Touring on Irish memories

by Gazette Reporter

TIM Martin, founder and chairman of British pub group Wetherspoon, which has now opened pubs in Ireland, walked The Gazette through one particular day in his life – involving a trip to Ireland.

He said: “I was at my flat in London and I got up very early at 4.30am to get a cab to Heathrow Airport.
“I called on our pub at Heathrow at 5.15am, and then got the 7.50am flight to Belfast, hired a car and called in at our pub in central Belfast.
“I introduced myself to the staff there, had a coffee and thanked them for their efforts, then had a chat with the manager and made a couple of observations about things, and came up with some leads for improving the pub.
“Then I headed up to Lisburn and called on our pub there to do the same routine, before going on to see my two aged aunts in Dungannon in County Tyrone, which is where my mother and father come from. So, I had lunch with one aunt, who’s 90, and the other is 85,” he said.
“Dungannon is where I spent quite a lot of my youth. After lunch, and enjoying the costa del sunshine for which Ireland is so well-known, I headed off to Enniskillen to call on our pub there – that’s nearly a two-hour drive.
“After that, I drove on to Derry and called in on two pubs there, in glorious sunshine. I went to school in Derry [the Model School] from the age of five or six until I was 10.
“My old man was a Guinness rep at the time, so it was a nostalgic revisit. I’ve been there quite a few times,” said Martin.
“I had fish and chips and a couple of pints. I went to someone else’s pub at 9.30pm, where I had two very good glasses of sauvignon blanc, and then went straight to the City Hotel in Derry [to sleep]. That was an unusually long day; really, an atypical day for me.
“The ‘Irish tour’ was slightly unusual, but this is a typical day in Ireland if I happen to be there – that’s the life on tour.
“At other times, [in England] I have one office day a week. I get up at 6.30am or 7am, like most people.
“On a typical day, I’ll try and get in at least an hour of walking and I usually do an hour of light gym work.
“I try to do a half hour on the exercise bike and another half hour on weights, and I usually catch up on some paperwork.
“Then I usually take meetings; I don’t go into the office. I go over to the grandchildren; I’ve three children and four grandchildren.
“I live in Exeter, but my children live in London, so I got a flat in London. With all the children and grandchildren being in London, I tend to spend more time there now,” he said.

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