1. Where are you from, tell us a bit about your background.
I am from Armagh City, I moved to Armagh aged 10 having been born in Belfast. I am an avid sports fan, following and playing both GAA and soccer. I have been involved in hospitality since no age, my grandmother owned a pub, and I began working in pubs and restaurants when I was 15 years old! My first job in a hotel was as a Trainee Manager in the Radisson Blu St. Helens Hotel Dublin, my first department was housekeeping, I remember the shock of the housekeeping manager when I proceeded to make my first bed, then sit on it! I was swiftly moved to the F&B department, and I never really left! I have always had a passion for cocktails and food service, and having finished my Event Management degree, I did some travelling to my wife’s home country Estonia where I tried my hand at becoming a travel agent, I quickly learned 9-5s are not for me and I moved back into hospitality. Upon my return home, I became the Duty Manager in the Hillgrove Hotel and Spa, Monaghan where I made my way up to Deputy General Manager, since then I have also done the same role in the Four Seasons Hotel and Spa, Carlingford and now find myself back in my home county Armagh!
2. What exactly does your position at Killeavy Castle Estate entail?
My role requires me to be heavily involved in all aspects of the Estate, one day I could be running a wedding, and the next I could be helping in the Walled Garden Café, Bistro or Restaurant, we pride ourselves in customer care and this comes from the owners, through the managers to the staff. I would never ask someone to do a job I wouldn’t do myself and have a very hands-on approach to my job. Training and recruitment are critical elements of my role. I pride myself on seeing so many of our staff progressing within the company to supervisory and management positions, along with training and developing future hospitality managers.
3. What do you enjoy the most about your job?
We have great trust in our team in Killeavy and this is something that is instilled by our owners, this creates a great environment to work in. We have a wealth of smart and educated employees and it is great to hear different opinions and approaches to some of the challenges we face. It is great to be working on a farm, and the idyllic nature of the estate is really something that I enjoy.
4. What do you love most about Killeavy Castle Estate?
There are so many enjoyable aspects of my roles it is hard to pick one, from the scenic nature of the Estate to the fact that every day is genuinely different or the fact I get to walk the Wolfhounds!! I feel the most enjoyable aspect of my role is the people and our customer feedback, seeing how proud our staff are about the Estate, and sharing this experience with our customers is really something I value and take great pride in.
5. What is an interesting fact about you?
When applying for university, I applied for 4 software development courses, I couldn’t think of a fifth. I asked my friend what his choice was and he picked Event Management, so I put that as my fifth choice. Needless to say, my first four applications were rejected and my fifth was the only course to accept and I’ve never looked back! What’s for you, won’t go past you!