My Kildare Life interview with radio presenter, Susan Keogh

Cherished memories of her grandmother's shop in Kildare town

Sarah Peppard

Reporter:

Sarah Peppard

Email:

sarah@leinsterleader.ie

My Kildare Life interview with radio presenter, Susan Keogh

Susan Keogh

Susan went to secondary school in the Cross and Passion, Kilcullen. She now lives in Ballysax, and is married to presenter Stephen Keogh. Her, sister Jane is a primary school teacher in Ballysax National School and her brother Declan teaches in Rathangan.

WHAT IS YOUR FIRST KILDARE MEMORY?

My late grandmother Lil Monahan owned The Gem newsagents on Station Road in Kildare town all through my childhood. She lived with us right across the road from the shop so we grew up with the business.

We learned how to use the till and spent our days helping to make up the bags of penny sweets — 10 in the bag, two in your mouth. We also used to take turns going to Musgraves, the cash and carry in Dublin, with her. It felt like a million miles away but I loved walking the huge aisles picking out the stock with her. There was a little canteen upstairs which she used to bring us to for a bowl of soup and a cream bun before hitting the road for Kildare. The only catch was you had to help unload the van once you got back to the shop. I have really vivid and really happy memories of The Gem days.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT KILDARE?

I’m someone who lives in Kildare because I want to. I wasn’t forced into the commuter belt because of house prices, I never wanted to settle down anywhere else. The best thing about living in Kildare for me is that my family is here. I’m two minutes from my sister and my father-in-law, and my parents are only 10 minutes away. The older you get the more you realise how important that is. I also love that my daughter Faith goes to a small country school with a strong sense of community.

WHAT'S YOUR IDEAL DAY SPENT IN KILDARE?

My favourite place in Kildare is the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens. It’s an incredible amenity to have on your doorstep. But for me it’s more than that. I worked in the restaurant there every single summer from the time I was 15 right up until I finished college, with the exception of the year I went on a J1. David Wardell ran the restaurant back then, he’s now tourism manager there, and hands down he was the best boss I ever had. He always made sure I had work, and took me back every summer. So much work has gone into it over the years and it’s only going to get better with their new ‘Irish Racehorse Experience’, which will take people on an interactive journey from before the birth of a horse right up to retirement. It’s a world-class tourist attraction.

So the perfect Kildare day for me would definitely involve a walk around the beautiful Japanese Gardens, a play in the playground and an ice cream and coffee on the way out. I also never refuse an opportunity to have a little stroll through the Kildare Village. Even just to have a look. There’s nowhere nicer on a dry sunny day.

FAVOURITE RESTAURANT?

Oh, I have a few. Hartes in Kildare town never ever disappoints. The food is fresh and locally sourced and the staff are second to none. We eat out a lot as a family and it’s perfect for that. I also love Avenue Cafe in Maynooth. My good friend, Louise Kelly lives in Leixlip and we often meet there for a chat. She’s my link to North Kildare. They do the best chicken wings and calamari salad.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CAREER IN THE MEDIA

I was there on Kfm’s first day of broadcasting, St Brigid’s Day 2004. I was fresh out of college so it was a baptism of fire. Local radio is a fantastic place to learn though. I left Kfm after two years and worked in a number of different places before landing in Communicorp almost a decade ago now. I present Newstalk Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings between 8 and 9am.

The show launched at the beginning of March and thankfully it’s going really well. It’s a mix of news, current affairs and analysis of big stories from the week. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive which is a relief.