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All the best: Professor Joe O'Sullivan's favourite things

By Staff Reporter

The 45-year-old clinical director of the NI Cancer Centre lives in Bangor with his wife, Dara, and their children, Lucy (17), Anna (15), Leo (14) and Oisin (11).

My best moment

Meeting and marrying my wife, Dara. We met when we were both working as junior doctors at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin — she was working in psychiatry and I was in cardiology. That was definitely my smartest move ever. We’ve been married for 20 years now and have four wonderful kids.

My best song

Always difficult to choose, but I’ve decided to go for Just Like A Woman by Bob Dylan. I really love the imagery of that song, creating images is something Dylan does really well. He’s performed lots of different versions of that song and I’ve even performed a version myself.

My best way to relax

Writing songs on my piano, sitting in the bay window of my house looking over Belfast Lough. I find the creative process very relaxing, particularly after a hard day at work.

My best bit of advice

It’s something I witnessed a woman say to her dying husband and it was the inspiration for the album that I’ve released and it was, “take a deep breath”. I think it’s really good advice because it’s about appreciating the moment.

My best gift

My first acoustic guitar that was given to me by my mum and dad. I had been going on about learning to play the guitar for ages, so when I came home for my first summer holidays, they had bought it for me.

My best achievement

It’s the Take A Deep Breath album. I’ve been playing music and writing songs for a few years, but it was actually that moment with that patient that inspired me. As I wrote more songs, I discovered that various encounters with cancer patients were a great source of inspiration. I decided to fund the album myself and then any proceeds from its sale go to the Friends Of The Cancer Centre here and that’s really resonated with people. It was launched in June and I think we’ve sold about 600 copies already.

My best job

The one I’m doing now — I love being an oncologist at the cancer centre. I really enjoy what I do because here we’re in the business of helping people through one of the most difficult situations of their lives. It takes a while to know how to do it, but I’ve been doing this for 20 years now and it’s rewarding if you can do it properly and bring hope to people.

My best buy

It’s also one of the more expensive things I’ve bought and it’s my baby grand piano. I got it about 10 years ago when I definitely couldn’t afford it, but I absolutely love it. It’s the best thing I’ve ever bought. It’s part of my life now and all of the kids have had lessons on it.

My best book

James Joyce’s Ulysses. I’m not a big reader, so when I do read, I go for the big ones. I’ve read it a few times now and I would say I’m only just starting to understand it.

My best film

It’s the student classic Withnail And I — I can pretty much quote the whole movie and it reminds me of some of the student flats I lived in. I like independent films that turn out to be cult movies.

  • Professor O’Sullivan has released an album titled Take A Deep Breath, the proceeds of which are being donated to the Friends of the Cancer Centre charity. To buy Take A Deep Breath, go to www.friends

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