Mary Kelly

Mary Kelly was born and raised in Rosslare, County Wexford, Ireland. She attended the University College Dublin, where she earned a degree in Archeology and History of Art. She moved to the United States in 1979 to do social work with youth in inner city Detroit. She is recently retired after having worked for the last 18 years with Clarke County School District as a school social worker. She continues to work as a part-time counselor/mentor to students at Foothills Charter School. She lives with her husband, Mark Cooney. Mary is a long time board member of the Athens Area Homeless Shelter and is passionate about this cause.




What is your favorite restaurant in Athens, and what do you love there?


The National and their vegetable plate.


If you could see any band or show anywhere, dead or alive, who would it be and where?


I think one of the best performances I have ever been to was the Jessie Norman performance at the opening of the Performing Arts Center, and I would love to see her again. And, I would see her there again.


If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?


I would say Vietnam because I have never been anywhere in Asia, love to travel, and have always been fascinated by this part of the world.


If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would you have lunch with and where would it be?


Oh my goodness! I actually think that I would like to meet with the Dalai Lama again. I met with him once when I was working in Detroit, and I would love to welcome him to Rosslare, my hometown in Ireland, as he would love it.


If you could have a billboard in town with a message, what would it say?


I don’t know what it would say, but it would be something about what I am passionate about which is affordable housing and livable wage, a wage that people can actually live off of.


What advice would you give your younger self?


Relax and have fun.


What is your favorite thing to do in Athens?


Gardening. I love flowers and plants and spend a lot of time in my garden.


What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know?


I sailed a lot as a teenager, and I sailed internationally.


What are three words or phrases that come to mind when you think of the word “home”?


Comfortable, garden and Mark.

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