Saturday, 28 March 2009


Denise Gallanagh Wood was born in Subiaco in Perth, Western Australia. Her father, Joseph Gallanagh was originally from Buncrana and her mother, Anne is from Wexford and lives in Buncrana near her daughter. Denise’s travels took her to New Zealand, where she met her husband James. Denise worked in Human Services specialising in Community Development and on returning to Buncrana in 2003 she trained as a Life Coach. Her business STARRS focuses on Life Coaching (Business and Personal), Facilitation, (Workshops and Team Building) and Training (Personal Training, Conflict Management, Sustainable Development and Community Development).

You can contact Denise on 086 401 9987 (NI: 078 95612894 or by e-mail:

What music are you listening to at the moment?

I have eclectic tastes. I love music from the soul singers of the 1950’s and 60’s. Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, Nancy Sinatra, they are all fabulous. I also enjoy also songs by The Cure, Smiths, Madness. There’s a band called Midnight Oil from Australia that have done some classic songs, let’s not forget the Dubliners too.

What book are you reading?
I have four books on the go. My mother in law sent me over a copy of The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie for my birthday. The book has a succession of interweaving stories by a variety of storytellers, travellers and adventurers. I have also nearly finished Carbon Detox by George Marshall, which is a is a provocative and entertaining approach to climate change. It challenges conventional thinking and offers fresh ways to understand and respond to thisglobal crisis. I am also looking though John Seymour’s book Complete Self Sufficiency. I have got Tony Kearney’s book on the go too called “Who Owns the Future?” and always have a reference book lying around to look at; at the moment it’s Edward de Bono.

What was your favourite childhood game?
I grew up with no TV or radio and lived in an isolated town with few facilities. It was very hot so we would go swimming a lot and get hooked on the latest fads, like tennis balls fixed to bats with bits of elastic. I would draw and read a lot too.

Have you been to the cinema recently, what did you see and was it any good?
I went to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, about a man who starts to age backwards. It was a happy movie.

What section of the newspaper do you turn to first?
I tend to look at the classifieds for tendering opportunities.

What would you never throw away?
Family photo’s, they are irreplaceable.

Most embarrassing moment of your life?
I have enough self-confidence to not get bothered about getting embarrassed. To be embarrassed means that you have taken a risk, so I think that is a good thing and shouldn’t be avoided.

Favourite TV programme?
I usually watch things that are pretty mindless to switch off. And to think I grew up without a telly.

What job did you want to do when you were a child?
At high school I wanted to be a lawyer. I think it was about fighting for the underdog though and am glad I went down the road of Community Development. Being there when people wanted something was very important to me and I like working on things that makes things better.

Where was your best holiday and what made it special?
Four years ago the family and I went on a fabulous trip to France. We took the car and travelled around for a month. There were no plans and it was the first time we were away in a country with a foreign language so we all worked really well together to cope.

What famous people would you invite around for dinner and why?
Peter Garrett from Midnight Oil . In 2003 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to environment and the music industry. Rosa Parks would also be welcome. Rosa was the "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement." On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama she refused to obey bus driver James Blake’s order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation.

What do you do for a special treat?
Chocolate, wine, movies, time with James, friends, meals, I do them all and cherish every one.

Favourite animal?
Bella, our four-month-old puppy.

Biggest thrill?
Meeting up with family and friends.

Biggest Challenge?
I moved away from the disability sector of my work and set up on my own working in training and development. I also published a book called Bona Fide -True Kiwi Stories about Life as a Teen, which was a collection of short stories about growing up in New Zealand.

What was the best present you ever got?
James and the children are so good at giving me presents. My last one was a home made spice rack.

What were the last things you bought just for yourself?
A dress from a charity shop in Derry and a twill basket.

Favourite past-time?
Painting in acrylics. I used to work in a picture framers so I can mount them too.

Which period in history would you most like to have lived through?
The Rococo period in the 18th century. The art and interior design was fantastic.

What do you have for breakfast?
Today I had two bits of toast with honey and a cup of coffee.

What was your first paid job?
That was the picture framing. I used to work late nights on Thursday and Saturday mornings at a supermarket when I was at high school

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
I have had lots of good advice. “Just trust yourself.” is one that an old boss in New Zealand told me. It was great for my self-confidence.

Personal belief?

If it’s going to be – it’s up to me…….

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