“It’s far from caviar you were reared“

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Real Views: Sunday Business post – Mag Kirwin, Goatsbridge Trout Farm

Sunday Business Post article 08/09/2013

Begrudgery and negativity is an attitude often described “the Irish disease”.  It is in fact a social phenomenon, known as Tall Poppy Syndrome. We are surrounded in this economic climate with a lot of pain and negativity and as a business owner I really think this will have to change if we are to get out of the situation we find ourselves in.

“It’s far from caviar you were reared“

The day Goatsbridge Trout Farm launched Ireland’s first Trout Caviar my mother, a successful and experienced business woman herself, rang to wish me well and congratulate me on an RTE News appearance. Her first words were: “It’s far from caviar you were reared“. I laughed heartily at her comment, but understood it was in fact her way of telling me how proud she was.

God only know it is far from Caviar I was reared but my mother showed me that anything is possible. She was eight months pregnant with her 10th child when my father died suddenly of a heart attacked aged 45. Less than two years later my ten-year-old brother died unexpectedly.

My mother had every excuse in the world to sit back and feel sorry for herself.  But she was inspirational, going on to rear us all and build a very successful international horse sales business in Kilkenny,  Goresbridge Horse Sales, with my brother Martin.  She instilled in us a sense of belief and showed me and my siblings that with positive actions and attitude anything is possible.

Do Well But Not Too Well?

Every day we hear of companies going into liquidation. Do we wish others to do well but not too well in case their success might reflect our own comparable lack of success? Deep down it helps shift the attention of our own weakness to the misfortune of others.  In many cases it is a domino effect and something beyond the control of the company in question. The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failure.

Remember a defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.

The world is full of a lot of fear and a lot of negativity, and a lot of judgment. I just think people need to start shifting into positivity and happiness. As corny as it sounds, we need to make this change.


There can be life after a business failure. I am thinking about Bill Cullen whose empire collapsed quite publically and dramatically last year. Unlike the media I am more in awe of him now as he continues spreading his views on positivity and the message that we can bounce back after failure. I told Sarah Newman after things went drastically wrong for her business last year, that I look forward to seeing her next success and I certainly believe I will.

What about the fascinating story of Paul Diver who purchased The Sandhouse Hotel in Rownowllagh Co Donegal in March 2012 for a tenth of its asking price. He got the staff of the hotel to invest in the venture. They had a great summer. This is a perfect example of how a business can bounce back from the brink – and in the doing so Paul secured 50 Irish jobs. A well-deserved Down To Business person of the month award which he received last Saturday. Yet again another example that anything is possible.

Building something of lasting value – be it business or personal – does take some pain and disappointments. Most of us at some point along our journey will stumble and fall. But the rewards and successes always outweigh and overshadow the bad times.

Positive Thoughts

Have I ever had negative thoughts and considered giving up on fish farming? How do you think I feel when my customers choose French and Spanish trout over Goatsbridge Trout  because the cost of production is higher here in Ireland? How do you think I feel when I see a pond of fish under pressure in high temperatures, low oxygen or flood waters where you are at the mercy of the Gods? I stop and remind myself that  if fish farming was  easy everyone would be producing trout so I count my lucky stars , take the good with the bad and get on with .

Embrace Positivity

So let’s embrace positivity, because positivity will breed success especially in business. I like to surround myself with positive and happy people. I think positivity as well as negativity is contagious. My sister Miriam Donohoe from MD Media introduced a hashtag on twitter called #positiveireland which has done a lot to spread positive news on social media. Others are also doing great work in this space.  Samantha Kelly is another person who is spread good news digitally. She started the #irishbizparty hashtag with weekly “tweet” meetings for emerging business people.

Why not go online today and help spread the message of positivity so we can talk ourselves out of this recession. Or why not come to The National Woman’s Conference in Portlaoise on October 16th and 17th where I have being asked by my local Enterprise Board to speak? I promise you’ll find it full of #positiveireland like-minded female entrepreneurs.

Mahatma Gandhi once said:

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour. Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”

Let’s hope that our destiny is success and happiness in our businesses and our personal lives.

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“It’s far from caviar you were reared“ was last modified: November 27th, 2015 by mag

7 thoughts on ““It’s far from caviar you were reared“”

  1. Well said Mags. There is so much begrudgery in all walks of life and it does seem especially more so in Ireland. We try very hard to ignore it and just keep a positive outlook on life even when the chips are down. My mum always says this phase is just temporary … Tomorrow will be different. Well done on your piece in SBP. A joy to read!

  2. Fantastic bit of reading, Mags. I agree totally, you are an inspiration!!
    I’ve always said, PMA – Possitive Mental Attitude it makes such a difference!
    Keep up the good work,


  3. Mags, what a brilliant piece; just catching it now. You are such an indefatigable force in Irish food, such an enormous inspiration for so many…please don’t ever give up on your forward thinking positivity and enthusiasm for what is inherently good in people and food in this country. Keep on writing baby!!!!!!!! See you soon. Imen xx

  4. It has rained all day in Dublin, I witnessed two crashes on the way in, the traffic was terrible, a colleague broke a rib, the USA may default – but after reading this I too feel that life is not only good but I am positive and can make a positive difference. Well done Mags.

    1. Hi Ivan
      We have no hope if we do not stay positive.
      Want to do some more business with you so hopefully that will add to your positivity ! LOL
      Talk tomorrow

  5. Don’t be too hasty to judge Paul Diver. He was my boyfriend once and he left me when I was 3 months pregnant. I kept our baby for 6 months but in the end I had to part with him as I had no support from Paul or my family. My son is 29years old on Monday. Do you think Paul will think about him on Monday or even admit he is his? A big ‘No’

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