‘I hate people who have notions’: Mary Kennedy on why false people won’t find success

The former Nationwide presenter spoke candidly about her role as a mother and grandmother, her experience of menopause, and the valuable career advice she received from Late Late Show host Gay Byrne 
‘I hate people who have notions’: Mary Kennedy on why false people won’t find success

Mary Kennedy on the Moments That Made Me, the Weekend podcast from the Irish Examiner

Mary Kennedy is a busy woman, despite her retirement. The former Nationwide presenter continues to work as a broadcaster but has also found time for family, fun and writing, as she is working on a book with her sister.

After experiencing menopause symptoms for more than a decade, Kennedy says she is relieved it is part of public discourse at the moment so more people can become aware of it, particularly men.

“I think the value of what's being discussed openly is for men to learn what menopause is like because women know,” she tells Irene Feighan in the latest Moments That Made Me, the Weekend podcast from the Irish Examiner.

“Women know what menopause is, but it's very educational for men. You do need to know if your mother or your partner is going through the menopause, it helps a lot.” 

She credits Gay Byrne for giving her the best advice in her career. She met the veteran broadcaster on her way into an interview for a role in RTÉ and asked him if he could share any advice with her.

“He said: ‘Just be yourself. If you're trying to be something you're not, you might get the job but you’ll fall flat on your face. You will always eventually be found out.’ And that I have taken to heart. 

I think Irish people are very astute. If you try to be something you’re not, people have no time for that.

“I hate people who have notions. And I think, Irish people have fewer notions than other countries, and therefore we do very well, we punch way above our weight in the States, in France and the UK, everywhere.” 

She says she appreciated the welcome the public always had for her when she filmed Nationwide around the country.

“There are very few places that I haven't been to,” she says. 

“People were so welcoming, there’d be tea and scones to thank us for coming. Nationwide is a wonderful program for shining a spotlight on projects and enterprises that wouldn't get the attention otherwise.” 

Her work on Nationwide left little downtime between filming but now she has more free time to enjoy.

“It's not as busy, but it's busy enough,” she says of the programmes she has worked on this year.

Kennedy says she is looking forward to spending time this summer with her daughter, Eva, and her two grandchildren, Paddy, 2, and Holly, who was born at Christmas. 

She enjoys playing with her grandchildren, something she misses from when her children were young.

“You miss those moments, you miss the fun parts. When you're working outside the home, it's difficult to find time for everything so you're chasing your tail the whole time. This is glorious because you are able to get down on the floor with a small child, bring them to play football, read books to them, and then at the end of the day, the classic, you hand them back. There is a reason why you have your children in earlier years because, gosh, the energy levels that are demanded are huge.”

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