These people from Dingle, County Kerry didn't let the pandemic stop them from turning their vision into a reality.
During the last few months buildings in Dingle that have laid idle for years have gotten a fresh lick of paint, signs with ‘coming soon’ sellotaped on the window, and you can hear the excited chatter around the town- “ did you hear there’s something new opening up there?”
All of this has given locals in the town hope on gloomy days, and lying behind all these new ventures are the faces of the people who took the chance to follow their passion.
Matt Browne is the owner of the newly opened Juice for Thought on Strand Street that sells fresh juice, salads, and healthy snacks. He came to Dingle on a holiday as a child with his family and they quickly became enchanted by the area.
Imagine getting every nutrient and benefit from all of these ingredients in one delicious drink! Doesn’t get #healthier 🍎 #dingle #juicedorthoughtPosted by Juice for Thought on Monday, 5 April 2021
“As a kid, I would holiday with my family up and down the west coast, and when we discovered Dingle that was it. It wasn't until another sixteen years later that I came down for a nostalgic couple of nights. This time a mile before I reached the town I made my mind up to leave Dublin. I still get goosebumps thinking of that moment,” remembers Matt.
It wasn’t until a sunny day in September 2019 as Matt sat on top of Mount Brandon, one of Ireland’s highest peaks, that an idea to give people a taste for a healthier lifestyle sparked within him.
“Originally I wanted to open a hostel but it was a bit out of reach. Then as I grew into life in a small Irish town, I realized how spoilt I was in Dublin for eateries. Although the standard of food in Dingle is very high, cheap healthy options were limited. As people are becoming a bit more health-conscious these days, I decided to work towards that.” For the next year, he planned and grew this idea waiting for the right opportunity to come his way, and it eventually did in the form of a location beneath the bedroom of the building he lived in.
Matt is passionate about incorporating elements of sustainability where he can, and the juices are served in glass jars which give customers the opportunity to give or to return six which in turn gets them a free juice. He hopes this model of business will inspire customers and other local businesses to create similar habits in their lives. “This town is an incredible place with a special energy and amazing people and I have been blessed with the help I've received”, he added.
Further up the town on Green Street, Deirdre Geaney is preparing to open the doors of her gym DMovement once restrictions ease.
Deirdre has a qualification in Athletic Therapy and Training from Dublin City University and has always loved sport and being active She has previously traveled to Macedonia as the athletic therapist for the Irish under 18 girls basketball team in the European Championship.
She started doing online workout classes in March 2020 with friends, family, and the local ladies' football team. Over the following months while in lockdown, she began looking into a location that she could do her classes face to face with people when the time was right, and that’s when the idea to start a gym took hold.
“I always got such a buzz from [doing classes and group sessions]. Seeing and helping people move, feel good, feel happy in themselves, be healthy and just enjoy exercise just made me fall in love even more with what I do. The feedback and the positive messages I was getting from people really encouraged me and pushed me to take that step and to go with my gut and start up DMovement," explains Deirdre.
She remembers the days that she felt intimidated while working out in a gym and her vision for DMovment is to create a relaxed environment for everyone.
"I want to open up a gym to help all those people like me that were too scared to go in, to ask for help and too scared to take that first initial step. It's a gym for everyone- all gender, all fitness levels, all ages. No discrimination, no looking down on people, and absolutely no judging. We want to help, we want to make people feel good, and above all enjoy their exercise and experience in DMovement."
The support she received from her family while in the process of beginning her new adventure is something she believes helped her immensely, especially the inspiration from those who can’t be with her today.
"My mom who passed away seven years ago was always my number one supporter. One thing that she taught me is that if you want something in life you go and get it. 'Go get it girl' [is something] she used to say to me as I was getting out of the car. You take that step, you work hard at it and you make sure that you give it your all no matter what. If you do that you will succeed she would say to me. Taking all these things together I decided that this was my step, this was my opportunity, it was time for me to make my move.”