Wednesday, May 25, 2022

EUNICE Power (53), lives and works in her native Dungarvan. A wearer of many hats, Eunice is a very proud mother, chef, cookery writer, TV contributor, tutor, caterer and owner of ‘Andchips’, the popular gourmet takeaway on Davitt’s Quay, Dungarvan.

Life in a Day

Life tends to be varied depending on what I am doing. Take last Thursday (May 19) for example, which started with a fabulous walk on the greenway and Clonea beach for an hour from 6:45am, then back home, shower, breakfast and school dash – always stopping for a coffee en-route to fortify my Leaving Cert student. After that, my working day begins. Back to last Thursday. I was in the kitchen preparing for a wedding the following day, fielding phone calls, ordering ingredients for events, while all the time chatting and working away happily with my colleagues in the kitchen. Then the return trip to school, a quick visit to Country Store and the butcher next door and back home to prepare dinner. I then pop into Andchips for a couple of hours depending on how busy it is. On ‘school nights’ I usually go to bed fairly early – in and around 10pm – with a book or newspapers from the previous weekend.

What school did you go to?

I went to a lovely primary school a mile from my home, Glenbeg NS. At that time Glenbeg had two classrooms and an outside toilet. There were 34 students – one family had a child in almost every class! During our lunch breaks we played hopscotch, elastics and chasing games, block and tag. We didn’t have organised sports as such, PE consisted of a few star jumps occasionally in the yard.

What teacher do you remember most vividly?

Eileen O’Mahoney was my teacher for most of primary school, as she moved from the junior classroom to the senior classroom to become principal, I moved with her. Mrs O’Mahoney really caught my imagination, she was spirited and her enthusiasm was infectious, be it her description of clouds as she used a wet mop on the wooden classroom floor to show us cumulus clouds or a deck scrub to show us cirrus clouds. She taught Irish History in a story telling way, I have had a love of Irish history ever since. Our treat for being good was being read a story, I remember ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ in particular. We were exceptionally well behaved whilst that book was the carrot, hanging on to its every word.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Please yourself and not others! I probably wouldn’t have listened. I, like every other 15-year-old, knew it all.

How do you relax?

Gosh, I haven’t really relaxed since the mid-90s! My brain is constantly whirring, I suppose I find great refuge and distraction in books.

What is your favourite book?

My favourite book is ‘Any Human Heart’ by William Boyd. I recently read Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy, I loved Thomas Cromwell, the main character. It was a fascinating read on many levels, but most of all it fanned the flames of my love of history.

When was the last time you cried?

Two weeks ago, I went to see ‘Spring Awakening’ in Garter Lane, a powerful performance that literally moved me to tears.

What has been your happiest moment of recent times?

My eldest son Micheal is a runner. Watching him and his team mates win gold in the European Cross Country Under-23 Championship in Dublin last December filled me with such unbelievable joy, pride and happiness.

Do you pray?

If needs be! I should be very religious by virtue of osmosis as I spent my formative years in a convent boarding school. I have a fairly healthy whilst laissez faire relationship with religion. I love that we live in a much more diverse religious community now than the Ireland of my youth.

What is your biggest fear?

It changes daily!

What is your most treasured possession?

Gosh, that’s difficult to say. I used to always mind my possessions; I am a careful person. Then the boys came along and systematically reduced most of my prized possessions to rubble through their high jinks. One item that survived is a painting I bought years ago by Tom Climent. It hangs in my kitchen and is full of surprises as it seems to change with natural light. We all love it – it’s another personality in the house.

What is your favourite thing about Waterford?

Oh, there are so many to choose from. The biggest one, for me, is the people. As a county, Waterford has a huge warm, friendly personality, a great starting point from which all else flows – community cooperation and an environment for creativity and entrepreneurship. Being surrounded by decent people is important in every aspect of life.

If you could change one thing about Waterford, what would it be?

It would be brilliant to have a fully functioning airport in Waterford on so many levels from commerce, tourism and the personal occasional escape!

In conversation with Dermot Keyes

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