Quickshots with Mary Kennedy

Mary Kennedy

Mary Kennedy is in great form when we catch up with her.

She’s living her best life out in her garden!

Here’s how Mary is getting on…

It seems like we’re all busier than ever but switching off and taking time out is so important. Are you good at doing that, taking some time out for you?

If you were to ask my kids, they’d tell you I find it very hard to sit down. I do like to just take some time out for my head though. I like being active; I go for a walk for an hour each day and sometimes I listen to a podcast about wellbeing and mindfulness. I also like to read, spend time with friends, go to the movies and gardening – I love just sitting in the garden.

Mary Kennedy

What has been the best thing you’ve learned about yourself over the last number of years?

I think the thing that has started to hit home with me is that it’s important to be physically strong and to be aware of self care. I’m at an age where I have a hell of a lot more time behind me than in front of me and therefore I want to maximise the time that I have. I want to be mobile and I want to be well. I have four grandchildren now and the very thought of at some point not being part of their lives because I’m no longer on this earth, kills me! I know it will happen but I want to make the most of the time that I have.

So would you say spending time with your family is one of the most important things for you in terms of lifting your spirits?

Oh yes, yes definitely! I just have to be in touch with them. Tomorrow, myself, my sister and my eldest daughter are going for an overnight spa trip to a hotel in Galway. I like to do those kinds of things. It’s a great privilege to do that in life. I think it’s important to be strong to do so. The day before I speak at ‘Restival’, Karl Henry is doing a talk and he’s my personal trainer. I do an online class with him once a week for strength training. I lift weights and do a lot of upper body stuff because I want to keep fit and active and well for as long as I possibly can. It’s also never too late to start. Someone said to me recently that no matter how slowly you’re moving, you’re still lapping the person who’s sitting on the couch.

Looking after your body from the inside out is also important, so what’s your favourite thing to cook?

It varies! I was down in Wexford at the weekend with a couple of my girl friends and we love to just sit around, chatting and eating. We had lamb, and I hadn’t had that in a long, long time. My go-to would be fish though. I love salads. I do like cooking – but I also like cake!! It’s an 80/20 type of thing. 80 percent careful, 20 percent enjoyment. You have to enjoy life! There’s no point in being physically and mentally fit, but dull! [laughs]

Mary Kennedy

Earlier on you mentioned books and the fact you enjoy reading, so what are you stuck into at the moment?

I’m actually reading the sequel to John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which is called All The Broken Places. I love Niall Williams too, who is an Irish writer. I read a beautiful book, his most recent one, This is Happiness. I loved it. I’m about to read Poor by Catriona O’Sullivan. like to read when I go to bed, because I’m conscious of what they call, ‘sleep hygiene’ so staying away from my phone at night, and I love reading on holidays.

What about podcasts?

I like Niall Breslin’s Where is my Mind, and Sile Seoige’s Ready to be Real, I think they’re very good! I love Brian Pennie too, he’s a neuroscientist and recovered heroin addict who almost died. I find him inspirational. If it comes to politics or world affairs, I enjoy Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart. There’s another one with Scott Miller and Bronnie Ware and it’s wonderful for making you think about where you are in life. The podcast and the book as well, is about the five regrets of dying people and my goodness, it gives you food for thought!

Tell us Mary, would you be big into routine in a typical day?

I always start my day with Symprove and it’s very important for gut health. Then I’d take some apple cider vinegar with lemon juice. I’ll do my workout which takes about 40 minutes and go for my hour long walk and listen to a podcast. Then it depends on the different things which have to be done. There’s work and meetings but I’ve much more time now because I’m officially retired. When I’m not filming, I like to go to Limerick once a week because my daughter who has three children lives there. I could leave at 7am and be there by 9am when they’re having the breakfast, and then come home after they’ve gone to bed. I also now have a new little granddaughter in Dublin as my son’s wife had their first baby. I always, always keep in touch with friends too. I love cooking for people, organising gatherings in the house, lighting candles and buying flowers and making people feel special. I just love that!

And small gestures like that mean the most!

Oh yeah! For me, it’s all about spending time with people, giving them your attention, and showing that you care. There’s a lovely quote from Le Petit Prince which is a French children’s book and it translates to mean ‘there is no hope of joy, except in human relations’ and I deeply believe that. You can have all the stuff you want in the world, the newest clothes and furniture, the latest car, but all of a sudden you realise they aren’t the things that give you fulfilment and joy. It’s about people.

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