At the age of 11, the TV personality and hotelier Francis Brennan made hundreds of pounds selling Christmas logs (decorated wooden logs sold for use as a centrepiece for a table). “My dad was a grocer and he supplied the then Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland with sliced pans and so on,” says Brennan. “I’d go with my dad to help him deliver the groceries to the scouts headquarters — and I always collected a few wooden logs when visiting. I’d then decorate the logs and sell them to restaurants and pubs at Christmas. So I always had a few bob.”
Brennan, who is co-owner of the five-star Park Hotel Kenmare in Kerry, says he learned how to handle money from a young age as a result. His father also taught him to be cautious with the money he earned. “My father told me to always keep a bit for the rainy day,” says Brennan. “So I was always cautious for the rainy day. You could be a millionaire one day and broke tomorrow — as has happened to many people in this country. I’ve never hired private jets. When I visit a city, I always take public transport. Other people have cars waiting to drive off in or taxis to pick them up. I always thought that was extravagant.”
He believes his caution with money helped his hotel through the recent recession. “It ensured we always had a bit of money,” says Brennan.