June 18th, 2020

Cashbook staff show hidden talents on lockdown in Ireland

Ireland enters lockdown

In this article, we take a look at what Cashbook staff have been getting up to during lockdown. To give some background, Ireland and its people have been on lockdown since March 12th. When Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, announced that we were going into lockdown for two weeks. On March 27th it was announced that Ireland was going into full lockdown mode for another two weeks. All schools, sports, restaurants, pubs, cafés, and non-essential shops and services were forced to close. On April 10th the lockdown was extended for a further three weeks.

Once each deadline neared, another extension was added until the plan for gradually opening up the country in phases, with the first phase on May 18th, was released to the public. Cashbook staff have all been working from home since mid-March, and Cashbook will begin a phased re-opening of our offices, around government guidelines, on June 29th. Ireland should reach the last phase of re-opening the country by the end of July.

As you probably know from your own personal experience, being confined to your home and being allowed outside for exercise once a day, or a trip to get groceries can be quite challenging. There is only so much Netflix and re-runs of old sporting tournaments that can be watched by anyone. But a lot of extra free time can lead to great improvements around the household, developing new skills or even rekindling lost ones.

The first Cashbook wedding

We were due to celebrate the very first Cashbook wedding in June. When Michael Twomey, Marketing Manager, and Jing Cai, Implementation Consultant, were going to tie the knot. Unfortunately for them, the wedding had to be postponed due to the pandemic. Michael said “we postponed our wedding until next year, as we want our family and friends to celebrate with us and have no fears around their personal health and safety. It won’t be long coming around again and we can’t wait”. Their wedding is something that we look forward to celebrating in 2021.

Undercover gardeners

As people were confined to their homes for an extended period of time, the garden became one of the few spaces that provided sanctuary. It’s no wonder that new gardeners were actually born overnight! Grocery stores even started stocking extra garden products and plants to meet the huge demand.

Michael and Jing turned their attentions away from their wedding and towards gardening. They transformed their garden by planting lots of new trees, flowers and plants. They also created beds to grow lots of different fruit and vegetables at home. You can see the results of their efforts below, those strawberries look delicious.

Dermot Dineen, Product Consultant, transformed his garden by adding a new drainage system and paving around the perimeter. As you can see below, Dermot created a beautiful new lawn for the kids to play games and to have BBQ’s over the summer months. Quite an amazing transformation in a short space of time.

Operation transformation in Dermot’s new garden.

Cashbook CEO, Greg Coulter has also spent time with his family gardening. Greg commented “like all projects it’s all about the people. Motivating two teenagers and a 10-year-old to pull weeds from our garden was a challenge. Let’s just say, I found new motivation to head to the home office and work on Cashbook. Thankfully my wife took on the home schooling duties, proving once again, that not all super heroes wear capes.”

Lockdown home schooling

As schools were closed, parents became teachers overnight with home-schooling. Home-schooling was a very difficult task to complete with everything else going on. Aileen Hogan, Project Accountant, was juggling teaching duties with Cashbook duties. Aileen said “I realised quickly why I never followed my childhood dream of becoming a teacher”. As kids of Cashbook staff, with spare time on their hands, became experts in both Minecraft and Fortnite – as kids usually do! Aileen’s kids turned their hands to other activities including: learning to play the guitar, taking up baking cakes, learning new languages and generally helping more at home. Daily workouts on Zoom became the norm to counteract the calories from the delicious cakes. Aileen added “It was nice to take a break from the usual rush of soccer, basketball, and football training and matches, to spend some nice quality family time”.

Secret painters

Sharon McGrath, Implementation and Support Manager, had her eldest kids return to live at home as Universities closed and working from home took effect. Besides getting used to having her grown-up family around again. Sharon walked their new dog a lot, to stop him from using all that energy to chew items around the house. Sharon said “my new puppy’s ability to chew & destroy has kept all the family on our toes, chewing through the internet cable was an experience”. She has also rekindled her passion for Oil Painting, which had been put away over the years. As you can see below, Sharon has been putting those skills to very good use.

A beautiful oil painting by Sharon McGrath.

Lockdown home renovations

As all Cashbook staff worked from home, new office spaces were literally created overnight. Spare rooms and unused areas were turned into home offices in the blink of an eye. Remember those jobs that you have been putting off doing around the house? Well now there was no excuse to not do them as the social diary dried up. Haroon Panezai, Partners Director, redesigned his kitchen, dining and utility spaces around the house. Also, creating a new library area which was useful for all the Microsoft Team calls as a backdrop. This was certainly a big undertaking and work had to stop at certain points during the lockdown, but as phases gradually allowed contractors to return to work – all renovations have now been completed. Haroon mentioned “No kitchen or takeaway service or heating. It’s been a camping adventure that was accidentally extended by a few months.”

Sharon McGrath along with adding new paintings to the wall, also turned her hand to papering it! She transformed her house by adding new wallpaper to the rooms herself. It’s amazing the talent that comes out when people have more time to be creative around their homes.

Do-it-yourself hairdressing

As the hairdressers and barbers remain closed for over three months now. There were a lot of staff that turned to accepting haircuts from loved ones out of pure necessity. We have seen some of the photographic results, some turned out better than others. We won’t be sharing any incriminating pictures of the final results here!

Sport after lockdown

We have quite a few keen golfers at Cashbook, and once the golf courses re-opened in the first phase on May 18th. They cleaned the dust off their golf clubs and took to the courses with delight. It was great for them to get out in the open air and shoot 18 holes in the hot May sunshine. Although some of our players, which we won’t name, said there were such high winds in the first few rounds back that it completely affected their game! Hopefully they have since re-discovered their touch, and their handicaps are now going in the desired direction.

We also have a few long-suffering Liverpool fans at Cashbook. They were going through a roller coaster with the season possibly getting cancelled. Their beloved team had an almost unassailable 25-point lead at the top of the table, and were looking forward to their first league title in 30 years! David Rushe, Global Sales Manager, said “I’d like to thank all the Manchester United fans who have been so considerate over the last 12 weeks. They have shown great compassion in reminding me, that I’ve been waiting 30 years for Liverpool to win the league. What’s the point in worrying about another 12-week delay”. Fortunately for both Liverpool and David, it now looks like becoming a reality as the Premier League returned this week.

Microsoft Teams

With everyone from Cashbook working from home, Microsoft Teams became the platform that brought us all together. For meetings, live chats, conference calls and collaborations it really is such a great platform which allowed us to continue working as if we were in the office together. Cashbook continued to operate ‘business as usual’, without any slowdown in development, support and project implementations which was fantastic.


It is truly great to see the Cashbook staff above putting their extra spare time to good use during lockdown. Some great hidden talents lie among them. The lockdown allowed us all to rediscover the important things in life, things that sometimes we maybe take for granted. Such as spending quality time with loved ones, and knowing what really matters in life. The lockdown has given us all time to reflect, and when things get back to normal in the coming months and years. People will have truly gained a new perspective on life and how we should live it.

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