox is also working on two books at the moment.  One book is going to be a work of fiction, while the other book specialising on how Irish society deals with death.

The Wicklow local is planning a return to Greece in a few weeks, where she will volunteer with 5,000 displaced people in Athens.

The first few weeks of retired life isn’t exactly what Valerie expected, since she’s been kept busy with all her different projects.

“I’ve been so busy, I haven’t actually had a free day in my first two and a half weeks of retirement,” she said.

“I had a wonderful working life in RTE. Every month I got quite surprised that I got paid for what I did, because I enjoyed it so much.” 

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