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‘My parents always encouraged us to work hard but to also enjoy life’

Me & My Money: Doireann Healy, founder/designer, Begley and Bowie

Illustrator and screen printer Doireann Healy designs and screen prints art and eco-friendly fashion pieces. A past winner of the Institute of Designers in Ireland Rising Star award, she founded art and fashion brand Begley & Bowie. Based in Kenmare, she has designed commissioned merchandise for Dromoland Castle, Adare Manor, Park Hotel and Killarney Brewery & Distillery.

Are you a saver or a spender?

I am most definitely a spender. I think I was just reared in a home where my parents always encouraged us to work hard but to also enjoy life. They emphasised that life could go by in a heartbeat, which is something I am realising now. That said, I am shrewd with my money.

Do you shop around for better value?


I work in art and fashion, and I have been often told I have a good eye or simply good taste, but I will look at all of the fashion collections and choose what I like and what I will get the most wear out of, and for what occasions. I will then source those pieces at the best value – often the best value will be to purchase from the designer’s website.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?

Second to our home, what felt like my most expensive purchase came just when I had finished college – a new Peugeot 206 that cost well over €20,000. I have always loved cars as that was my father’s line of work.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?

Some pieces of art that I have purchased over the years by Irish artists are now worth far more than the original price. I qualified in interior design, and I have always understood the value of art in a home and how art can be the starting point for a room. If I see a wonderful piece of art that I love, it will stay with me.

How did you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?

I had always shopped locally prior to Covid-19. I live in Kenmare, and we have some wonderful shops there. I also love to visit other towns like Kinsale, Schull and Dingle to see the work of local producers. When stores were closed during the pandemic, I shopped online which allowed me to discover new Irish designers and brands.

Do you haggle over prices?

No but I probably should! When I used to work in retail for summer and weekend work, I was always amazed at the number of people who would attempt to haggle for a better price. I guess it just wasn’t done in our family.

How did the Covid-19 crisis change your spending habits?

I think the pandemic taught us all that we don’t need as many possessions as we once had. I think people go out a lot less now, and with the emphasis on sustainability and the environment – and with less of an interest in fast fashion. I tend to buy well and re-wear clothing. I also don’t buy impulsively any more. With everything available online, once I see something I like, I will think about it and if I still really want it, I will purchase it at a later date.

Do you invest in shares?

I have never purchased shares but my husband is an accountant and he has, so I tease him that what’s mine is his and what’s his is mine!

Cash or card?

I tend to carry my card with me more than cash as I find that if I carry cash, I will spend it quickly. With a bank card, I will stop and think twice about using it.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?

The last purchase I made was booking our family holiday to the south of France. When it comes to booking accommodation, I love to spend a lot of time researching different areas and finding great places to stay providing they’re good value.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?

Yes. I had always planned on having my own store and having worked a lot in retail and elsewhere, I was very aware of the hidden costs involved so I saved what I could in the belief that one day it would become a possibility.

Have you ever lost money?

Luckily, I haven’t.

Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?

I have never gambled. I wouldn’t even know how to place a bet – nor have I ever been to a bookies!

Is money important to you?

I understand the value of it, and with a business you need money to expand. I know a lot of people who have vast amounts of money and are very unhappy. Life has shown me that health, good friends, family and fun equals happiness.

How much money do you have on you now?

I have around €42 in notes and coins in my wallet.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea

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