Guest Post from Tara Heavey
I had a visit from a friend last week asking if she could write a guest blog for my website. I agreed immediately, with a promise that I wouldn’t edit it and would trust her to do a good job.
I presumed it would be around our business but to my surprise she wrote about yours truly.
Tara Heavey was born and raised in London, moved to Dublin aged 12, and attended Greendale Community School (whose teachers included Paul Mercier and Roddy Doyle). Tara practised Law for five years, before turning to writing full time. She now lives in County Kilkenny.
Tara is a quietly spoken lady and one would never think Fifty Shades of Grey in her writing, until I read her first novel!!! Unbeknownst, before I read it, I gave Tara’s novel to my mother, who is an avid reader and boy did I have a laugh when I asked her how she enjoyed the book.
You would think butter wouldn’t melt in Tara’s mouth; I cannot look at her in the same light ever since. Check out Tara’s books for yourself.
Hope you enjoy the guest post.
Margaret Kirwan: Force of Nature
The first time I met Mag Kirwan, she was part of the snot-wiping, nappy-changing brigade. Not her own, I hasten to add. She was in the throes of early motherhood. A role to which she brought her customary joie de vivre. Paraic was the baby at the time, a curly headed cherub, now a curly haired pre-teen Adonis. And his mother has undergone a similar transformation in the time since I have known her.
Because who could have predicted the business woman hidden within? Like a big cat poised to leap. Possibly those that know her well. Her close friends, many of whom she has retained since their school days. Her enormous, closely knit family. Her formidable mother, in whose indomitable footsteps she follows. It makes me wonder about their female ancestry, those warrior women going back generations. And who and what her daughters will become. The gazelle-like Aine. The impish Orlaith – my own daughter’s oldest friend.
I suspect Mag herself knew all along. Because I’ve rarely met a woman with such unshakeable confidence in herself. Such boundless positivity. It’s almost – and I hate to say it – un-Irish. Even though she loves her country and is every inch the Kilkenny woman. But it’s a lesson to all of us. Not to play it small or play ourselves down. Not to hide our own lights, in the mistaken belief that it will make others feel better about themselves, or perhaps make them like us more. But instead to inspire and lead the way. Spur on others to reach their own goals. It’s what makes her proudly admit that she finds her own children gorgeous. That causes her to say ‘thank you’ when someone admires her dress, instead of lowering her eyes and saying ‘this old thing’. Like I said. Gloriously un-Irish. And it’s that same confidence transferred, that caused her eldest, Ned, to declare to a visitor to their fish farm, at the time of the economic crash, that Goatsbridge Trout Farm was going to make it through the recession. Make it they did. With bells on. Isn’t that the kind of self belief we all want to instill into our children?
It was this self-belief that launched Goatsbridge Trout caviar. Everyone thought she was nuts. But did she listen? Did she hell. Proving once again that she was one of the sanest people around. Because in a world gone mad, it often pays to go against the grain. And leave the naysayers gawping open mouthed in your wake.
But it’s not all business and plain sailing for Margaret. She’s gone through her dark times and more than her fair share of losses, notably the deaths of her father and brother at a tragically young age. She is startlingly and refreshingly open when she speaks about the difficulties that this caused her and her struggles to overcome the pain of this loss. My own opinion is that is taught her at a gut level that life is short and that each opportunity should be grabbed by its you-know-whats. And it also taught her empathy for other people’s pain. It was this empathy which accompanied her and a good friend into a chemotherapy session. So the friend would not be alone. So she wouldn’t be afraid. And it was with her as she minded that friend’s children, as she made her recovery. It is also present when she is there for her siblings. as they navigate life’s inevitable rocky patches.
Am I making her sound like a saint? Because she isn’t. Neither am I. And neither are you.
You could be forgiven for thinking that every time you open a business page these days, an image of Margaret Kirwan is smiling back at you, together with her husband Ger, he of the movie star looks. Standing like a rock beside her. As if they were carved out for one other.
They head a household in which family and business are almost indistinguishable, each blending seamlessly and wrapping around the other. And at the heart of this home, a woman of incredible drive and entrepreneurial spirit. A force of nature if ever I saw one.