Reilly grew up at a time in the west of Ireland when it was neither cool nor safe to indulge publicly in praising anything English.

It was a source of much confusion and dismay to the young Reilly for a number of reasons.

Long before the arrival of Dermot Morgan and Fr Ted, John Cleese and Fawlty Towers were quite simply the funniest acts in town. And if it wasn’t them it was Frank Spenser or Felicity Kendal or Hyacinth Bucket in ‘Keeping Up Appearances.’ Heck, you’d have to even include ‘Dads Army’ and ‘The Last of the Summer Wine.’

And had he spent a fraction as much time at his studies as he did watching Coronation Street he could well be a nuclear physicist now.

And it extended way beyond TV. For all of Roy Keane’s bluster Bryan Robson was equally prolific as a midfielder and considerably quieter.

And then there was English rugby. Although Reilly was miffed at Martin Johnson for ushering Mary McAleece off the red carpet and on to the green grass of Landsdowne Road in her high heels he could never forget John Pullins performance on February 10th1973. 

It was Reillys first match in Landsdowne Road and he will never forget the roar that greeted Pullin as he led out the English team after Wales and Scotland had refused to travel due to security fears. And although Ireland won that match handily enough Pullin would receive his second ovation of the day when he famously proclaimed after the official dinner that ‘We may not be very good, but at least we turned up.’ Pure class. 

That Christmas Reilly received a book which warmed many’s the cold night in boarding school. It was called ‘Let Sleeping Vets Lie’ by another Englishman called James Herriot. 

The story picks up with a young James Herriot, fresh out of veterinary school during the Great Depression, and searching desperately for a job. He finally accepts a position as an assistant vet at a rural practice in the sleepy Yorkshire village of Darrowby, and is thrown in at the deep end treating pets and farm animals. The book chronicles Herriot’s journeys across the dales to treat a slew of new animal—from dogs to lambs to parakeets—and share sometimes comedic, sometimes moving interactions with their owners.

Although long since deceased, Reilly was pleasantly reminded of James Herriot this week by the writer and entrepreneur Mike Johnson (

Mike reminded him that.

  • Herriot’s books have launched two popular television series. 
  • Created a tourist industry for ‘Darrowby’ (actually Thirsk). 
  • Encouraged thousands of boys and girls to become veterinarians, including his own son.
  • Inspired millions to better love their pets & livestock. 
  • Sparked thousands to become writers & pushed established writers to step up their skills.
  • Now that’s a legacy.


  • Deep inside, we all want to matter and make an impact.
  • Herriot’s real name was Alf Wight. But few know or care. He’ll always be James Herriot. 
  • His legacy is so large it absorbed the man who created it.
  • If you’re not familiar with Herriot, treat yourself. Reilly visited Vinny Browne of Charlie Byrnes yesterday and stocked up.
  • If you are, you know exactly what I mean.


One of the many achievements of Steven Covey was the coining of the phrase 

‘To Live. To Love. To Learn. To Leave a Legacy.’ 

Beyond the beautiful wording, it teaches that a fulfilling life requires acknowledging the existence, importance and differences of the four human dimensions – physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.


  1. What will your legacy be?
  2. Will you be best remembered as an example or as a warning?


(Speaking of making an impact! Siobhan Grant from Tech Northwest Skillnet has invited Reilly to recruit a small group of high performing business owners who will commit to achieving an extraordinary goal by the end of the year. 

Does this sound like you?

You are passionate.

You are powerful.

You are actually extraordinary even though you don’t always believe that.

You have achieved many extraordinary achievements already.

Yet you are a procrastinator.

You put off taking action on important goals.

And you know deep down you could be more. Much more.

If so, please contact Pádraic onp@omaille.ieto learn more about the new Smácht programme.)

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