By Jimmy Rhatigan
THERE may be half a century between a loving grandmother and a grandson but the close-knit pair have so much in common.
Both are outgoing, quiet, very friendly and love a chat, especially with each other and from a recent chinwag has emerged a spark of brilliance that shows both in a new light.
As well as being buddies from different eras, granny Eileen Lay of Foxcover, Cuffesgrange and grandson Eoin Cleary from Ballingarry, Tipperary are now business partners.
“We were chatting in nanny’s house when she suggested we should go into business together,”12-year-old Eoin told The Kilkenny Observer.
So the seeds were sown for a possible business empire.
Cleary Candles, a name that got the thumbs up from the new business partners was launched at the Castleinch Car Boot Sale on the periphery of our city.
Good for environment
“We put our home-made candles on sale at a stall we paid €25 to rent and we were delighted with the response,” said Eoin.
“We made €100, €50 will be reinvested in our partnership and we earned €25 each for our day’s work that started at 6am and finished at 3.30pm.”
What was once a bake house with Mrs Lay providing brown bread and confections for family and friends is now a full steam ahead candle-making operation .
The Foxcover woman whose husband Ted passed away recently had researched the art of making environmentally friendly candles, an idea that hit the spot with grandson Eoin.
“We bought a beginners’ kit, Soy wax, a glue gun, wicks, jars, tins, and in no time at all our products were ready for the market,” Eileen said.
“We made two types of wax candles. We put a wick in a tin or jar, poured the wax, added a fragrance and let it all settle.
“Before putting our candles on sale we gave samples to friends and asked them to put the candles to the test.
“We got good reviews from our critics so we were happy to go to our first public sale.
“Our launch at the Car Boot Sale went very well. A jar holds a 6oz candle and sells for €8 while the tin, a first cousin of a church candle is good value at €3.
“People were very positive and complimentary and liked our candles. That gave us a great
“The candles make ideal gifts at any time of the year and that they protect our environment and are good value for money make good sales pitches for us.
Pride and joy
“I was very proud of Eoin at our first sale. He loves to chat to people and is really enthusiastic about our business. We both had good fun too.
“The business will be good for us, particularly as winter looms. It will give us both an extra interest. Also it is nice to give people a product that is easy on the pocket.”
The business has the backing of the entire Cleary family.
Eoin’s mum Sinead and dad Noel are both keen hurling fans, albeit in opposite camps.
Sinead works in the household department at our local St Luke’s General Hospital where sons Eoin and Niall, aged 8 were born.
The Cleary brothers are their nanny’s pride and joy. Eoin is in 1st year at Presentation,
He knows full well that his mother, a daughter of Kilkenny, is a big follower of our Cats while Tipp-born dad Noel is naturally, an aficionado of Tipperary.
While he is a budding entrepreneur, Eoin is also an ambassador in the making as he says that he supports Kilkenny and Tipperary.
His sporting preferences are soccer and basketball.
Young Niall who is in 3rd Class at Ballingarry Primary School has a passion for hurling.
When Tipp and Kilkenny clash the Cleary family is a love divided for a few hours.
But at all other times it is a case of one happy and close-knit extended family.
When it comes to Cleary Candles all will be flying the same flag. And in the back of Eoin’s mind, as he told The Observer, will be the expansion of a candle-making business with his nanny when he finishes school.
Facebook address is Cleary Candles.