PROFILE OF JOHN WILHELM OPPERMANN

 

 

Click to view picture of JOHN WILHELM OPPERMANN 

 

 

 

DATE OF BIRTH:                     27 February 1917

OCCUPATION:                        Hotelier and Restaurateur

RESIDENCE:                           Blainroe, Co. Wicklow

MARRIED:                              DATE:

Miriam Gallagher                        11 April 1951

Eileen Carton                             15 January 1978

CHILDREN:

Name                                     Date of Birth                   Deceased

John, Karl Oppermann                 1953                              1953

Michele, Marian Oppermann          21 April 1954

Jacqueline, Evelyn Oppermann        29 November1959

 

HISTORY:

 

School and Career:

Johnny is the eldest son of Carl and Mary Oppermann and was born in 27 Synge Street, when he was three years old they moved to Homeville in Rathmines.  He went to Synge Street for his early years of schooling and after to Newbridge College as a boarder.  While in Newbridge boarding school Johnny played on the school Junior Cup Rugby Team. While in Newbridge Johnny also won a writing set when he competed and won a singing competition at which he sung the “Bacarole”, Johnny still has a lovely voice and does a fabulous rendering of “Danny Boy” and “My Mary of the Curling Hair”. As a young child Johnny modelled churches and castles out of sugar as a hobby and after leaving Newbridge, he decided upon catering as a career, this was against the advice of his father who said “you’ll only have pain and grief with the white jacket on”.  His father did not succeed in changing Johnny’s mind and he commenced his training as a chef in 1932 at the Shelbourne Hotel.  He earned 2s 6p per week and as a top apprentice of the year was given the princely sum of £1.00 for his work.  Hard work, extremely long hours and very little time off were the order of the day.  Johnny moved to London and worked in a number of hotels including the Princes Restaurant and the Norbery House Hotel, Drowich.  During that time he gained the distinction of becoming the youngest Chef de Partie in the U.K.  At the outbreak of World War 2 he returned to Ireland and took up a position in the Gresham Hotel.  He then moved to Northern Ireland where he was head chef in the City Hotel in Derry, he left there and became Chief Steward to the American Forces with overall responsibility for the catering operations of the various bases.  He remained for several more years in Northern Ireland in the Victoria Rooms in Belfast and then opened the Glens of Antrim Hotel in Cushendall.  On returning to Dublin he opened the International Hotel in Bray and subsequently the Moira Hotel in Trinity Street. 

 

In 1949 he joined Aer Rianta as Catering Manager for Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta which was one of the most notable positions in his career.  Johnny was instrumental in the development of the outdoor catering service, which undertook many major functions such as Fairyhouse and other race meetings, the Spring and Horse Shows in the R.D.S. and many functions for overseas dignitaries who were visiting the country  and indeed, his role extended into his playing a major part in the commercial development of the airport.  He put the ‘Dublin Airport Restaurant’ onto the social map making it one of the most popular places for dinner and functions in Dublin at the time.   During his tenure the Airport restaurant was also awarded the distinction of the best European airport restaurant.  Between 1964 and 1967 he was Chairman of the European Catering Committee which represented catering managers of all European airlines. 

 

In 1969 Johnny left Aer Lingus to start a family business in Kilternan, with his brother Willy and brother in law Joe Wall.  The Oppermann Hotel and Country Club was opened in 1972, however, due to a number of external influences unfortunately the Hotel closed in early 1973.  Some famous celebrities stayed at the hotel including, Muhammed Ali, Paul Newman and Sean Connery.

 

In June 1973 Johnny and Eileen bought a property in 9 James’s Terrace, Malahide, where they opened their restaurant “Johnny’s” on 1 December 1973.  Johnny personally cooked for his customers while Eileen dealt with the other areas necessary to run the restaurant.  This was an extremely successful restaurant.  Johnny received a number of awards such as; Egon Ronay, Michelin, Board Failte Business Excellence Award and a UDT Endeavour award in 1982.  On 17 March 1988, Johnny and Eileen sold their business and retired Johnny aged 70 and Eileen 56.    

 

Family:

 

Johnny met Miriam Gallagher, the only daughter of Evelyn and Joseph Gallagher from Drogheda, while he was working in the Moira Hotel in 1947.  Miriam’s parents had a very successful drapery business in Drogheda.   She had two brothers Donal and Fergus.  They were married on 11 April 1951 and had their wedding reception in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dunlaoghaire.  In 1953 they had a son John who was still born. They lived in Santry, opposite the sports stadium and in 1954 their eldest daughter Michele was born.  They then moved house to “Edelweiss”, Cloughran which was located near the airport and in November 1959 their youngest daughter Jacqueline was born.  Johnny and Miriam were separated in 1965.  Miriam died a number of years later on 13 November 1977.

 

On 15 January 1978 Johnny married Eileen Carton.  They lived in Malahide for a number of years until their retirement in 1988 when they went to live in Wicklow.  They are both keen golfers and their house is located beside a golf course where they play most days.   Even in his retirement Johnny still cooks, it is his hobby, he also loves entertaining.  In 1997 Johnny celebrated his 80th birthday and had a party to mark the occasion.  Since his retirement he and Eileen did a number of functions for the Blainroe Golf Club social nights.   After the cooking was finished, he would sit down with a smile on his face and say “I can still do it”.  Johnny loves dancing and at social functions is more often seen on the dance floor than sitting down, thus he got the nick name “twinkle toes”.  When not cooking or playing golf, Johnny enjoys reading, looking at television; particularly his soaps, football, golf and rugby and shopping particularly in supermarkets.  Eileen is a keen gardener and the garden in their house is always colourful and fragrant.  Johnny and Eileen could be described as “Darby and Joan” and some say are joined at the hip; because where one is the other is not far behind.  

 

Photos Links School and Early Working Life:

Johnny in the Newbridge Junior Cup Rugby Team: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\NewbridgeJuniorCupTeam.JPG

Johnny at work: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\Johnnywork.jpg

Johnny in his office: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\Johnnyinoffice.jpg

 

Photo Links Aer Lingus:

Johnny’s Aer Lingus ID Card: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\AerLingusIdentificationCard.jpg

Johnny at his office in Aer Lingus: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\Johnnywork.jpg

Newspaper Article: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\AerLingusArticle.jpg

Irish Field Cutting: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\Irish Field Cutting.jpg

Newspaper clipping: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\PaperClipping.JPG

Newspaper clipping: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\NewspaperClippling.JPG

Newspaper clipping: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\JohnnyNewspaperCutting.jpg

Johnny at Boeing: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\JohnnyinBoeing.jpg

Johnny on his Retirement from Aer Lingus: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\RetirementawardfromAerLingus.JPG

 

Photo Links Kilternan:

Kilternan Project Image: PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\image001.jpg

Kilternan Project Image: PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\image002.jpg

Kilternan Project Image: PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\image003.jpg

Kilternan Project Image: PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\image004.jpg

Kilternan Project Image:PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\image005.jpg

Kilternan Project Image: PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\image006.jpg

Johnny in Kilternan: PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\Kilternan Photos and Newspaper Clippings\JohnnyonMoweron18fairwayKilternan.JPG

Evening Press 16.6.72: PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\Kilternan Photos and Newspaper Clippings\EveningPressFriday16June1972.jpg

Evening Hearld 16.6.72: PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\Kilternan Photos and Newspaper Clippings\EveningHerald16June1972.jpg

Evening Press 27.7.70PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\Kilternan Photos and Newspaper Clippings\EveningPress27July1970.jpg

Evening Press 16.6.72PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\Kilternan Photos and Newspaper Clippings\Evening Press16June1972-2.jpg

Newspaper clipping: PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\Kilternan Photos and Newspaper Clippings\NewspaperClippingKilternan-2.JPG

Opening of Kilternan: PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\Kilternan Photos and Newspaper Clippings\OpeningofKilternan.jpg

Opening of Kilternan:PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\Kilternan Photos and Newspaper Clippings\Kilternanopening.jpg

Muhammaid Ali with Johnny:PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\Kilternan Photos and Newspaper Clippings\MuhammaidAliwithJohnnyandJoe.JPG

Eileen and Maureen: PhotosMO\KilternanProject_files\Kilternan Photos and Newspaper Clippings\MaureenandEileeninKilternan.JPG

 

Photo Links Johnny’s Restaurant:

Johnny and Eileen: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\JohnnyandEileenattheirRestaurentinMalahide.JPG

Johnny’s Restaurant: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\Johnny's.jpg

Johnny receiving UDT award: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\UDT Endeavour Award1982.jpg

Johnny receiving business excellence award: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\BusinessExcellence.JPG

Johnny receiving Bord Failte Award: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\BordFailteAward.JPG

 

Photo Links Family:

Johnny on the Beach: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\Johnnyonbeach.JPG

Myriam on her wedding day: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\MyriamonherweddingdaytoJohnny.jpg

Menu from Johnny and Myriams wedding: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\MenufromJohnny'sweddingtoMyriamGallagher.jpg

Johnny and Myriams wedding cake: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\JohnnyMyriamCake.jpg

Johnny, Myriam, Jackie and Michele: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\JohnnyMiriamShellyandJackie.JPG

Johnny and Michele: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\JohnnyandMichele.JPG

Johnny and Jackie: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\JohnnyandJackie.JPG

Johnny’s wedding to Eileen: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\JohnnyandEileen'sWedding.jpg

Family with Aunty Beau who was Mary Farrell’s best friend and lived with Johnny and Eileen in Malahide:

PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\FamilywithAuntyBeau.jpg

Paper cutting regarding party in Cloughran 24 May 1964: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\Cloughran.jpg)

Eileen, Willy and Carl at Johnny’s 80th birthday party:  PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\Johnny's80thBirthday.jpg

Johnny’s 80th birthday party family photo: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\Johnny's 80th Birthday - Family Photo.jpg

Group photo Johnny’s 80th party: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\Johnny's80thbirthdayparty-GroupPhoto.jpg

Johnny and Eileen: PhotosMO\G5-Carl Oppermann and Mary Farrell\Johnny\Dad and Eileen.jpg