Friday 23 March 2018

Notebook: A look at the week that was

A look at the week that was. Stock image: Getty
A look at the week that was. Stock image: Getty

Francis Brennan

A dire day in Kenmare with wind and rain blowing in from some hurricane far out in the Atlantic. Spent the early morning explaining to an American family that all is not dire because when we have torrential rain, like today, it affords one the opportunity to visit the thundering Gleninchaquin Falls that are absolutely spectacular on a day like today. I point out to them that they are so lucky to be here in this weather as half the guests don't get the chance! I kit them out - from a six-year-old to mum and dad - in our house Dubarrys and send them off. They did return elated!

Weather delayed my exit from Kenmare so I only arrive for a stay at Knightsbrook Hotel at 10pm. I am greeted by six bags of Tayto - so thoughtful - but I resist the temptation.


I awake to the magnificent vista over the golf club and the early golfers off in the distance. I depart at 9am, sans Tayto, and drive to Sheridan Farmers' Market near Virginia, Co Cavan. We are doing a piece for At Your Service highlighting how a market can attract people to your business. This one is very vibrant and congrats to Kevin Sheridan for having the initiative and offering the space to families like the Whites of The Forge Restaurant.

I drive cross country to Hotel Westport. The first person I meet is a young lad in the carport with a 'picker-upper' collecting rubbish. He tells me the Cannonball Run has just departed and they have to get back in shape after a hectic few days. Then it's on to Kenmare where word is that room 431 has left the bath running and has flooded both rooms below. I get to thinking I could have shown my US guests an indoor flood!


On Monday I head to the University of Limerick where my good friend Jim Deegan is hosting the board of Fáilte Ireland on one of their forays out of Dublin for a meeting. It's still pouring so I dash from the car park to the entrance where I notice many students standing, zombie-like, all facing forward. I think, 'oh no - not one of those group dances or such' for by now I am in their midst. As I get to the door I realise that the library is just opening; these 'dancers' are in fact diligent students watching the porter open the library doors at 8am. The future of Ireland is secured if all the students in Limerick are this eager to study!


Dublin traffic has changed a lot since I lived in Sandyford. The commute from my sister's home in Ballinteer to George's Street takes an hour. How one does it daily, I don't know.

I have an early meeting with my colleague Margaret Ryan to discuss the day's plan. We are meeting the press in Dunnes Stores HQ to preview my new line for the store. It has taken 14 months to get here and is very exciting to see the results collectively. It has been procured with the help of a fantastic Dunnes team under Aoife and Pamela and a bevy of assistants. Their collective knowledge of product - from CE Certification, to the strength of the bags, to the effect mountain snow run off water has on the colour of white crockery - leaves me feeling that I have been so lucky to meet these geniuses! I finish at 4.30pm, exhausted.

I call into a friend in Clonskeagh enroute home to let the darned traffic pass and to discuss a speaking engagement for an upcoming after-dinner event. Always best to know the mettle of your audience before you open your mouth. The age group, their work and also the venue adds/subtracts from how you should deliver a public speech. Luckily they are to be middle-aged so if I refer to "Patricia the Stripper" they will get it! Don't try that one on a room full of 20-somethings...

Sunday Independent

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