Business Personal Finance

Saturday 24 March 2018

From Lennon Courtney red jumpsuits to $22 breakfast - Presenter Grainne McElwain's most memorable purchases

My money

Television producer and presenter Grainne McElwain. Photo: Andrew Downes / Xposure
Television producer and presenter Grainne McElwain. Photo: Andrew Downes / Xposure

Grainne McElwain

Television producer and presenter Grainne McElwain lives in Connemara, Co Galway. Originally from Ballinode, near Scotstown in Co Monaghan, McElwain worked as a secondary school teacher before embarking on her career in the media.

She presents the ladies' GAA football live, Peil na mBan Beo, on TG4 today. She co-presented TG4's Traditional Music Awards from the Waterfront last Sunday and this show is available on TG4 player on

What's the most important lesson about money your career has taught you?

To always have something set aside for a rainy day as I'm a freelancer.

What's the most expensive country you ever visited?

I've small kids so I haven't been anywhere in a few years. When I visit somewhere, I tend to focus on enjoying the experience rather than giving out about the expense of things. The most recent place I was with work was Boston. The food and wine were expensive there. I remember paying $22 for a scrambled egg breakfast - and that was before I even paid the tip! I also remember paying $12 for a glass of red wine.

What's your favourite Irish saying about money?

Is fearr an tsláinte ná na táinte (health is more important than wealth.) Money is definitely important, but you can do nothing in this world without your health. So it's important to remember that - and to get a work-life balance.

What's your favourite Irish coin?

The old punt coin because I like the deer on that coin and the link with Irish mythology. I also like the harp on the back of the Irish euro coins - it gives the coins a distinctive Irish feel.

Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

My second car - which was a black Opel Astra convertible. I loved it - but I bought it before we had children so when the kids came along, I had to trade in my Opel for a Grand Picasso.

What was your worst job?

I once worked for a company where I found the people there to be quite demeaning and they refused to listen to other people's opinions. I'm not a big fan of people who don't listen to others' opinions.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

Our first property: we were asked to sell just before the crash for a good sum - and we didn't. But c'est la vie.

What was your best financial killing?

I'm still waiting for it to happen.

Are you better off than your parents?

I'm better off financially but maybe not as contented.

If you won the Euromillions, what would you do with the money?

I'd pay off my debts, give money to my family and friends, help those who are less well-off, and go on an extended sun holiday.

iTunes or Spotify?

I use iTunes and Spotify in the office for work, and in my car too. I use CDs and records at my parents' home in Monaghan.

What was the last thing you bought online?

A Lennon Courtney red jumpsuit.

Would you buy Irish property now?

No. I think prices are increasing at a crazy level - especially in Dublin. If I had extra money, I'd buy a retreat abroad in France or Spain.

What's the best advice you ever got about money?

Always live within your means. I got that advice from my dad.

What three things would you not be able to do without if you were tightening your belt?

My home - as a mother, it's important that we have a roof over our head. My car - because I need it for work. And my phone - because I'm a freelancer, so my phone is like my office.

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