1. Where are you from, tell us a bit about your background.
I'm 23 years old and from Newry City. I've lived here in Newry for most of my life, except for the 3 years I spent living in Belfast during my spell at university. I had originally opted to pursue a different career path in environmental systems which is what I had begun studying in university. However, after working in hospitality throughout my young life which I had always enjoyed, and after joining the front-of-house team in Killeavy Castle Estate, I decided that it was the industry which I am more passionate about. It was quite a difficult decision to make and naturally, I was afraid to take the step out of university and begin to steer my energy towards a completely different career but I can confidently say that it's one of the best decisions I have ever made. I will always be grateful that my first role in Killeavy Castle Estate as a front-of-house porter, drove me to pursue my career path in hospitality.
2. What exactly does your position at Killeavy Castle Estate entail?
My position at Killeavy Castle Estate as Trainee Manager involves a 52-week training period at the hotel, visiting various different departments such as Reception/ Bistro Bar/ Restaurant/ Kitchen/ Events and Operations etc. During my visit to each department, I am developing my knowledge of basic operations and procedures then gradually taking on more responsibility to enhance my understanding of management in these different areas of the hotel. This is an opportunity I am very grateful for as it is a rare chance to learn about how each department functions under the pressure of a very busy business and is a great experience for progressing my career here at Killeavy Castle Estate. My role also involves managing the setup and operations of private functions on the estate such as corporate meetings and family gathering events like birthday celebrations, christenings, communions and other social banqueting events. This is a very rewarding part of my role as a trainee manager and one in which I take great pride in.
3. What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Meeting people from all over the world is something which I enjoy most about my job. I love learning about different cultures and ways of life. I think it's interesting to hear how people do things in different countries and I'm always happy to answer any questions from international guests about how we work, live and celebrate here in Ireland. I also enjoy receiving great feedback from our guests. It can sometimes be a very demanding job and I can often be under pressure to make sure day-to-day operations run smoothly, so hearing some good reviews and feedback from our guests, makes all the hard work feel worthwhile and gives me a great sense of achievement.
4. What do you love most about Killeavy Castle Estate?
If I had to pick one thing which I love about working at Killeavy Castle Estate, it would have to be the location. Set in the Ring of Gullion, almost engraved into the foot of Slieve Gullion mountain, surrounded by farmland, forest, gardens and mountains. It is such a picturesque part of our country. Even when the weather isn't great it is still a very scenic display and in the summer months, it's nothing short of magical. Even after working at Killeavy Castle Estate for almost two years, I will still often stop to take in the views from the estate.
5. What is an interesting fact about you?
I absolutely love to travel. As a career in hospitality can be quite unpredictable and fast-paced, with business needs fluctuating throughout the year in different areas of the hotel, like it can be in many other industries, it can sometimes be difficult to schedule a night out with friends or family. So something that I like to do is to always have at least two sometimes even three holidays booked in advance. Whether it be a two-night stay in Cork or 5 nights in Prague, I think it's important to have something to work towards and be excited about. Nothing beats travelling the world. Experiencing different cultures, food and drinks. Most importantly, making memories.