My Weekend: I'm honoured to represent the third generation of our family working in the business

Holly Barry is brand strategist for Barry Group who are sponsors for this year’s Taste Festival, a new two-day festival celebrating the best in Cork food, music and horse racing which takes place at Cork Racecourse Mallow, May 10-11
My Weekend: I'm honoured to represent the third generation of our family working in the business
Holly Barry. Picture: Darragh Kane

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I work in a wholesale distribution company, Barry Group, that serves more than 1,000 customers nationwide, including our symbol brands Costcutter, Carry Out & Quik Pick.

With my grandfather founding the business in 1955, I am so honoured to represent the third generation of our family working in the business.

I work alongside both of my parents and my grandfather, James A still comes in and visits us every day. As the brand strategist, my job entails leading our marketing department, scoping out the future direction of our brands and creating brand plans. I work with the most amazing team and count myself lucky in that regard.

I also am completing a PhD in Cork Institute of Technology on experiential marketing in the FMCG sector (fast-moving consumer goods).

Although it sounds like a mouthful to most, it is the most fascinating topic and the findings to date have absolutely shaped our brand direction in Barry Group.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

After a busy week, there is nothing I love more than to completely chill on a Friday night. I would probably go as far as saying that it is the only time of the week that I totally switch off.

My typical Friday night usually involves cooking one of my favourite meals, most likely a homemade pizza piled high with vegetables which is a favourite in the Barry household, and coming down off the high of a working week.

This is typically enjoyed over a catch up followed by a couple of episodes of whatever I’m watching on Netflix.

Lie ins or up with the lark... which is it for you?

Is there anything better than a lie in? Although I do wake up early regardless on the day, I do enjoy totally relaxing on a weekend morning.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Absolutely! In an ideal world, I would love to say that weekends are for relaxing, but the reality is that trying to get everything done on my list between Monday to Friday is quite literally impossible. Anyone who has grown up in a family business will appreciate that the kitchen table has a unique ability to transform into the boardroom. We tend to catch up on our respective tasks and departments and chat about any upcoming projects. However, I always find time to relax as well.

If money was no object where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

My favourite place in the world is Italy, so it would 100% be there. I’m totally infatuated with the culture, the fashion, the infrastructure and the oh so amazing food. I would for sure bring my boyfriend Philip, he is the perfect travel buddy.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

Kinsale has a unique ability to make me relax. I love going down there and just totally chilling out. There is so much to do and see, be it wandering up and down the streets, going for a walk on the beach or eating in the most fabulous restaurants. My favourite would have to be Jim Edwards or Fishy Fishy.

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

Absolutely, I love to catch up with my nearest and dearest. I’m so lucky to be surrounded with the most amazing friends and family. Be it going for a walk, shopping or catching up over hummus and crackers, that is always top priority on my agenda.

Do you get to indulge in any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

I wish I had a more exciting answer here, but I stick to what I love; spinning and Pilates are my go to fitness classes. At the moment, time for this is a little scarce but I do my best to fit in time during the week to switch off.

I also love cooking, there is something so satisfying sitting down to a home-cooked meal. Be it batch cooking or a quick meal on the go, I try my best to always make food fresh — you can’t beat the real deal!

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter do you have a signature dish?

I love entertaining, this actually falls into a lot of elements of my life. As a committee member of the Marketing Institute here in Cork, we run monthly events for marketing professionals and most recently had our annual ball ‘The Ringmaster’s Ball’ which was absolutely incredible.

I also am a committee member of the Irish Grocers Benevolent Fund Southern Region Committee where events and entertaining are the cornerstone of how we fundraise. In fact, we are just about to launch our next event for our women in business network, Elevate.

Through my work in Barry Group we have a lot of events for our retailers and suppliers. In May alone we have our Annual Suppliers Golf Day, The Barry Group Race & Taste Festival, our Summer Tradeshow and a celebration of our 10-year celebration of the acquisition of Carry Out Off Licence.

Regarding entertaining in my personal life, I really do enjoy celebrating with family and friends. They usually are small gatherings, but that is the way I like it.

We have so many places to eat out in Cork. Where are your go to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meal?

My favourite treat is Palmento in Douglas.

Whenever I meet friends that always ends up being the spot. Although I have to say, my eyes are most definitely bigger than my stomach here. Everything tastes so fantastic that I need a bite of it all.

For lunch, my go to is Meat & Leaf in Mallow. It is the best place to escape to during a busy working day. Their salads are always top notch, I could not recommend it enough.

Sunday night comes around too fast.. how do you normally spend it?

Sunday night is my prep time. It usually involves me preparing for Monday meetings, organising myself for the week ahead and batch cooking when my stocks are low. I swear by the Little Green Spoon app, Deliciously Ella and The Happy Pear for quick easy recipes that can easily be pulled out for midweek dinners.

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

On an average working day, I get up at 6.45am. However, if I have an upcoming deadline for my PhD, let’s just say that nights and mornings tend to merge into one! I’m hoping to finish up in September so bring on that little extra bit of time in bed.

A special Fota Island Resort Most Stylish Lady event takes place at the inaugural Barry Group Race and Taste Festival, at Cork Racecourse on May 10- 11.

TV presenter and journalist, Maura Derrane, will judge the glamorous competition. The winner will win a once in a lifetime experience to stay in one of the five-star resort’s luxurious penthouse suites for two nights. A tailored spa package will also await for two, where a variety of treatments and award-winning products can be enjoyed. There will be a glass of Taittinger Champagne for the first 100 ladies that register on the Friday night.

Joining Cork chefs Lilly Higgins, Rory O’Connell and Martin Shanahan over the course of the two days will be rugby pundit, Brent Pope, who will help sommeliers in the demonstration area to talk through some of the most sought after wines on the market via the Carry Out network of stores.

The Barry Group Race and Taste Festival will also see the official opening of a new 7 furlong flat track at Cork Racecourse, set to be unveiled during an evening’s quality flat racing on Friday May 10. Saturday will see seven National Hunt races at the track, while Cork’s The Frank & Walters will get proceedings underway on the Friday evening with their first ever show at Cork Racecourse.

Tickets for the Barry Group Race and Taste Festival can be purchased in advance online at www.corkrace course.ie and are priced €15.

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