Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Weekend

Here's to you, dad: How Northern Ireland personalities will spend Father's Day

By Stephanie Bell

As we prepare to celebrate Father's Day, we speak to three well-known local personalities about what their dads mean to them and why they plan to spoil them rotten tomorrow.

Dads across the country will be in line for an extra bit of pampering tomorrow as we celebrate Father's Day.

Guiding us through the ups and downs of growing up and staying by our sides in adulthood, always encouraging us with a word of wisdom, our dads are the backbones of many of our lives.

As you prepare to spoil your dad tomorrow and show him just how special he is, we talk to three well-known personalities about what their fathers mean to them.

Declan Holmes

Declan Holmes is the oldest son of TV presenter Eamonn Holmes. Declan (28), who is in he process of launching his own craft beer company with his brother Niall (22), also has a sister Rebecca (24) and a half brother Jack (13). He says:

Me and dad have a great relationship. He is the hardest working man I know. He is so busy all of the time but he always makes an effort to keep in touch with us and make sure he knows what is going on in our lives.

Even though he lives in London we see a lot of each other. He gets home as often as he can and now that we are older, we go to London a lot to spend time with him, Ruth and Jack.

We were always used to dad working in London but there was never a part of our lives when he has not been there 100% for us in everything.

I definitely look up to my dad, he is my role model. He always said he didn't get to where he is without hard work and graft and that has rubbed off on me. Dad also always told us it is important to be happy in what you do and if you are happy you will not have to work a day in your life and that is what he does and what we are trying to do.

I've worked in the hospitality industry in Belfast for seven years and have witnessed the growth of craft beers and after a chance encounter with a brewery in England, I decided to launch a craft beer company with my brother Niall.

We hope to launch our first beer in October called Gallopers, named after a headless horse which used to haunt north Belfast. It will be golden ale and a stepping stone for people who want to try craft beer. We hope to launch a core range of three beers soon after.

Dad is really happy that we are doing something we want and has been very supportive.

As everyone knows he is a big Manchester United fan and I suppose it was inevitable that I am too. When I am in England we try to get down to Old Trafford when we can. I was born in Manchester because dad was working there at the time so I am proud to be able to say that, because Manchester United fans get a fair bit of grief for not being from the city.

Sport is something which dad and I have in common. We went to Cardiff recently for a Six Nations match and we also like golf.

Dad's also a cinema fan and we would sit down together and watch movies, although he is more into old school westerns whereas I like modern shoot-em-up movies.

Ruth is fantastic with us; she is lovely and never tries to be your mum but is there if you ever want to talk to her. It is nice to visit them in London and catch up with her and see Jack. He is big into his sport as well and we usually kick a ball about or play FIFA on the games console.

I do want to make dad proud and if I can be half as successful as him I will do alright for myself. He does let us know he is proud of us all the time.

Dad is a laid-back character who just loves spending time with family and friends. I think he brings that to his job. He is known for having a bit of craic on TV and especially with the Sky News show. Even though it's a news show, he has brought a bit of entertainment to it, making it easy viewing. What you see is what you get with dad.

Unfortunately due to work commitments I won't see him on Father's Day but we will get a Skype call together on the day itself. Niall, Rebecca and I are planning a trip to London in July when we will take dad out for a belated Father's Day dinner. It's always full of laughs when we are together so organising to spend time with him is the best present we can get him.

Rebecca Maguire

Former Miss Ireland Rebecca Maguire (23) is due to graduate this year from Queen's University with a degree in Pharmacy. Rebecca is also a model with CMPR. She lives in Belfast with her parents Declan (43) a tiler, mum Charlotte (40) and younger brother Mitchell (12). She says:

I am definitely a daddy's girl. Dad and I have a really good relationship. Growing up as his only daughter he really influenced me and I am into a lot of things that he is into. I suppose I was a bit of a tomboy.

Dad loves tinkering with cars. He would buy an old car and take his time doing it up and I would have got involved and helped him.

I like to think I'm good friends with my dad. We sometimes take ourselves off on our own for the day or for a meal together. We also go on holidays together, dad would just ask 'what are you doing this weekend?' and if I had nothing on we might take ourselves off to Carlingford or somewhere nice for the weekend.

It is lovely to spend quality time together and to have that friendship.

I know a lot of people whose parents have split up and they always tell me how lucky I am to have such a lovely relationship with my dad and I suppose in some ways I take it for granted because it has always been like that.

He does have his friends but he is a real family man. He recently went away for a couple of days with his friends and when he came back he told us he missed us all and if he could have got home sooner, he would have.

We have good fun as a family. I still go on holiday with mum and dad and my wee brother and at 23 people can't believe I am still doing that with my family, but it's great.

Dad has always been supportive of me and wants me to be happy. When I entered Miss Ireland he was so nervous at the finals that he had to leave the room because he couldn't watch the results.

Dad doesn't often comment on things and wouldn't say something for the sake of it. When he does say something you know he really means it. Before the Miss Ireland final he told me he was very proud of me and that meant a lot.

He always makes sure we don't forget Father's Day. He will remind us two weeks beforehand and then in the run-up to it, dropping loads of hints about presents so knowing what to buy him is never an issue. It's usually something very random like a handle for the door of whatever car he is working on or something to do with DIY.

We usually go out for a meal on Father's Day. We will let dad pick where he wants to go as it's his day and we always make a big fuss of him on Father's Day.

Seainin Brennan

Belfast actress Seainin Brennan (36) has just finished filming the movie Girona with Scottish actor John Hannah. Seainin, who also starred as grieving mother Liz Tyler in the BBC drama The Fall, is now taking a break from acting to organise her wedding later this year to fiance Ben Fetherston, who works in Citibank. Seainin has an older sister Donna and two younger brothers Emmet and Barry. Her parents Maura and Thomas run their own company. She says:

My dad is class. I know it sounds clichéd but he is just totally amazing. He tells me he loves me every single day and gives me hugs and kisses all the time. He always warns Ben that he has a 'Baby on Board'. At first Ben was really puzzled and then dad just pointed to me and said 'that's my baby'. He is just really loving.

Dad is so reliable, he has worked hard all his life. Both my parents are hard workers but no matter how busy he is, even if he is in a meeting or at a conference, he will always answer the phone if I ring. We are so close as a family - my brothers, sister, nephews and nieces - we all still get together three times a week for a family dinner.

Family is everything to my dad. Once a month he organises a big surprise family day out for all of us.

We all turn up at my parent's house at 9.30am on a Sunday and are given a quiz to do and clues. It's like a treasure hunt and we all head off, not knowing where it will lead. The last one a couple of weeks ago took us to Ballycastle. Dad hired a boat to take us past Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and then we went onto Rathlin Island, where we had a pub quiz and dinner.

It is special quality time spent surrounded by people you love. My dad always has our best interests at heart and I always turn to him for advice. It doesn't matter how old I am, he has always been there for me.

Father's Day will be spent in my sister's with a dinner party for the whole family. Everybody says their daddy is the best but I genuinely mean it about mine. He is everything and I love him.

UTV Live journalist Judith Hill (34) grew up in Templepatrick with her parents Jane (59) and Brian (59) and younger brother Rick. Her dad, who is Head of the School of Engineering and Science in the Northern Regional College, has always encouraged her to follow her dreams. She says:

When I think of my dad I think back to being a child first of all as he was one of those dads who always got us involved in things he was doing. He was a youth leader and would take young people abseiling or canoeing and camping and he would have spent time in our garage building canoes and we would have been in there helping him. He also took us with him on these activities.

Dad has always been very supportive and encouraged me to follow my dreams.

After University I wanted to take a gap year to travel round Asia and dad really encouraged me to do it. He wants us to do what we are passionate about.

I really admire my dad, he still has his own dreams and likes to stay active and he wants to travel and is trying to convince me to go to Australia with him down the line.

In the last few years he has been to Africa twice. He and a group of friends from the Field of Life charity built a school in Uganda and I think it is quite inspiring that he still wants to try new things.

He also got an MBE a few years ago for his work in education and we went to London to see him get it and that was quite emotional.

A few years ago my brother had a wee baby boy and dad is proving to be an incredible granddad as well, very hands on and loves being on the floor building Lego.

I usually see dad once a week but I've just recently bought a house and he has been round a lot putting new floors down for me and hammering nails and really helping me to get sorted which I've really appreciated.

He is supportive of me in my work and although he pretends not to follow my progress he makes these wee comments which show that he has been watching my reports.

I will buy him a card and present for Father's Day but as usual it will be last minute and I will probably be running frantically into town today to get something.

Tomorrow I will go to mum and dad's for dinner and the whole family will spend the afternoon together.

Why it's important for fathers to be close to their children

Fathers matter deeply to child development, and they are as biologically hard-wired to provide care as mothers are, according to a new international report published to mark Father's Day.

Fathers with close connections to their children live longer, have fewer health problems, are more productive and generally happier, according to the first-ever State of the World's Fathers (SOWF) report - a landmark analysis of fatherhood that draws evidence from hundreds of studies covering all countries in the world with available data.

The report, published by MenCare, also found that women continue to spend between two to 10 times longer than men caring for a child and these inequalities persist, despite the fact that women today make up 40% of the formal global workforce and 50% of the world's food producers. There is no country in the world where men and boys share the unpaid domestic and care work equally with women and girls.

However between 61% and 77% of fathers say they would work less if it meant that they could have more time with their children.

The report also argues that gender equality will not be achieved unless men are engaged in the care of their children and families, a subject "virtually invisible in public policies and in public discourse."

According to the report, more information about the benefits of fatherhood for both men and their families - specifically, research on what children need to thrive - is urgently needed and could prove instrumental in guiding effective policy changes.

Around 80% of the world's men and boys will become fathers in their lifetime, and virtually all men have at least some connection to children in care-giving relationships.

Belfast Telegraph


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