Ryan Baird: It's rewarding to be kind

'My guilty pleasure is having a Chinese with my mates'
Ryan Baird: It's rewarding to be kind

Ryan Baird and his beloved dog Mackenzie

After eight months of asking sportspeople, authors, singers, TV presenters and other public figures what cheers them up on a bad day, I’ve started noticing three recurring themes: children, dogs and sun.

Ireland and Leinster rugby’s Ryan Baird is no different.

“Whether I’ve had a bad day, a good day, no matter what, my dog Mackenzie is always in a good mood when I come in the door,” he says.

The three-year-old golden retriever is particularly happy this week, he says, as he’s out every day pounding the pavement with his 22-year-old owner as they rack up the miles for the Family Carers Ireland ‘Paws For a Cause’ campaign.

The national fundraising drive is close to the Rathgar’s native heart, as his aunt Roz is a family carer herself.

“My cousin Bradley is disabled, and I’ve seen the great work that Roz and the rest of the family do to look after him, you and I know the support they need.

“And they really, really do need it,” he says.

  •  Leinster and Irish rugby star Ryan Baird is urging people to walk, jog or run a distance of 24 kms during National Carers Week, June 13 – 19, to raise funds for Family Carers Ireland. Register at www.familycarers.ie.

Ryan Baird of Leinster after his side's victory in the United Rugby Championship Quarter-Final match between Leinster and Glasgow Warriors at RDS Arena in Dublin
Ryan Baird of Leinster after his side's victory in the United Rugby Championship Quarter-Final match between Leinster and Glasgow Warriors at RDS Arena in Dublin

What shape are you currently in?

I’ve just come back from a recent back injury. I had to do a lot of work with my physio for six or seven weeks, but I am back training five days a week again and in good shape.

Do you have a morning routine?

I try to have a morning routine but it’s not quite a habit just yet. When I get up, I get ready and have my breakfast. Then I like to sit out in my garden for about 10 minutes and just breathe and take in the morning before the day starts.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I don’t eat much processed food. A lot of what I eat is fresh produce that I’ll either cook, my mum will cook or I get from a good restaurant or our caterers at work.

What are your guiltiest pleasures?

Having a Chinese with my mates, Jay and Mike. Or a pack of O’Donnell crisps. Or a whole pack of streaky bacon.

How do you relax?

Fishing with my dog Mackenzie. We like to go to Dún Laoghaire, Dalkey, and Greystones. I am not particularly successful at fishing, but it’s a great time to just relax and forget about everything.

Who are your sporting heroes?

When I was younger, and still to this day, my sporting hero was Rafael Nadal. He just never gives up. He treats every point like it’s his last, the preparation he goes into is incredible. Another hero is American footballer Tom Brady. Being able to play at such a high level for so many years is just phenomenal.

What is your favourite smell?

A moisturiser I used on holidays, the one with Vaseline and honey. Anytime I use that it reminds me of being on holidays, so it’s a favourite.

When was the last time you cried?

A couple of months ago when my granddad passed away. I’d just come off the pitch after playing against Wales and my dad met me in the changing room in the Aviva. He told me that my granddad was sick, and he passed away a couple of days later. That was a very, very sad time for us but it was a great time to celebrate his life as well.

What traits do you least like in others?

I don’t like people talking behind other people’s backs in a negative way. Everyone does it every now and then, it’s easy to be entertained at the expense of others. But I think it can be very rewarding to just be a kind person.

What traits do you least like about yourself?

I need to listen more and speak less.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

My family, Rafael Nadal, Tom Brady, Tiger Woods, Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike, and Elon Musk — I’d love to pick his brain.

Has climate change impacted how you live your life?

It definitely has over the last year. I’m more conscious of how my actions have an impact on the environment. Food waste and energy consumption are two things that I try to limit as much as possible. No one’s perfect. You’re going to be using plastic and wasting food sometimes, but I think if you make an effort to try not to do it, it’ll slowly build into a habit.

What quote inspires you most and why?

In his Golf Hall of Fame inductee speech, Tiger Wood said: ‘Nothing is ever given to you. Everything has to be earned. If you don’t go out and put in the work, one, you won’t get the results and two, you don’t deserve it. You didn’t earn it.’

More in this section


The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up
Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd