Cornelia McCarthy currently works for a range of organisations such as the Kilkenny Arts Festival, ThreeSisters bid for EU Capital of Culture in 2020, The Ark a Cultural Centre for Children and for private clients as a business mentor. She has valuable experience in working with tourism and creative enterprises, frequently towards group marketing initiatives. On a voluntary level, she is Chair of the Blackstairs and Barrow Valley Tourism Network involved in various local developments such as ‘Borris – Our Vision’ and cultural initiatives in South East Ireland including Carlow Arts Festival (stepped down as Chair in Dec 2016) and was a PPN (public participation network) representative in Co Carlow up until 2019.

Her most recent corporate role as a Programme Manager with the Design Crafts Council of Ireland (Kilkenny 2005-2008) involved creating opportunities for craft businesses to make work for the high end market and included organising exhibitions in Ireland and overseas.

Cornelia is also well used to designing training programmes. Running events such as seminars, workshops and clinics for those wishing to understand more about how specific markets are developing and what challenges and opportunities lie ahead. She has an extensive network to draw from, of specialists with up-to-the-minute knowledge and expertise.

As a self-employed project manager, she ran an office and programme for crafts enterprises on the Border and in Northern Ireland – based in Co Louth (1998 -2005). This provided craftspeople with business development mentoring, opportunities to show at Irish and international trade events and a showroom from which to sell work and test-market product.

Working as a Retail Gallery Manager and Craft and Giftware Buyer in Dublin (the old DESIGNyard, East Essex Street, Temple Bar 1993-1998), she was involved in setting up and running the first applied arts centre in Ireland. She also worked as a Commissioning Agent working on corporate gift development and large scale site-specific art commissions (e.g Dublin Castle gardens, Chester Beatty Library).

Prior to the Temple Bar experience she worked as a freelance project manager in Dublin after college (UCD-BA and H. dip Ed), spending 4 years with the Arts Council (Merrion Square) and Douglas Hyde Gallery (Trinity College), working with exhibitions and visual artists.


  • Eina McHugh, Director, The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children
  • Cornelia is a talented Project Manager – intelligent, quick, creative, reliable, and a consummate professional.

    Project managing a major initiative like ‘Crafted Creatures’ an exhibition and children’s eduction programme, involves managing complexity at different levels – be it progressing conversations with partners, liaising with artists, developing new initiatives such as a cultural tourism trail, drafting funder submissions, tracking budgets/ schedules/ timelines, or keeping good communication flowing across multiple teams. Cornelia has efficiently juggled all these tasks – and been personally great to work with as well!
    What strikes me most about Cornelia is how her project management style ‘adds value’ to the project – she doesn’t just execute everything excellently, she proactively and cleverly thinks about the work. She knows the cultural sector so she has the confidence to ‘hit the ground running’ – within a week of appointment, she was project managing ‘Crafted Creatures as if she had been on board for six months.

    As Director, I also like working with Cornelia. She has sound judgment, a good capacity for diplomacy, strong inter-personal skills, plus she understands the importance of deadlines. Most importantly she puts solutions before problems – and she cares about the quality of the work she delivers.

    I can recommend her without hesitation.

  • Tom Banville
 Acting CEO Wexford CEB
  • ‘Cornelia McCarthy has done some great work for Wexford CEB in her capacity as a business mentor.

    The feedback we received from our clients has been excellent. Cornelia really helped these clients with PR, marketing, communications and web development. I would highly recommend Cornelia in these areas’.

  • Fiona Thornton, Bridge Street Studios
  • Thanks a million for all your research, help and support.

    ‘Bridge Street Studios got on very well and everyone was happy with how the sessions went and with what we have, and are, achieving. It felt like you were one of us!’

  • Thomas Kelly, Bevel Furniture
  • ‘When our employee won a number of prestigious awards

    we wanted to let people know about this. Ours is a small business and we needed someone to work with us and assist us with getting publicity. Cornelia showed us the ropes and guided us to get exposure in relevant press, including a visit from Nationwide. Her contacts were impressive and her input highly professional. Thanks to the Wexford Enterprise Board for being our partner in working with Cornelia.’

  • Cornelia is on the Crafts Council of Ireland Mentor panel
  • Married to Glenn Lucas a professional craftsman and woodturning teacher with his own Woodturning Study Centre, they work year long in this family business in the foothills of Mount Leinster, Co Carlow
  • Contact me for a consultation