Part One: The son of Peter and Margaret (`Peggie”) Doyle (nee Mooney) Michael Doyle grew up in Ferrybank as one of six children.
His four sisters, Mary, Patricia, Anne and Elaine and his brother Denis enjoyed childhood in this city suburb, a place Michael still thinks fondly.
Since those early days, Michael’s career in hairdressing has taken him right around the world. A multi award-winning stylist, he was recently presented with a Knighthood in Paris, an honour he described as “amazing”.
In the ‘City of Light’, Michael was honoured by The Council of Ordre de la Chevelarie with a French Knighthood, presented to Michael by Intercoiffure Mondial for his contribution to the hairdressing industry in Ireland and for the development of hairdressing in general.
The presentation took place in the prestigious Salle Wagram, Paris, founded in the middle of the 19th century under Napoleon Bonaparte and includes hairdressing artists from all around the world.
Michael is also a director of the Intercoiffure Hair Fashion Team here in Ireland, began work at Peter Mark in Dublin in 1979 and is currently the Creative Director of Peter Mark at Stephens Green.
Some of his recent work has included acting as hair stylist for Aoife Hannon, who represented Ireland in the Miss Universe contest.
Other celebrity clients include Caprice, Jodie Kidd, Claudine Palmer, Tyra Banks, Andrea Roche, Rosanna Davison and many more. He also worked as an educator for L’Oriel for 12 years.
Michael’s awards are many, including the RTE ‘Off the Rails’ Hairdresser of the Year and the Irish Hairdressing Federation Hall of Fame Icon Award for his promotion of the industry down through the years. He also represented Ireland at the Royal Albert Hall in London for the 2011 International Visionary Awards.
“I went to school in the Ferrybank Boy’s School and I enjoyed my time there,” Michael recalled.
“I did a little bit of boxing there but I also did Irish dancing and like all kids at that time we went collecting tadpoles and picking blackberries.
“It’s so much different now of course with TV games and computer games and so on. We enjoyed those days and I believe we were happier than many of the young kids today.”
Michael continued: “Ferrybank is a much different place now and I discovered that fact when I came home for my father’s funeral. People I had known now had families of their own now but what I also discovered was the friendship and deep bond that was there when I was growing up still exists and that’s wonderful.
“The area has grown enormously, there are a lot more people living there now but the friendship and community spirit is still very much alive.”
He happily spoke about his native sod: “John O’Connor, the highly respected journalist and musician, lived near us; his mother was my Godmother, a lovely woman and thankfully she lived to me a great age. I can recall John’s father Jack mending his fishing nets and he also was a wonderful person to know growing up.”
At the age of six, the Doyle family house was burned down due to an electrical fault, Michael recalled. “We lost everything we had in that fire but all of the neighbours rallied around and helped us get through that dreadful time.
“I remember we had red velvet curtains and one of my sisters was having a bath at the time the fire started and looking back now we can be thankful that it began in daylight. It was a terrible time for our parents and the entire family but we got through it thanks in no small measure to our neighbours and friends.”
At the age of 11, Michael moved onto the De La Salle College and he takes up his story from.
“I liked it there: I actually won a medal playing football in DLS and I completed my Leaving Certificate there. My Mother died during my final year of secondary school and I had to grow up very quickly because it was a very difficult time for my Dad.
“I was very close to my Mam and to this day I talk to her on a daily basis. I believe that people you love are always there even when they depart this world. I knew at that stage that I had to get out and earn money so I headed off to Germany with a friend of mine, Ian Galvin and we worked on building sites there and it would be fair to say that we weren’t cut out for that kind of work.
“We turned up on the first day dressed in shorts and the rest of the builders thought that was very funny! It wasn’t long however that we were given proper building boots and overalls. I had completed my Leaving Certificate but that was the year of the teachers’ strike so the results didn’t come out until October so Ian and myself spent more time in Germany than we expected to.
“We made good money there and when we finished up we came back home by land and sea rather than flying and to this day I remember going into the Top Man fashion store in London with Ian and buying the trendy clothes of the time. It’s strange the way things pan out because Ian went on to carve out a great career in the fashion business.”
Michael developed an interest in hairdressing from an early age as he explained. “When I was only about 12 years old I loved cutting peoples hair and I used to earn a few bob perming and colouring the hair of people in the neighbourhood and although I didn’t know it at the time that would proved to be the career path I would follow.
“I took a year out after coming come from Germany but then I went to work with Ollie Bible in George’s Street; his salon was situated over Flynn’s Butcher Shop and it’s still there to this day.
“Ollie threw me in at the deep end and he allowed me try things other hairstylists would not have and I will always be grateful to him for allowing me try out different styles and cuts. I remained with Ollie for three years and I than headed off to the UK and that was interesting to say the least.
“I got work in a salon over there and after six months I was appointed manager. After that I went into partnership in Cambridge and that lasted for three years but things changed for me personally, so I decided to come back to Ireland.”
Next week: Michael talks about the many stars he has styled and what the future holds in store.