Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs: Brendan White of The James Joyce Irish Pub

Welcome to Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs! Berwyn has become a hot spot for urban professionals, entrepreneurs and creatively minded individuals. From musicians to crafters, small business owners to dedicated team members, Berwyn is home to a remarkable group of movers and shakers who keep our community vibrant. This segment give us a chance to get to know what makes our local leaders tick!

Meet Brendan White, Dublin-er turned Berwynner.

Hometown: Dublin, Ireland
Current Residence: Berwyn, IL
Brendan’s Bio: It’s been a long journey from Dublin to Berwyn, but it’s been a good one. I started working in my father’s butcher shop and worked there every day after school. He gave me a great work ethic that I am very grateful for. I then went to work at the B+I line, the biggest shipping company in Ireland at the time, in sales for 22 years. I’m passionate about soccer and am part owner of a soccer exhibition company based in London, which has afforded me the opportunity to travel the world. I came to America at 30, looking just to stay for a few months, travel the country and go home. Well, three beautiful children and a career as a union carpenter later, and I’m still here. So I think it’s fair to say that I’m staying! I have done a lot in my life, but my biggest achievements are still my wonderful children.

The Business Side: My business partner, Colin, and I had been looking for a bar that we could turn into an Irish pub. We went into the Windsor Lounge 17 years ago, and it just felt right. We struck a deal and began working to make it The James Joyce Irish Pub. We hoped that our pub would be a meeting place where people would connect, laugh, have a drink and go home happy —and of course come back again. We could not have been asked for a better place to have opened our business. Berwyn has gone from strength to strength over the last 17 years and is truly a wonderful community.

Describe yourself using 3 words and explain why you chose those words
Family: Family means everything to me at home and in the USA. I have twins Brendan and Caitlin, both 25, and my baby Maddy, who is 13. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for family!
Funny: Okay, I know some people might not think I’m funny, but I try to make people laugh as much as I can. There’s no better feeling than to have a good laugh with somebody. It can really lift your spirits and make your day a little brighter.
Loyal: I try and teach my children the importance of loyalty. It takes a lot of strength at times to be loyal, but it is always the right thing to do. This was taught to me by my family at an early age. They showed me by example and I’ve never forgotten it.

Who inspires you?
My Aunt Marie inspires me. She looked after me after I had tuberculosis at age 12 and raised me with my uncle. They had 3 children of their own, and one of them, Noel, had special needs. She never stopped smiling or working and was always helping others. If I can become half the person my aunt was, I will have achieved a lot with my life.

Tell us something that people might not know about you.
I was a semiprofessional soccer player from the ages of 17 to 26. I also was involved with musical and dramatic societies and got the chance to participate in a lot of musical productions. I got the love of musicals from my family, as they all participated. I have passed my love for music and drama on to my daughter Caitlin.

What is your fondest memory?
I must say, it would have to be seeing my children being born. It was such a mixture of emotions, but the overwhelming emotion I experienced was just pure joy at the little miracle I was holding in my arms.

Which person from history would you most like to meet?
Nelson Mandela has always been my hero. To be imprisoned for 26 years and then be released, become the president of South Africa and forgive the man who sent you there! There are not many people who could do that. I would have so many questions for him, way too many to write here.

What is something that you NOT good at?
I have atrocious handwriting, it’s really terrible! Five minutes after I come out of a meeting, I can’t even read my notes!

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