My Weekend: I hit the roads on a Friday to go hiking or surfing

TJ Hegarty, founder of online maths company Breakthrough Maths tells us how he likes to spend his weekends
My Weekend: I hit the roads on a Friday to go hiking or surfing

TJ Hegarty, founder of Breakthrough Maths. Picture: Carrie Rapp

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I’m from Whitechurch, from a farming background and I have three siblings. My parents have an incredible work ethic and it’s something I admire in them.

Growing up was all about sports and getting outside. I studied agricultural science in UCD. The highlight of college was spending six months in New Zealand. I worked on a farm milking 2,000 cows. I think travelling helps you mature and makes you more open-minded.

I previously worked in sales. However, I’ve been teaching Maths for almost 12 years, starting off in my local village. I set up Breakthrough Maths in 2020.

We teach Maths online in small classes from 5th class in primary school right up to Leaving Cert. I love what I do and I have a super team around me. It’s fun, the way work should be.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

My ideal start to the weekend is hitting the road on a Friday evening. I usually go hiking around Ireland or surfing with my friends on weekends. Summers in Ireland are amazing and we’re spoiled for choice even close to home in county Cork.

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

I’m always up with the lark regardless of what day of the week it is. If I’m at home on the weekend I put on the runners first thing and head straight off to the gym.

TJ Hegarty and David Hayes, hiking.
TJ Hegarty and David Hayes, hiking.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Unfortunately work does creep into my weekend. Breakthrough Maths is growing rapidly and I like to be across everything. I think the ability to switch off takes years and years to develop. I’ve got a lot to learn.

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

I’d love to go to Glastonbury and I’d bring all my friends.

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

I love heading home to the farm at least once a week. It keeps me close to my roots. It’s important for me to spend time with my family whenever I can and being at the farm has the added bonus of being surrounded by nature.

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

Weekends are made for exploring and having fun with my friends.

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

I love hurling and go to as many games at club and intercounty level as possible. Also, I love music. I’m a terrible amateur guitar/singer but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it.

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

I can’t cook but I really enjoy entertaining. I just pull out the guitar and maybe play some Bruce Springsteen. Usually the room empties within a couple of minutes!

We have so many places to eat out in Cork — where are your go-to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meals?

I love Quay Co-op for lunch. It has the healthiest food, all ethically sourced at great value. I highly recommend it.

TJ Hegarty, founder of Breakthrough Maths. Pic: Carrie Rapp
TJ Hegarty, founder of Breakthrough Maths. Pic: Carrie Rapp

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

I usually spend an hour just planning our team’s goals. We have 28 tutors across Ireland as well as a small team in the UK. Being organised is half the battle.

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

I usually wake up around 7.30am. I haven’t set an alarm in years — it’s one of the nice things about working for yourself. Alarms are for emergencies, not mornings.

What else are you up to at the moment?

I’m trying to improve at yoga. I had a bad knee injury years ago. Yoga has really helped.

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