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20th Dec 2016

Ireland’s Sharpest Minds


It’s well known that athletes perform better when they’re hydrated. And the same goes for mental tasks. Some people amaze us with their ability to recall everything. And it’s nothing to do with genetics, we all can develop sharp minds. Drinking water and brain function are integrally linked. Our brains are made up of approx 85% water and our brain function depends on us staying hydrated. Who would have thought that the trick to having a sharp mind was to drink loads of water? Below is a selection of some of the sharpest minds in Ireland at the moment (who are clearly drinking vats of the stuff) from shrewd investors, advertising gurus, to sports stars with a laser like focus on their goals and victory…

Susan Denham

Denham is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ireland. She became a High Court judge in 1991. In 1992 she was the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court. From 1996 to 2010, Denham was a Pro-Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin. She broke the mould being the first woman to hold the office of Chief Justice.


Dr. John Teeling

Dr John Teeling holds degrees in Economics and Business from UCD, an MBA from Wharton and DBA from Harvard. He has founded nine stock exchange listed companies, more than any other irish person. The razor sharp minded Teeling founded Connemara Mining, Petrel Resources, Minco, African Gold, Persian Gold, West African Diamonds and Botswana Diamonds. Teeling founded Cooley Distillery that was recently sold to US drinks company Beam in a reported deal worth around $95m (€71m).


Photo Credit

Ian Kehoe

Kehoe, a former business journalist of the year winner at the National Newspapers of Ireland Journalism Awards, took over from Cliff Taylor as Editor of the Sunday Business Post. Kehoe left the Sunday Business Post’s in 2010 for a brief stint with RTÉ, Kehoe was an investigative reporter with Prime time and created several documentaries surrounding the financial crisis. The Enniscorthy native co-wrote the incisive Citizen Quinn book about Sean Quinn’s Cavan empire’s rise and subsequent financial collapse.Kehoe is one of the youngest national newspaper editors in Ireland.


Will Prendergast

The former Accenture consultant is a shrewd investor as founding partner in Frontline ventures with Shay Garvey. Prendergast left NCB where he was a partner to establish Frontline which invests in Early Stage Tech companies. He has led investments in a wide range of software companies including Britebill (consumer engagement & billing) and epubDirect (ebook distribution ). He is a member of the prestigious Society of Kauffman Fellows, a network of VC professionals in leading firms around the world.


Máire Whelan

The Attorney General, Máire Whelan SC was appointed in 2011. She’s the legal adviser to the Government and is therefore the chief law officer of the State and is the first woman to hold this position. She is also a co-author of National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) Act 2009: A Reference Guide.


Johnny Sexton

Sexton has a laser like focus in front of the posts and an ability to read the game better than anyone. This has led to career achievements including three Heineken Cup winners medals, a stint with the Lions on the 2013 tour, and a Six Nations Championship victory. It takes a special kind of player to be able to think straight under intense pressure. Sexton showed that in his decisive man of the match performance under constant attack from the French this past weekend. Aside from his rugby accolades Sexton holds a degree from UCD.


Conor McGregor

A UFC cage fighter, although well able to articulate his belief in his own fighting ability, is not the obvious choice in this list surrounded by some one of Ireland’s top intellectuals, one cannot argue with his sharpness in the cage. He has risen steadily up through the ranks and most recently has knocked out fancied fighters Dustin Poirier and Dennis Siver. McGregor with several endorsement deals and his own RTE TV show has also proved adept at marketing his own brand. And he’s done this in a world where there are hundreds of other similar fighters offering a similar product and vying for the same audience share.


Photo Credit

Luke O’Neill

O’Neill and his team of researchers have together with a group of international researchers identified a remarkable drug that may be possible to block diseases such as Alzheimers. O’Neill is the chairman of Trinity’s biochemistry department. The drug, called MCC950, stops a very early trigger that sets off the inflammatory response to infection. The innovative research of O’Neill and his collaborators team could have a life changing impact on those with MS and Alzheimer’s.


Siobhan Talbot

Siobhan is the Managing Director Glanbia Group. Glanbia is Ireland’s largest food company that employs over 5,000 people worldwide. She’s one of the few female board directors of an Irish listed company. Talbot previously worked with PwC in both Dublin and Sydney.

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Paul Coulson

Coulson aka ‘the cooler’ is the media shy tycoon leading bottling company Ardagh. He was the shrewd operator who sold the Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend at the top of the market for over €400m in 2006. He has put together a string of big deals to grow Ardagh to the behemoth that it currently is while achieving cost efficiencies with this scale. HIs first purchases included Rexam for €660m and more recently Impress for €1.4bn. Paul is known for being publicly shy, hence why it was so difficult to find an image of him.


Jonathan Cloonan

Although working with GroupM in New York Cloonan is a Dubliner and Belvedere old boy. He was named in forbes 30 under 30 in 2013 and is an alumnus of the WPP fellowship where he did stints in JWT and edgy publisher Vice. During his fellowship he spent time criss crossing Asia selling TV formats including Masterchef Thailand. He is currently the ‎director of Partnerships & Business Development, GroupM Entertainment.



When you can’t think straight, hydrate. Try out Deep RiverRock’s NEW hydration game to see how sharp your mind is.

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