‘I bought a house for €8,000 when I was 17 and sold it for €24,000 two years later’


‘I bought a house for €8,000 when I was 17 and sold it for €24,000 two years later’

My money

John Brennan
John Brennan

John Brennan is co-owner of the five-star Park Hotel in Kenmare and a well-known face on RTE’s TV series At Your Service, which he presents with his brother, Francis.

The series, which sees the brothers once again take on business makeovers on a selection of B&Bs, guest houses and small hotels throughout Ireland, airs on RTE 1 on Sunday nights until late May.

What is the most important lesson about money your career in hotels has taught you?

That business is volatile – and that not every day is a good day. One must always plan for the future and be aware tomorrow may not be as good as today.

What’s the best advice you ever got about money?

Cash-flow is king – I got that advice from my father, who owned a grocery shop.

What’s the most expensive thing about being a parent?

We sent both our children to boarding school, which was expensive but phenomenal value.

What’s the most expensive country you ever visited?

I don’t think any country is cheap any more. There was a time you could go to Torremolinos or Benidorm and it would cost you peanuts. Today there are very few countries that are not expensive. Capital cities are ferociously expensive, particularly London, Paris and New York.

What’s your favourite coin and what do you like about it so much?


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The old hexagonal 50p, because it was different.

Apart from property, what’s the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

A boat, which we use in Kerry.

What was your worst job?

I enjoy all aspects of my job. I don’t believe I work at all. My working days vary. I was up at 6am today and at our laundry business in Castleisland by 7.15am. I had a meeting shortly after that. I then drove into the hotel at around 9.30am and said hello to the chef and the guests. That was the start of my day. I love the hospitality industry.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

I bought Eircom shares back in the day. Those shares were a political disaster – they turned a whole generation off shares.

What was your best financial killing?

I bought a house when I was 17 years old for €8,000 – and sold it two years later for €24,000.

If you won the Lottery, what would you do with the money?

My son works in the super-yacht industry. He knows of a boat which cost €340m. When €175m was won in the Euromillions recently, my son said €175m would keep that boat running for three years. For some people in the world, €175m would be small change. If I won a lot of money in the Lotto, I’d set up a share option employee scheme for the senior employees in my business. I’d take my wife and family away on a nice holiday in the South Pacific. Then when all the dust had settled, I’d be so bored that I’d get back to work.

iTunes or Spotify?

I use iTunes all the time now. However, I greatly miss the information you get on records, where you can check things like the name of the record producer, who plays the violin and so on.

What was the last thing you bought online?

A pair of Sebago shoes.

Would you buy property now?

I have no issue with Irish property. The Government has done a good job stabilising the country.

Do you ever haggle?

No. Instead, I’ll ask the person to give me their best price and I’ll tell them that if their price is reasonable, I’ll pay them; but if not, I won’t.

What three things would you not be able to do without if you were tightening your belt?

My departmental managers or the marketing team in the hotel. We couldn’t do without the friendship and loyalty of our regular guests. These guests stood to us during the recession.

Sunday Indo Business


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