But she is not about to let it go to her head. “Yes, I did beat them but I can safely say they had a long run at that point,” she says.
Previously a newspaper journalist, she now lives in the shadows of the Wicklow mountains with husband John Sheehan — former MD of Sony Music Ireland — and their nine-year-old twin boys, Murray and Dylan. The family shares their home with three jack russells.
As a UNICEF ambassador she visited Mozambique for the second time last year. “There is a high HIV rate and a lot of children who are orphaned are either looked after by their grandparents if they are lucky or, if not, they are living in child-headed households.
“If people could commit to a few euro a month, that long-term commitment means we can plan what we are going to do and how we are going to help those kids.”
* The Honey Queen by Cathy Kelly, HarperCollins
I have a neck problem — a whiplash injury I got a couple of years ago. That has put the kibosh on me. Before that I would have been very fit and flexible — I did gymnastics as a kid. I have always done yoga and pilates. I am doing more and more yoga and I am getting better.
My neck. And because I have spent all my working life at a keyboard I would have lots of previous neck and shoulder issues and mild carpel tunnel. My mum has arthritis … and that’s down the road. It would help if I could give up the sugar, it’s is very bad from an inflammatory point of view.
We are incredibly healthy eaters. My husband is a coeliac so we never do fast foods or takeaways. We both cook and would do everything from scratch. I haven’t eaten wheat for about a year. I love things like tuna fish, rice and feta cheese.
My morning cup of coffee with a big fat spoon of sugar in it. I love the Rombouts No 3.
I am a desperate worrier. If there was an Olympics for worrying I would win a gold medal. As you get older you know you are not going to make it better by worrying and I am much better at claming myself.
We have a wood burning stove and after dinner we will all sit around it and I will knit — a scarf — something I can pick up easily. I love all those mad, funny wools you can get right now. Reading is a great thing for me — I have about 50 books beside the bed. I love all the new Irish writers.
Mary Robinson, Michelle and Barack Obama, Kofi Anan and Nina Simone — I listen to her all the time when I write. And my family.
I love the smell of garlic and onion when you are cooking. I also love the smell of my sons’ hair when it is just washed. And my little dogs when they come in from a walk and their feet smell lovely and grassy.
It would have been nicer to have been a bit taller — maybe two inches. I am 5ft. I can’t bear wearing high heels because I like to be able to race around. Otherwise, I am used to how I look after 46 years.
One of my sons was reading a book about Anne Frank. As he was telling us about this book — I could feel the pain and starting crying. It was just so tragic.
Unkindness. It is so easy to be kind.
My complete inability to say no. I’m endlessly obliging — it’s a terrible failing.
Yes — it’s a very personal thing.
If I woke up and thought it was a school day but it turned out not to be and I could lie in bed, have a cup of coffee and a little read.