Terence McNaughton: After coronavirus, I'd like to see social distancing from certain people stay in place

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: former Antrim hurling Allstar and GAA Hall of Famer Terence McNaughton, from Cushendall

Hurling manager and former Antrim star Terence McNaughton. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Gail Bell

Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton – 'We don't do cabin fever in the Glens'


Up and at it – what is your new morning routine? How has it changed?

There has been no change in my morning routine, as I have always been an early riser. I waken up at around 7am every morning and then have two cups of coffee while listening to the news. After that, I head to the bar (the McNaughton family-owned Lurig Bar and Guestrooms in Cushendall) and do a spot of cleaning to make sure it is clean and ready to go for the day ahead.


What might you eat in a typical working day for...Breakfast?

I do not eat breakfast nor have I ever eaten it – probably because I was always running late for school. That turned out to be a waste of time – through no fault of the teachers, I might add.


Lunch could vary from day to day: anything from a Joe Maskey lemon drizzle cake in The Pump House to cheese and toast at home or soup and a sandwich from a garage if I am on the go. I do try to eat healthily as much as possible, as it is all about good habits and balance.

Evening meal?

I do enjoy cooking myself and I would have to say my home-made burgers are the best I've ever tasted – with cream crackers, Dijon mustard, parsley, onions, eggs and some salt and pepper. Having my two sons at home, there is always a big variety of meals on offer, mainly lots of pasta and rice dishes.


Have you been able to work from home – if so, how have you found it?

I love the thought of working from home but, as a publican, the wife wasn’t so keen on customers in our front room... So, unfortunately, it wasn’t an option.


Best/easiest lockdown meal?

Wraps, breaded chicken, peppers, onions, lettuce, Southwest sauce and some coleslaw on the side.


Weekend treat?

I am partial to a good pizza or a visit to Ken in our local Chinese restaurant for a hot and sour dish. I can’t get a burger because I would just compare them to my own and there is only one winner there.


How have you kept physically and mentally fit during lockdown?

Mentally, I have tried to avoid Stephen Nolan and the corona police – generally, the ‘doom and gloom’ people. I have done lots of walking around the Glens of Antrim and that has both helped my physical and mental health, as they both go hand in hand.


What has been your daily outdoor exercise?

I have just recently taken up golf after years away from it, but the way I am playing at the moment, I just don’t think it’s going to last. I might have to give in and buy a bike – I’m not looking forward to wearing the lycra, though.


How do you relax?

I listen to a wide range of music from Alexa, then fall out with her because she doesn’t understand my ‘culchie’ accent.


Teetotal or tipple?

Tipple – a pint of Harp in my pub, The Lurig bar. It is hard to beat a good pint of Harp.


What book are you currently reading?

Recovering by Richie Sadlier. I would recommend it to anyone. I mainly read autobiographies, as I like to hear of people’s life stories.


Best Netflix?

The Last Narc, Homeland or a documentary called Dirty Money. Any sporting documentary interests me as well – for example, The Last Dance (chronicling the rise of Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls basketball team).


Most surprising thing you've learned about yourself?

How the simple things in my life are the most important – family, friends and my time. It has been a great time to press the reset button.


On a scale of one to 10, where have you been in relation to cabin fever and where are you now?

In the Glens, we don’t do cabin fever – nobody locks their door. I do not like sitting in the house, so I try to get out as much as possible. With such a beautiful area, why would you sit in the house?


What are the three things you missed most during the beginning of lockdown?

Over lockdown, the three things I missed, in no particular order, have been hurling, friends and a pint in the pub on a Friday evening.


Where will you go and what will you do when restrictions are fully lifted?

I want to go around the islands of Scotland with my mate, Paddy McLaughlin, in his new boat, maybe stopping off at a few of the whisky distilleries along the way and with a few mates with us – with no social distancing.


Biggest gripe?

People driving in their own cars, on their own, wearing a mask. I just don’t get it. Also, all these people who are now health experts, and the conspiracy nuts.


Have your priorities in life or perspectives changed?

Definitely, I appreciate the simple things more now – for example, spending time with my grandaughter, Cara, is priceless.


Any new skills or hobbies?

Painting. I have sanded and painted the whole of The Lurig and, over 400 legs of stools later, I can reassure you, it is not therapeutic.


What would you like to see change for good when this is all over?

I would still like to see us get 50 per cent off meals in restaurants on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I would also like to see a split GAA season and some social distancing from certain people to stay in place.


Has coronavirus changed your attitude towards your own mortality?

No, I still take every day as it comes. If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

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