Áine Kerr: I must remain caffeinated at all times or I might stop and never get going again (2024)

How agreeable are you?

It depends! I’m very agreeable, for example, when it comes to wanting more women in leadership roles and believing in the capacity of our young people to change the world around them for good. Less agreeable when people discriminate, gaslight, take fits of laziness or learned helplessness, or argue that Christmas can’t start in November.

What’s your middle name and what do you think of it?

My parents, for reasons that remain unclear, failed to give me one. They did, however, decide to name my only sister Gráinne. Cue years of confusion. One uncle still greets us both as ‘Gráinne Áine, one of you’.

Áine Kerr: I must remain caffeinated at all times or I might stop and never get going again (1)

Where is your favourite place in Ireland?

For being at one with nature, Lough Muckno in Monaghan – the Killarney of the North or the Hill of Howth looking out at the Irish Sea. But day to day, every day, it’s wherever my daughter eventually stops fighting the will to sleep with my arm firmly locked under her neck.

Describe yourself in three words.

Strong. Patient. Exhausted.

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When did you last get angry?

I generally try not to ‘do’ anger – and to quickly convert it into something more controllable and constructive. BUT…Betty, our one-year-old Cavechon puppy, has tested my levels of patience given her propensity to chew books, trampoline nets, laundry, footballs, shrubs, shoes, wellies, cushions, mats, and more. Now nicknamed Betty the Destroyer.

What have you lost that you would like to have back?

The Irish soccer 1992-1994 jersey with Staunton 11 on the back which I wore everywhere during my tomboy years (including when I met Staunton a few times). At some point, my cooler self (or my poor mother with the capacity to make beautiful dresses) must have rid it from the wardrobe.

What’s your strongest childhood memory?

Coming second in a primary school public speaking competition that my sixth-class teacher Mrs Daly organised. I can still see the pink cue cards with scribbled notes about the Monaghan Ladies Football team and why women were just as good as men at sports. I found my voice that day and I’ll be forever grateful for having had a teacher who helped me find it.

Where do you come in your family’s birth order, and has this defined you?

I’m the classic “hero child”, the eldest of three. I rallied, cajoled and directed the other two while testing their loyalty and patience. Over time, however, being the eldest did teach me how to be a peacemaker, harmoniser and clarifier, who looks around corners and maintains a “can do” attitude.

What do you expect to happen when you die?

Feel a sense of reconnecting with my Granny McNally who embodied the type of kindness and goodness I can only ever aspire to. On the day of her funeral, I put a note in her coffin saying I’d try to do good things in her name. On the days when I feel a little overwhelmed, I close my eyes and imagine her saying a prayer one very slow delayed beat behind the priest. That long beat always made me quietly giggle in church … my Gran always had the last word.

When were you happiest?

Now, tomorrow, the day after. Life doesn’t move in straightforward lines, you don’t get to live a Plan A life so every day I try to be a learn-it-all rather than a know-it-all, to be accountable for creating my own happiness and hoping/trusting my happiness will ensure my daughter, family and friends feel the cascading love, happiness, security in turn. Be Here Now – to quote the wise men in Oasis!

Áine Kerr: I must remain caffeinated at all times or I might stop and never get going again (5)

Which actor would play you in a biopic about your life?

In my only case of mistaken identity ever, I was mistaken for actor Claire Danes when trying to pay for a cinema ticket in Dublin. The lovely ticket seller kept insisting he couldn’t possibly take my money. Guess it’s the high cheekbones.

What’s your biggest career/personal regret?

I’ve had the squiggly career as a teacher turned journalist turned accidental entrepreneur and I’m kicking the sh*t out of a Plan B life (to quote Sheryl Sandberg) post-divorce but rather than focus on the regrets, I choose to focus on the learnings. What got me here today – with all of life’s endurance tests – has given me the love of a daughter, and immense privileges in life and work. I’m truly grateful.

Have you any psychological quirks?

A stubborn belief that I must remain caffeinated at all times or I might actually stop and never get going again.

Áine Kerr: I must remain caffeinated at all times or I might stop and never get going again (2024)
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