1. Where are you from, tell us a bit about your background.
My name is Ciaran Hampton, and I am a Duty Manager at Killeavy Castle Estate. I grew up in Downpatrick, Co. Down. When I left school I actually applied to study Nursing at Ulster University with International Hospitality Management as my number 3. After getting turned away from nursing, I was happy to get accepted into hospitality as I knew it was my true calling.
I began working in hotels during my first year of university and have never looked back since. During my placement year, I travelled between the Channel Islands and the mainland working for various types of hotels. After completing my degree, I ventured off across the water to work in hotels full-time before coming to grips with myself and coming home. In May 2022 I relocated to our own home in Armagh City where my fiancé is from and I began my role at Killeavy Castle Estate.
2. What exactly does your position at Killeavy Castle Estate entail?
My role varies daily and is mainly down to where can I base myself for the day in order to support the various teams across our Estate as well as ensure that every guest that comes to Killeavy Castle Estate leaves with a smile on their face. On any one day, you could see me in the bar, restaurant, reception, running a wedding or a conference, you could even find me in the spa from time to time. One of the beauties of being a Duty Manager is that you need to be very open-minded and able to adapt to different areas within the business. It is also essential for me to check in with all departments daily to make sure they are set up and ready to go, to deliver all our wonderful guests what they deserve.
3. What do you enjoy the most about your job?
One of the things that I enjoy the most, is passing my knowledge and skills to the various departments within the hotel so that the staff can deliver the highest possible standards of service to our guests. I enjoy being a very hands-on person wherever needed. I especially like to focus on the food and beverage aspects within our Estate as this is where I first learnt everything I know about hospitality. However, if I'm needed to make a bed or clean a bathroom, I will be sure to give it a go. In my role, it is about using initiative and situating myself wherever I am needed most and that's what I enjoy - the changeability of my role, that not one single day is ever the same at Killeavy Castle Estate.
4. What do you love most about Killeavy Castle Estate?
There are many things I love about working at Killeavy. The views, the history, the location, the grounds and the drive through to the Ring of Gullion to work.... but two important points come to mind.
One: The support from my line manager (Operations Manager) and General Manager is second to none and this has enabled me to develop my skills and knowledge of the industry massively, they are always willing to provide training, push you to your full potential and show you how to do things if you find yourself in tricky situations.
Two: Probably the most important thing about Killeavy, is the staff in all teams across the whole estate, it is like working in a huge family, everyone gets along and really pulls together to deliver what is expected, this makes work a lot more enjoyable and enables good friendly relationships which reflects on what the guests receive when they visit our Estate.
5. What is an interesting fact about you?
In my U18 days as a GAA fanatic for my local team in Downpatrick, I held both the u16 and u17 Ulster Handball Doubles titles in the same year!