Niamh De Brun
Niamh de Brún is getting the county moving with her January lockdown boot camp and it’s exactly what we need after the extra indulgence from the extended Christmas break.
Originally from Limerick, Niamh moved to Kilkenny in 2016 after she met her now fiancé Kilkenny hurling star TJ Reid. The couple live in the countryside of Ballyhale on a farm with their adorable husky Casper.
Niamh was crowned ‘Miss Kilkenny’ in 2017, where she went on to represent the Marble City in Miss Ireland. She studied Business in the University of Limerick and has worked for many years in the corporate world of Human Relations.
Outside the day job, Niamh likes to blog as a pastime. Her very successful social media channels attract followers from all over the world as she focuses on fitness, fashion and a healthy lifestyle.
TJ and Niamh, like many couples, were looking forward to celebrating their wedding in 2020. Due to Covid, the nuptials were postponed, but as always Niamh’s positive disposition allows her to look forward to planning it again for 2021.
However, her goal at the moment is to get us moving in this lockdown. She has us off to a flying start, as hundreds of people have already joined in on a series of free online fitness classes she has been running with TJ.
Here is a glimpse into Niamh’s world.
During the first lockdown TJ had every schoolkid in the country doing his PE classes. Now in the third lockdown we are all following your classes.
Yes in the first lockdown TJ did the PE classes and is doing them again, but Niamh’s lockdown boot camp is my initiative.
It’s something I thought might work well in the gym - TJ Reid Health & Fitness. So I asked could I come on board and run it through their systems. The gym was delighted as it’s their goal too to get people moving.
I call it Niamh’s lockdown boot camp, it’s free and runs every Wednesday evening at 7pm online. People can book in through the free TJ Reid health and fitness app, and in turn you are sent a Zoom link to workout with us.
In the first week you had a record number of attendees.
Yes, that’s right Siobhan. The classes are capped at 1,400 due to Zoom capacity - in week one we had 1,400 people registering within the first 13 hours!
It’s 45 minutes of hard work, but an hour in total including the warm up and cool down. We are getting great feedback and I think people are liking the banter with TJ and I! TJ is the qualified instructor so he takes the lead.
We have a bit of craic with TJ trying to keep me moving and stop me taking so many water breaks! So it’s fun as well.
We’ll keep doing it if it helps people through this lockdown and it doesn’t interfere when hurling training comes back. There’s also an important charity element to the class too. I’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone who has donated so far.
The classes are free, but you are asking people to give what they can to Milford Hospice in Limerick. Why is this your chosen charity?
Milford Hospice took really good care of my grandmother and since she passed away it’s always been on my mind to do something for them.
The classes are free and there is no obligation on anybody to donate to the charity but obviously it’s a bonus if they do. I am not asking for anything at all, but when you see people giving fivers and tenners, it’s great.
Our overall target was to raise €500 for Milford, but in the first week we surpassed that with donations of €1,700. We had raised €2,700 by the second week.
You are a great advocate for fitness. Were you always athletic?
I was very fortunate to have such great parents who got us involved in everything. They had us doing everything from swimming to GAA, horse riding and ballet. Both my parents have a huge interest in sport, especially GAA, so they always had us active.
You’ve spoken openly about your wedding cancellation last December, while all the time mindful of the pain and suffering around you. It must have been disappointing on you both all the same?
Yes we’ve had to postpone the wedding twice – the original date of December 2020 and the rescheduled date of February 2021.
I was disappointed at the time but as TJ reminded me it’s a piece of paper and a day out, and we’re practically married as it is. When I think of that, it always makes me feel better.
It was disheartening ringing and cancelling suppliers, but my problems are minute compared to what’s going on in the world at the moment.
What do you love most about living in Kilkenny?
I think it’s the people, I always receive a lovely welcome. The people of Ballyhale have always been lovely to me. I’m very lucky that TJ’s family are so great and live so close, even if we can’t see them at the moment.
When things open back up and we can travel again, what do you suggest people to see in your beloved Limerick?
I would highly recommend The Milk Market on a Saturday morning. It’s one of my favourite places to get a coffee and stroll around.
People should visit Adare too, it’s a beautiful village with tasty cafes, a park and a gorgeous church. There is King John’s Castle and maybe just walk around the city, pop into the shops and Brown Thomas.
I really miss being down there at the moment, so I am grateful that we spent Christmas with my family in Limerick.
You have a very successful blog on lifestyle, skincare, fitness and fashion. How difficult is it to juggle a corporate career and your blog?
Blogging is just a pastime, just like people who play sport and go training in the evening after work. It’s a hobby and I enjoy researching on skincare and fashion. Those who follow it really enjoy it too, well they tell me they do! However, my primary focus is in the corporate world.
You have showcased lots of Kilkenny fashion during the pandemic. What is your top tip for shopping locally online, especially now that our boutiques are closed?
Make a conscious effort to check if your local boutiques and stores have an online presence. You might get it a fraction cheaper from the bigger chains but do bear in mind that a lot of these local businesses are run by families that had to close their doors several times over the past year. So if it is a few extra euros and you are able to bear that cost, remember it’s worth it when you are helping somebody at the other end.
The Brexit charges coming in from the UK will be another push for us to shop local and in Ireland. If people do order from the big UK brands they will bear the brunt on the charges that will be imposed on delivery.
You say you can’t cook, so how is TJ in the kitchen?
He is brilliant at cooking - thank God one of us is! With no GAA training for the month of January he is doing lots of cooking in the new slow cooker I bought him. He is trying out loads of new recipes in it and I get to reap the rewards.
He really enjoys cooking and he makes a lot of healthy dishes. His cooking is very balanced between carbohydrates, fats and protein and are very tasty.
Tell us something that people might not know about Niamh de Brún.
Primary school teachers and students will be aware of Irish programme ‘Bua na Cainte’.
This programme was created by my Dad and it is used in most of the primary schools around Ireland. There is a character in it called Niamh, who is named after me!
You are always sharing inspirational quotes on social media. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
You could be the ripest peach in the world, but there will still be somebody out there that hates peaches!
If you want to join in with Niamh’s lockdown bootcamp, simply download the TJ Reid Fitness app.