Having worked around the globe in a senior finance role for Aer Lingus, Sean Canning found himself at a loose end when he retired a few years ago.
Then, by coincidence he received an email from historian and author Pat Liddy, who was looking for tour guides for his new company Walking Tours of Dublin. Although he's clearly an articulate, confident individual, Sean didn't have any qualifications in this area, apart from a brief stint working in Newgrange.
But after being trained by Liddy, the retiree found himself giving walking tours of Dublin to groups of varying sizes from around the world.
With his background in finance, Sean might have seemed an unlikely candidate, but a vibrant personality and quick mind makes the spritely seventy-something-year-old ideal for the job. In the process he has gained a great appetite for history and an interest in tourism, topics he previously knew very little about.
He has since become accredited with the AATTI (Association of Authorised Tour Guides of Ireland).
Depending on the season, Sean will give a couple of tours a week and although he rarely earns more than a €100 a week, plus occasional tips, it gives him an opportunity to stay fit as he walks around Dublin giving tours, and a chance to interact with interesting people from all around the world.
From time to time, there are opportunities for new guides in Liddy's company, especially anybody with languages and a knowledge of history and guiding. According to Pat Liddy, guides need to have "an undying, infectious enthusiasm which rubs off on the group they have regardless of the weather. They also need a willingness to continuously learn and, of course, be flexible".
Sunday Indo Living