An Óige Board

Maria Shanahan (Chairperson)


Maria Shanahan first became involved in An Óige after a murder-mystery weekend in the Killarney Hostel. After a few more weekends away surfing in Tramore and hiking in Wicklow, Maria realised she was among kindred people and was delighted to sign up when she was approached to start volunteering. Maria has been volunteering on the board of directors since 2014, becoming vice-Chairperson in the summer of 2015, and the current Chairperson in May 2018.

She is part of the team working on Volunteer co-ordination and has recently joined the roster of volunteer wardens at Glenmalure in the Wicklow mountains. In her day job, Maria works as a Project Manager for a Healthcare Technology company. She enjoys travel, having visited Australia, China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in the last year. She loves the outdoors and is passionate about access for everyone, especially young people, to escape modern life, modern cities, modern technology and reconnect to nature in rural Ireland.

Johana Ferriere


Johana Ferriere works in the Financial Services Industry in Dublin. She has been volunteering with An Oige since 2012 and was co-opted to the Board in 2015. A native-French Speaker, Johana is also one of our volunteer co-ordinators and co-manages the volunteer database. When she isn’t traveling, she enjoys practicing Pilates and Krav Maga. She was appointed Vice-Chairperson of An Óige in 2018.

Marie McDonnell (Company Secretary)


Marie McDonnell joined An Óige in the 1960’s and since then has been active in the Association on many levels. She co-ordinates the Weekly Hillwalking activities and is Treasurer of the Photographic Group which runs our Annual successful Photographic Exhibition in the National Botanic Gardens. She is also on the Environmental Conservation Committee and serves the Board in her role as Company Secretary.

Philip Hayden


Philip worked for many years as a warehouse operative and currently acts a carer to his elderly father. Joining An Óige in the 1990’s, he is an avid hillwalker with a great interest in natural history. He joined and became secretary of the An Óige Environmental Conservation group in 2004 and has acted as a one of its representatives on the An Óige National Council for the past four years. In December 2016 Philip was co-opted to the Board of An Óige.

Sarah Johnston


Sarah is currently the Administration Assistant for Áiseanna Tacaíochta, the first and main organisation to facilitate Direct Payments to people with disabilities in Ireland. After graduating from the National College of Art and Design, with a Fine Art degree and a PGDip in Fine Art Ed, she worked in Dublin City Gallery in The Hugh Lane as an Education Officer. She has since continued in education roles with institutions including the IFI and Trinity College Dublin.

An enthusiast of all things outdoors, if Sarah’s not out cycling, hiking and camping in nature, she’s out sipping flasks of tea and sketching. She also volunteers with Foodcloud, and enjoys working at festivals and events during the summer months. She has been a Director of the Board since 2014 and is involved in volunteer co-ordination and activities.

Lawrence Carvalho


Lawrence got involved in An Oige – Youth Hostels many moons ago and used youth hostels in India with youth clubs in high school and college. He hitch hiked with brother and high school buddy back June 1996 from Cork to Galway using An Oige Hostels with college discount partnered with the ISIC (International Student Identity Card). Born in Kuwait now naturalised Irish national after 26 years in September 2020, travelled around middle east – Bahrain, Dubai, Oman, Kuwait, Iraq (by ship in 1990 from port Um Qasr Iraq to Mumbai), Cyprus, Jerusalem, India, YHA UK hostels in college with buddies on weekend breaks, El Capitan Yosemite, Hostel International in DC USA, Canada, Slovakia, France, Germany and few road trips. He enjoys traveling, swimming, cycling, hiking, walking, exploring new places, museums, heritage sites on his weekends in Ireland or around the globe. I love Howth head, Enniskerry Wicklow, the Ring of Kerry(Cahersiveen) and Inch in Donegal.

Lawrence did Business Studies in Griffith College Dublin and Post Graduate Diploma in Internet Systems in Dublin Institute of Technology. After college he travelled on various projects with Embassies, promoting Hotel offers, Business blogs in Oman Daily Observer in Oman, Dubai and Dublin. During his day time job is an Analyst for a small finance company in Dublin for the last 13 years and helps out in various roles within the company. He helps out with Volunteer coordinators group and manages the Volunteer database.Lawrence has been Volunteer director of local property management company in Dublin 15. He also volunteer’s facilitator with local Foroige Club in Dublin 15 since January 2019, he volunteers as steward with event volunteers the odd weekend in Dublin. He hopes to do road trip from Dublin to Singapore using HI family hostels along the way.

Heather Boyle

Heather Boyle

Heather Boyle is Communications Officer for Cycling Ireland, and initially became involved with An Óige as part of the Activities Committee in January 2013. In the year 2017 she was co-opted onto the board. Having been involved with sports, specifically rowing, cycling and hiking, all her life. Heather believes in the power of sports and outdoor activities in connecting communities, and enjoys working in an area about which she’s passionate. Travel, laughing, music and family are also important to the newest member of the An Óige.