Jackie De Burca
Born in Dublin, Ireland, on 29th January 1968, Jackie De Burca is the author of Salvador Dalí at Home and the creator of Travel Inspires.
In her formative years as an only child, De Burca naturally found her deep connection with animals, nature, art and writing. She won a children’s art competition and was interviewed on radio, aged seven.
She adored visiting the wilds of Connemara, in the West of Ireland, on family holidays; an inspirational landscape of purples, yellows and greens, which fed her love of nature. The family frequently stayed at Renvyle House Hotel set on 150 acres in a beautiful location at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
When she was nine years old, her parents bought a typical Irish cottage with picture-perfect views over Rosroe Harbour and Killary Fjord; a place that further strengthened her connection with nature. De Burca has fond memories of her father shaving with his little mirror placed precariously on top of the lower part of the cottage’s half door, as sheep wandered by grazing gradually on the field’s lush greenery.
She chose to spend one year at an Irish language boarding school, Coláiste na Rinne, located ten minutes from the coastal town of Dungarvan, County Waterford, in the Gaeltacht area of An Rinn, where a small community of people still speak Irish today. Aged ten, it was an experience that greatly enriched her in terms of living in a rural environment, becoming fluent in her native language and becoming more independent.
She returned to her original school, the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Mount Anville, where she chose to study art and French, along with other mandatory subjects. Her exam results frequently placed her in the top five per cent of her class. Both at school and in her free time, De Burca enjoyed sports and movement. She attended ballet classes for many years, played tennis and was a keen gymnast who trained six days a week.
Photo credit: AMASC Ireland
In her final two years at secondary school she had to choose between art and a more economically viable subject. Doubting if she had sufficient talent to have a successful career in art, she chose economics – a decision that she still regrets today. During that same period she continued with French and took on Spanish, which she enjoyed and found quite easy to learn. De Burca graduated with honours in most subjects and was accepted into Trinity College Dublin, aged seventeen, where she read history, including Renaissance art history.
By the time she graduated in 1990 the economy in Ireland was in a bad state, so she relocated to London where she lived and worked for a period. Although she enjoyed aspects of her London life, she found the city cold in comparison to her native city of Dublin, so she accepted a job offer on the Greek island of Crete in 1991.
De Burca has a deep connection to Greece having travelled there first at the age of thirteen, visiting the islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Samos with her mother. She embraced the Cretan culture as much as possible. She loved the incredible light and whenever possible explored the idyllic island marvelling at its wonderfully diverse landscapes. She observed the continuous changes that occur in its scenery travelling from coastal to mountainous areas, where the environment never ceases to surprise.
Rare ecosystems with an abundance of fascinating herbs, virgin islets with cedars and sand dunes, rough mountains with fabulous forests and gorges sporting wild vegetation were a constant trigger for inspiration. Not to mention the vast mythological heritage of Crete, along with its delicious food and incredibly proud people – all of these elements sparkled in the Cretan light inspiring her to write in her spare time.
Although in her heart she didn’t want to leave, she returned to Dublin in October 1991 after the summer season in Crete had come to an end, so there was no longer the chance to earn money there. Back in Dublin due to the continuing economic downturn, the only type of work she could get was in a nightclub.
In 1992 she moved once again to London, where she worked in advertising for the Observer Newspaper. However once again the London lifestyle started to affect her and De Burca relocated back to Dublin a few years later, where she worked in the Irish Times for a while.
Keen to improve her skillset she did part-time courses, one in film direction and the other in television production. She joined an amateur drama group where she had a lot of fun and was chosen to play the lead in a play that eventually didn’t get staged due to organisational issues.
She loved being back in Dublin once again after too many years in London. Through a friend from her television production course, she was invited to start doing some extras acting work for a corporate video company. It wasn’t long before the owner invited her to work full time at the production house, doing a combination of tasks which included script writing, casting, project co ordination, assisting on set and sales.
She started this work in 1996 which enabled her to go regularly to her beloved Greece, in general twice a year. Although she was happy in Dublin, there had always been a niggling feeling that her life was not really meant to be spent in Ireland.
In 2000, she experienced a kind of metamorphosis. Up until then her life had been focused on career success and enjoying a fun social life. However that year her spiritual side started to emerge more strongly. For a long time she had been fascinated with the Tarot and had been for some card readings over the years. But during this phase of her life she felt quite overcome with the need to be able to help others somehow.
This led her to do some Vortex Healing workshops; a healing art that is similar to Reiki in some ways but has different aspects to it. Her teacher asked at one of the classes if anyone was interested to do some voluntary healing work. She jumped at the chance and went each Wednesday to the HIV ward at the Cherry Orchard Hospital.
Her voluntary healing work along with some paid clients took De Burca into a more metaphysical realm; a situation that she frequently struggled with, often feeling too open and sensitive in the wrong types of situations.
Through one of her healing colleagues she was introduced to Auricular Acupuncture. She learned this art in London in John Tindall’s clinic practising on some of his clients. Tindall also sent her with her supervisor to one of London’s prisons, Wormwood Scrubs, to help with a staff training workshop.
He also ran retreats on his olive farm in Spain so De Burca attended her first Native American retreat in June 2001. Camping out under the stars and olive trees, she immediately fell in love with the beautiful environment. Tindall and his family travelled to Brazil for a month in January 2003, inviting her to mind their house in the isolated but gorgeous Catalan countryside. Alone there she had the feeling that one day she would have her own land in Spain with lots of animals, creativity and healing.
She never left Spain permanently after that month of house-sitting, having fallen madly in love with the environment. In her early days there, she explored by bike its diverse landscapes, including the magical unique Delta de l’Ebro Natural park.
In 2004 she met the love of her life and today they live with their menagerie of animals on an olive farm in Spain.
Jackie’s bio is originally published on Travel Inspires.
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