Mairead Ronan is her son's role model

Mairead Ronan’s son is sports mad and that’s fine by his health conscious mum says Arlene Harris

If Mairead Ronan (formerly Farrell) was to give advice to single mums it would be - try living close to family as they will always be your best support network.

Mairead, who got married to Louis Ronan earlier this year, said she always had plenty of support from her son’s father and her wider family and this made all the difference as she tried to juggle her demanding radio and tv work with rearing her beloved 10-year-old son, Dara.

“If I’m being honest – when I was single I wasn’t a ‘single mum’,” she admits. “My ex was and still is incredibly supportive. Just because our relationship broke up – that didn’t change his relationship with Dara. Plus my Dad and both of my sisters live just minutes from me so if there was ever a time when I needed help I could call upon any of them.

“So I was very lucky that I was never stuck for help. I suppose that’s the only piece of advice I could give someone bringing up children alone - try living close to family.”

Mairead Ronan is her son's role model

Mairéad with dad, Robert, and son Dara

Since she has remarried, the Dublin woman is finding things a little easier as there is always someone in the house to look after Dara when she needs to leave for work.

“I leave the house very early each day at 5.30am, my husband (Louis Ronan) is always there at that time and we have an au pair who lives with us so combining home and work is very easy at the moment,” she says. “Mind you, it wasn’t always that simple – in the past when Dara would wake as I was creeping out the door. I would feel awful saying ‘I’ve got to go to work, go back to bed’.

“But now I’m working on the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show, I am always back before Dara finishes school so I can have dinner prepped, or my run done before he gets home.”

Mairead, who loves exercise and has an enviable toned figure, is an ambassador for Kellogg’s GAA Cul camps. She is keen to pass on a health-conscious attitude to Dara. But believes it’s important to find the right balance.

“I grew up in a house where my dad cycled to work every day, he also took his lunch with him and my mum walked at least once each day,” she says. “She always had a healthy diet and never snacked. So I try to emulate her because she was always a perfect size 10.

“Consequently, I eat well and like to run regularly. My son Dara has a huge appetite but he’s always on the go – which balances things out. In our back garden we have rugby/ GAA posts which he practises on every day and a 16ft trampoline. He cycles everywhere, plays with our local GAA club in Dublin, Na Fianna, swims regularly and even plays golf. He has also played a few games with St Finbarrs in Cork (where his father is from) and really loves it there.

“To be honest he’s happy to do anything with a ball and likewise anything which is put in front of him, he will eat. But on that note, I also believe that treats are essential – for me they mean ‘downtime’.”

Known for her confident presenting style, Mairead has taken some stick recently for changing her surname to that of her new husband. She can’t understand why it bothered people so much.

“We got married in Clerihan in Tipperary and had a perfect day,” she says. “Dara was the best man and carried out his duties wonderfully – it was all lovely.

“And yes I changed my surname to Ronan, but to be honest I’ve no idea why anyone cares. I have loads of friends who married over the last few years. Some have changed their surnames, some haven’t. Either way none of us have commented on it. It’s a personal choice. I wanted to do it, so I did and don’t think it’s anyone’s business .

“I read one tweet that said “Has Mairead lost her own sense of identity” which is a ridiculous claim. The fact that it was solely my choice means I’m in charge of my own identify.”

Anyone who has listened to her broadcasting would ever doubt her self- confidence. Does she think the media give confident women a particularly hard time?

“I not sure that the Irish have a problem with confident women,” she says. “But I think it’s really becoming a global media thing. Take Kate Middleton - she’s clearly a beautiful confident young mother who recently attended a charity event and yet the main news story from it was that she has about six grey hairs – I don’t get it.

“But unfortunately I see this sort of thing in global media every day – in fact, more so [ in it ] than in Irish papers or magazines which I think are more on point.”

Mairead says she has a thick skin when it comes to catty comments in newspapers and she refuses to ponder negativity.

“I am really enjoying things at the moment,” she says. “Family life is great and working with Ian Dempsey is brilliant-he is exactly the same off air as he is on. I have been doing this job for a year now and it has really flown – the old chestnut of time flying when you are having fun is really true. So life is good and I’m looking forward to the future.”


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