A Day in the Life: Josephine Geraghty

Features

READY FOR THE SUMMER Josephine and Mattie Geraghty at their B&B, Brú Clann Lir, outside Belmullet. They reopened on Friday while their boat tours restarted the previous Sunday.

Factfile

Name: Josephine Geraghty
Lives: Tirrane, near Belmullet
Occupation: Guesthouse owner/boat tours business

I’m up at 7.30am and I won’t be up a minute before I have to be! We’ve breakfast for guests between 8.30am and 10.30am. I can’t eat until everyone else is fed so I’ll eat after then, usually porridge, tea and toast.
Our Irish guests tend to go for the full Irish whereas our international guests might pick from the likes of fruit, yogurt, scrambled eggs, pancakes and salmon. They might try a fry but generally would only have it one morning. A lot of Irish people will have a fry every morning.
We’re operating Brú Chlann Lir since 1992. We’re in Tirrane, between Elly Bay and Eachléim on the Mullet peninsula.
We’ve five bedrooms and we reopened on Friday last. We had guests on Friday and since then we’ve been booked out Saturday, Sunday and Monday. It’s great to be back after the long lockdown.
We’re not fully booked for the summer though, our experience is that the Irish don’t book too far ahead. It was different with European guests.
Our main business before Covid was from European guests and since Covid it has been mainly Irish guests.
It’s a different world now in so many ways in how we do business.
Cushions and throws and anything like that are gone from the bedrooms.
You have to clean and disinfect the room from top to bottom. We’re easily an extra 20 minutes cleaning in each room now compared to before Covid.
You’ve to totally strip the bed. You can’t even leave the pillow protectors, you need to wash them too. So there is a lot of extra work with all the cleaning and laundry.
So we’ve decided on a minimum stay of two nights stay and the longest people will wait is four or five nights. People might be here for that length of time and then go to another part of the country for the rest of their trip.  

Boat tours
After we do all of that, we’ve to check the bookings on emails and the phone for the B&B and our boat tours business.
We set up Geraghty Charters in 1994. We had a lot of anglers staying with us and there was only one boat in the area doing it and they couldn’t cope with the demand so we decided to try it.
The angling market started to dwindle after a few years so we concentrated on doing more boat tours then. We do tours to the Inishkea Islands and to Achill Island and the Croughan cliffs, the third highest in Europe.
My husband Mattie has always been into boats and he takes care of that side of things and our son Jason gives him a hand sometimes.
We get a great response to the trips to the Inishkeas. People can’t get over the peace and quiet out there. There’s such a history to the place too. It is a different world.
We were busy with the tours last year. The weather was good and people were staying around longer and looking for something to do.
We reopened for boat tours on Sunday of last week. You’re always relying on the weather. If the wind is more than 30kmh, the boat and the skipper will be fine but people just won’t like it so we don’t go out in that.
Back at base there’s shopping to be taken care of and I bake as well, bread and scones.
With the B&B what we’ve found is our European guests would generally be gone all day and only return at night whereas Irish guests might come back once or twice during the day.
We used to do evening meals but not any more. If things are quiet, we will give people tea and homemade scones on arrival.
You don’t get much time to relax around here but if I can get a cup of tea during the day, I enjoy that. We might watch a bit of TV in the evening if we get the chance.

In conversation with Edwin McGreal

Quickfire questions

If money was no object what would you do?
I’d probably be doing the same thing but I’d get more help and spend more time with our two granddaughters.

Something we don’t know about you?
I’m a beekeeper. I took it up three years ago and I have three hives now, so that’s well over 50,000 bees. Honey is the draw!

Most unusual thing you’ve ever tasted?
The first milk from a cow after she calved, it is supposed to be therapeutic. Never again!

Favourite place?
Has to be the Inishkeas, nowhere like it for peace and tranquility.

What makes you angry?

Lies and lateness.

How do you unwind?
A cup of tea and a chat with my friend.

Three things always in your fridge?
Milk, rashers and sausages.

What makes you nervous?
When the weather is turning bad. Then we don’t know if we can do boat trips and it’s awful not being able to give people looking to go a definite answer.

Last book you read?
I don’t really have time for reading so it is a while ago but the last book I read was Amongst Our Own: The Inniskeas by Tomás Bán O Raghallaigh.

Favourite TV show?
I’m a big fan of Yellowstone.

Most famous person you ever met?
I did meet Charley Pride briefly at a gig in Vicar Street in Dublin.

What do you miss most about being a kid?
My grandfather, Pat Howard. He taught me how to write and did lessons with me. We were great buddies.

Most prized possession?
My two granddaughters, Maisie and Zoe. Maisie is just down the road, Zoe is in Dublin and Covid has been hard in that regard.

Best advice you were ever given?
On our honeymoon in Spain an older couple gave us both advice. The woman told me ‘don’t ever try to change him, accept him for what he is’ and the man told Mattie the same thing!

Three words to describe you?
I hope I’m honest, I’ve a sense of humour and I’m told I’m a perfectionist.

First thing post-Covid...
I haven’t been on a holiday for four or five years and I’d love to go to Iceland. Sun holidays don’t really interest me.