Friday 28 April 2017

Inside the court of Sir Anthony O'Reilly

To view O'Reilly's career from perspective of his insolvency is a mistake

Tony O'Reilly at the Waterford Wedgwood AGM in 2006.
Tony O'Reilly at the Waterford Wedgwood AGM in 2006.
Sir Anthony and Lady O’Reilly at an Ireland Funds gala in 2007
Tony O'Reilly in 2008
Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, Kathleen Reynolds and O'Reilly at the opening of O'Reilly Hall in UCD in 1994
Tony O’Reilly with former Irish rugby captain Karl Mullen, who was also his rugby coach in school in Belvedere.

Late one Saturday night, a 'Sunday Independent' reporter was retrieving the Lotto results from a fax machine when the phone rang. He didn't make it back up the long newsroom in time, but the caller rang again several minutes later.

Sir Anthony O'Reilly – or "your chairman" as he introduced himself – was on the line, ringing with a query from Castlemartin House, his mansion and estate in Kildare. "Nobody seems to answer the phone round there," he said, a note of concern in his voice. "There's only a skeleton staff on Saturday nights," replied the reporter. A brief pause. "And which particular skeleton am I speaking to?" asked Tony O'Reilly.

Such examples of his sense of humour and wit are legion. As are stories about the parties he threw – legendary both for their hospitality and the cross-section of guests.

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