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A Catch Up With The O’Connors

An Interview With John & Mike O'Connor

 

“My favourite time of year is Christmas. It’s the atmosphere, everyone in great spirits, the decorations, amazing food. For me, it is the time of year to experience Dromoland at its best.”

John and Mike O'Connor are two of of the most recognised faces at the Castle amongst our guests. With almost 80 years of service to Dromoland between them, we wanted to share more of their experience over the years with you.

John O'Connor 

"I have been working at Dromoland Castle for 42 years, a lifetime! Time flies when you are having fun!

My career at Dromoland started in the Earl of Thomond Restaurant where I worked as a waiter, following this, I worked in Wine for one year and in the Cocktail Bar for a further five. When I got married, my position changed to Porter and have now been working in that role for 30 years."

We asked John, what have been the biggest changes you have seen over your time at Dromoland Castle?

"There have been many changes over the years at Dromoland Castle, from new buildings such as the Golf & Country Club to the extension of the golf course from 9 holes to 18. Two major refurbishments to the Castle, firstly in 1986 and then again over the last three years."

Have you celebrated any milestones while working at Dromoland Castle?

"Nearly all of them, from my marriage to the birth of my three children and everything that comes along with that."

Do you have a favourite time of year at Dromoland Castle?

"It has to be Christmas. The way the Castle lights up with Christmas decorations, the atmosphere, the Ginger Bread display, there really is something special about Christmas time at Dromoland."

What do you think makes Dromoland Castle unique for guests?

"The castle itself and the team. The team really is the element that makes Dromoland Castle what it is. We have many well-travelled guests come and stay at Dromoland, they find Dromoland has that homely feel, it is a home from home for so many people and that is something that comes down to the staff."

Are there any particularly special events at Dromoland Castle that have stood out to you?

"The stand out events for me have to be the Clinton/ Bush and Mandela visits. I will never forget the electric (and somewhat nervous) atmosphere in the build up to each of their arrivals. The height of the security was unbelievable, but of course it all went off without a hitch."

What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?

"I do a bit of farming, we always have as a family. I enjoy golfing, Hurling and GAA."

Mike O'Connor 

How long have you worked at Dromoland Castle?

"I have been working at the Castle as a porter for 36 years. My brother John called me up one day and told me to rush in, I’ve been here ever since."

What is it like to work alongside your brother at Dromoland? Do your roles cross over?

Well, he’s the boss. He has been bossing me around since I was two years old and he hasn’t stopped yet.

What is your favourite thing about working at Dromoland Castle?

"The best part of this job is meeting new and different people every day."

Have you celebrated any milestones while working at Dromoland Castle?

"I think meeting my wife Olive has been the greatest milestone. We met down in the village of Newmarket on Fergus, we now work for the same company as the old Clare Inn was taken over by Dromoland Castle and is now The Inn at Dromoland."

What is your fondest memory of working at Dromoland Castle?

"We have been visited by so many famous actors/actresses, I will never forget the visits of Nelson Mandela and then President Bush, I remember security being so tight that we had to park down in the village of Newmarket on Fergus and had passes for a shuttle bus to collect us and take us to and from work."

Do you have a favourite time of year at Dromoland Castle?

"My favourite time of year is Christmas. It’s the atmosphere, everyone in great spirits, the decorations, amazing food. For me, it is the time of year to experience Dromoland at its best."

What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?

"All things sport. Rugby, Hurling, GAA. We are a family of farmers, so I do a bit of farming and also restoring tractors from time to time."

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