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Pam carried me through dark days, says Ryan

Ryan, who has been dating the RTE presenter for almost two years, lost a personal fortune of €1.35m when his restaurant chain almost collapsed under the strain of the economic downturn.


His original eatery Town Bar & Grill, in the city centre, and Bridge Bar & Grill, in Grand Canal Dock, were rescued by new owner Richard Barrett, a long-time friend of Ryan's, while South Bar & Grill in Sandyford had to be closed.

As a result, five years after he first launched his venture, Ryan has now found himself adapting to a new lifestyle, which sees him employed as the operations director of the restaurants he once owned.

"What's different for me is getting used to being employed again, having a new boss, learning new business practices, reporting to a panel of people daily," he said.

"For a guy who left school at 15, I am learning a whole new skill set and I have to admit, it feels good.

"So, too, does my appreciation for my family and girlfriend Pamela, who carried me through some very dark days when trouble mounted daily and sometimes very publicly.

"Facing down the demons, standing my ground, staying put in Dublin and not retreating home to Tipperary has made me a stronger, more humble individual."


Ryan now works alongside Martina Fox -- wife of nightclub guru Robbie -- who was appointed by Barrett to help run the Bridge Bar & Grill.

The Tipperary man, who will turn 40 later this year, admits there are a number of things he would change if he were starting out in business again.

"For starters, I would have adopted a slower pace of expansion; I would have been a pilgrim not a pioneer," he said.

"I would have looked more closely at the statistic that 50pc of all new businesses fail within five years, even more so for restaurants," he told he Herald.

- Lorna Nolan