Hot Press : 2019-04-01

Best Of Ireland 2019 : 27 : 27

Best Of Ireland 2019

PAT K E N N Y BEST OF IRELAND | 27 what. It keeps you open to all these different ideas.” Is there a book in him? “There’s a book in everybody, but do people want to read it? I’ve been sounded out about doing an autobiogra­phy, but I think my life’s been chronicled enough in the press over the years. There are some great Late Late Show anecdotes like the time the choir who were backing Westlife walked out because we wouldn’t let them praise Jesus. We had to replace them at the last minute. Stuff like that would be fun to share, but I’m not particular­ly interested in writing My Life And Times.” bit of that, and create something of her own making.” On the rare occasion that Kathy and him have a few days to fritter away, it’s off to John and Frances Brennan’s Park Hotel in Kenmare. “They really are the most genial of hosts. I love the Park and Kenmare itself. You’ve Kenmare River or Kinmare Bay – they call it both, so even though it’s not by the sea there’s plenty of water. I also love Glendaloug­h because it’s within spitting distance of Dublin. The walk up to the Glenmacnas­s Waterfall is exerting, but not too exerting and you’ve the wild deer and feral goats from the old mining village.” Snaphappy: Pat takes a selfie with a fan “There are so many women now writing great fiction” MEGASTAR STATUS While very happy with his current affairs lot, Pat, an original member of the RTÉ Radio 2 “Comin’atcha!” crew back in 1979, wouldn’t mind getting back to his DJ roots. “I’ve still got all my old vinyl LPs at home and get wistful when I hear Fiachna Ó Braonáin’s Late Date or Philip King’s South Wind Blows, both on Radio 1, where they get to ri e through their collection­s. The music’s really allowed to breathe on those shows. Some things from my Radio 2 days I remember vividly, like when Bono, at around the time of Boy, came in to do the classic album review with me on the Outside Track. We were playing something from Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks and he managed to hit the stylus so it went ziiiiiiiip­ppppp across the record. I don’t get to nearly as many gigs as I’d like to. The Rolling Stones last summer in Croke Park was amazing – Keith Richards, in particular, still has it. Even though Bono ruined that Blood On The Tracks review, I also make a point of seeing U2 every time they tour, because there’s always something new and innovative. I’ve known Bono, if you’ll pardon the pun, man and boy and he’s genuinely a great guy.” I was sat beside Pat at that Rolling Stones gig and he must, with nary a grumble, have posed for a dozen sel es while they were playing. Does that get tiresome? “No, I believe it’s part of the service. If people are generous enough to listen to you on the radio or watch you on telly, the least you can do is give them a few moments of your time. Usually it’s for their mammy or granny! I’m extremely grati ed that after all these years I still have an audience.” Have any young Irish acts caught the Kenny ear recently? “A guy who’s big but should be even bigger is Gavin James. The voice, the writing, the sound, the persona – he should be selling as many records as Ed Sheeran. He works his socks off too, so he might still achieve the megastar status he deserves. Between the music and the literature and the upsurge in independen­t Irish lm, this is a golden age for the arts here.” FERAL GOATS After a busy week’s broadcasti­ng – he’s also back soon with his Virgin Media Big Debate – Pat admits that he needs somewhere to decompress, which more often than not is the Phoenix Park. “I’ve had a lifelong love affair with the park,” he enthuses. “The Furry Glen; the Dog Pond; what we used to call the ‘Eagle Monument’, which of course is the phoenix from the ames that gives the park its name; I know every inch of it. You can now go into Farmleigh and the old Nuncio’s residence, which when I was growing up was out of bounds. Every weekend there’s a road race or a walk for charity or whatever. The park is really used. “My dad was the Elephant Keeper at Dublin Zoo, and as a kid if it were snowing we’d go up to the Magazine Fort, which was the perfect tobogganin­g route,” Pat continues. “The closest I’ve probably ever come to dying was when I veered off course in my sledge and crashed into an upright pole, which caught my shoulder, not my head. I escaped with my life by about six inches. I didn’t mention it when I went back home to my mother, but it was scary. “Other memories would have been going to the early morning practices before the Phoenix Park motor racing, which used to happen once a year; the IRA blowing the leg off Lord Gough’s bronze statue horse in 1957; the demolition of the Carlisle Monument, again by the IRA; and going to the polo ground to watch chukkas of polo. Nicole, my youngest, is a distance runner and trains in the Phoenix Park every Saturday with the Trinity College gang. I’ll drive her there with our Weimaraner, Ruby, and go for a walk while she puts in the hard yards. We’ve had two dogs for much of my life in Dalkey, but one died recently. It’s a real bereavemen­t when you lose a family pet.” Pat’s often spoken of his love for his little corner of Dublin. “We looked at Killiney and Howth – I wouldn’t have minded having Gaybo as my neighbour, but it’s probably better that I had my patch and he had his – but chose Dalkey because it has such a village feel,” he re ects. “Bono brought Michelle Obama to Finnegan’s, which is where I go when I fancy a pint. There are lots of restaurant­s, all of them individual­ly owned. There are no multinatio­nal chains in Dalkey, which adds to the local feel.” Where does he go when he’s in need of feeding as well as watering? “My favourite Indian is Rasam in Glasthule. In Dalkey, we have Ragazzi, which is freshly cooked Italian and for sh, Ouzos. We’re spoiled for choice.” Does he dabble in the kitchen himself? “Not a lot,” he admits. “Kathy is a brilliant cook and manages to keep the kitchen tidy as she goes along, whereas it’s a shambles when I’m in it! I’m a scientist by background, so I’ll measure everything out very precisely. I can make Banana Bread, which is a useful skill, but there has to be a recipe to follow. Kathy, on the other hand, will sprinkle a bit of this, a

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