A Day in the Life: Brendan Dowd


FAMILY BUSINESS Father and son Brendan and Conor Dowd pictured at work with Dowd Media for Mayo GAA TV’s live stream of Sunday’s Mayo Junior Football Championship final between Balla and Achill in MacHale Park, Castlebar. Pic: Michael McLaughlin

How my day goes tends to depend on whether I wake up in Lecanvey or in Birmingham.
I’ve been commuting to work in Birmingham for the past 13 years. My wife Catherina and I and our two sons, James (22) and Conor (16) moved to Mayo in 2005.
I’m an early riser. If I’m in Birmingham and have to be in the office for 8am I’ll set the alarm for 7am.
I try and get as much work done when I’m in Birmingham to maximise my time at home. For instance, I might stay in Birmingham for the weekend if it enables me to come home the following weekend and stay working from home the following week.
I run my own construction business based in Birmingham, called Rossway. Our work is primarily commercial and industrial with a particular focus on refurbishments.
Catherina’s parents are living in Lecanvey and moving here was always something we were thinking about. The hope was I would be able to get enough work over here but that hasn’t quite happened so I am over and back all the time.
It’s not ideal but I can be in Birmingham as quick and almost as cheap as I’d be in Dublin and it’s an easier commute because I am only driving for an hour and the rest of the time can be productive. It is difficult during the week being away from family, that’s the compromise.
Knock airport is a Godsend. We might knock Ryanair too but I can fly over and back for less than €100 a week most of the time. I fly to either Birmingham or East Midlands and it is a round trip door to door of four hours.
When I’m over in Birmingham I’d usually grab a sandwich in a garage deli for lunch and try to be finished by 6pm, where possible but sometimes it can be as late as 9pm. If time allows, I will go for a cycle – there are some really nice villages in the UK countryside.
While construction is my day to day, I have got into live streaming in a big way in the past year or so.
Myself and my son Conor have our own company, dowdmedia.ie and we stream all sorts of events. At the moment we are partners with Mayo GAA TV and are very busy live streaming club championship games in MacHale Park.
People all over the world can watch those games. The numbers watching so far have been very impressive. For instance, before the Mayo senior quarter-finals on Saturday, September 22, the Mayo GAA TV saw an unprecedented surge in traffic, around 2,000 visits per minute.
I think Mayo GAA TV has huge potential. Let’s take last Sunday’s county junior final. Someone in America or Australia from Achill or Balla will be able to watch their brother or neighbour and their club playing in such a big game for them. It means a lot to be able to see it.
I remember when I was young and my father wanted to ring home, which is Tibohine outside Ballaghaderreen. It took you the guts of a full day to get through. I always knew how to spell Ballaghaderreen because as far as the operator in the UK was concerned, you might as well be on about Timbuktu.
Now we can stream club games so people all around the world can see their own club playing a game. It is incredible and has huge potential.
We have also streamed funerals as a result of being asked to do so. Some people don’t see why anyone would want to film never mind live stream a funeral. And to an extent I can agree. But we have been asked to do it because people cannot always get to funerals.
We streamed one funeral where a young man had died. He had spent a lot of time in New Zealand and his friends there were not able to come back. They were able to watch the stream and the family said afterwards how much of a comfort being able to watch the stream afterwards was to them as well.
Between working in the UK and travelling over and the live streaming back here, there’s not much time left in the day for anything else but if time allows I love getting out for a cycle. I go for a spin from the house to Roonagh Pier and back. Where could you get better scenery?
Sleep is easy afterwards too.  

In conversation with Edwin McGreal

Name: Brendan Dowd
Age: 55
From: Birmingham/Lecanvey
Occupation: Director at Rossway Construction/Dowd Media 

Quickfire questions

If money was no object what would you do?
I don’t think I would do much different. I enjoy being in Mayo but I need a purpose in life. I enjoy the challenge of construction, so work is an important aspect of my life.

Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know?
I am on the committee for The Birmingham Irish Cycle Appeal (BICA). It’s a Birmingham based voluntary organisation who organise a charity bike ride. I have done the ride for the past three years, last year we did Mizen Head to Malin Head. This year we are doing Cyprus. Last year we raised over £70,000 for local charities.

Favourite place in the world?
Staunton’s Pub in Lecanvey on a Sunday night when they have live music. I love to listen to natural talent and it’s there in abundance, as is good Guinness.

What makes you angry?
Quite a lot. At the moment I am having a fight with my Epson printer. I can work out how to live stream a two camera shoot but for the life of me I can’t get this thing to print A4 instead of A3.
What food is always in your fridge?
Loads, Catherina has always kept it well stocked.

What really scares you?
Catherina’s reaction when she reads this.

What is your most prized possession?
My Pinarello bike. I bought it off Ben Walsh from Lecanvey. A serious cycling talent, currently with the Irish cycling team. I have had to have it modified with granny gears.

Most famous person you have met?
With the Mayo GAA TV stuff meeting some of the Mayo players. They probably don’t consider themselves famous, which is why I like meeting them.

Best advice you’ve ever received?
There is no shame in failing. Don’t be afraid to fail. There are too many people who won’t have a go because they are afraid of failing. In life you will at times fail, but you will come out of it a better person and learn from it.

Three words that describe you?  
Ambitious, ordinary, a thinker.