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Woman of the Month

Woman Of The Month - Birgitt Nordbrink

The name is misleading. Birgitt, nee McDonagh, is a British Subject, whose father was Irish and mother German. She married German airline pilot, Udo Nordbrink, whilst working as an air hostess for Lufthansa.

Having lived in Ireland, Germany and England as a child, Birgitt wasn’t daunted by the idea of living in Iran, when Udo was offered a job as training Captain with Iran Air. Through involvement with an expat drama group, Birgitt was offered in- house training as Newscaster with the English Service of the “Voice of Iran.” These were exciting times. Iran was on the brink of a revolution. Broadcasting news in English became more and more difficult, due to ever increasing censorship. Finally, the English Service was taken off the air and we know what happened next.

After a short spell back in Ireland with various unsuccessful attempts at joining RTE, due to lack of spoken Irish, The Oman beckoned with Gulf Air for Udo and Radio Oman’s English Service for Birgitt. With three weekly programs, news and interviews, this was a busy time. Apart from interviewing many visiting celebrities for her program, “Talk of the Town,” Birgitt was the only journalist granted access to the the Omani Royals, having interviewed both His Highness Sayed Thuwani and His Highness Shabib bin Taimor.

Due to Udo being unwell, they had to return to Dublin. Udo died in August of that year leaving Birgitt with Michael, their teenage son.

A new life had to be created and it was important to try something completely different. After studying interior design for two years in England and Ireland, Birgitt wrote regular features for “Irish Brides” magazine and set about revamping the interiors of shops, restaurants, schools and homes.She was invited to participate in the Interior Design Forum of the Ideal Homes Exhibition and won the prize for the most creative hat design at the Dublin Horse Show.

Birgitt’s latest venture now was a 60-Seater restaurant she designed and ran called “The Stables Bistro,” which quickly became a trendy meeting place for Dubliners in County Wexford, popular with those who wanted to be seen. Success achieved, it was time to move on and the South of France seemed a good idea.

After purchasing a rundown Florentine style villa in Menton, with overgrown garden terraces, Birgitt was kept busy for a few months, but a chance visit to the British Association of Menton, was all Birgitt needed! Menton members at the time, constituted a group of mainly elderly expats, whose highlight of the week was meeting for a cup of tea at St John’s church. No new member had subscribed for years.

During the six years Birgitt has been President of Menton, things have changed dramatically. With 160 members and new people joining every quarter, The “dusty” image of the British Association has been swept away in Menton. Birgitt says, “Why should people wish to join an organisation that has nothing to offer?” “To ensure success, you must to be out there, not only offering interesting events and excursions, but by communicating with people and listening to them.” “It’s hard work, but worthwhile, because I know it’s appreciated. “

Answers to questions:

1 A job well done. A visit from my son, Real talent, Beautiful scenery, Comments small children make

2 Achievement, Success, Reaching a goal…. But also Kindness, Selflessness, Courage and taking the time to listen to others.

3 Yes!

4 Fishing tackle a gun and a small boat

5 A glamorous night at the Salle d’Etoile, a day cruising on a boat, discovering an interesting old village, finding a really good restaurant, a long walk along the coast

Wednesday, 1 June 2016    Section: Woman of the Month
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