You've Been Served: Des McGrath

You've Been Served: Des McGrath
Des McGrath is guest relations manager at Mount Juliet, Co Kilkenny

I worked in sales as a rep for 33 years with Beamish and Crawford in Cork. I fell into hospitality by accident when offered a part-time job as a caddy on the golf course here in Mount Juliet.

This is now my twelfth year in hospitality. On the third year of my part-time work, the general manager at the time offered me a full-time job as estate host, doing general meet and greet with the guests and running the Mount Juliet Fishing Club. Three years ago I was promoted to guest relations manager. I’ve met people from the four corners of the earth, it’s very rewarding.

Driving in the gates into the wonderful estate each morning, peace and tranquillity surrounding me and knowing this is my job, I just love it.

First thing on the agenda is to check the arrivals coming that day to ensure all requests are catered for along with the rooms ready for each timed arrival. Some guests have particular requests that we are happy to cater for if we can.

I’ll meet with the guests and chat through their plans and itineraries while they are here. If I can assist with suggesting and booking activities for the day, or organise reservations for local places to see, theatres or restaurants etc, I’ll do that.

The Mount Juliet Estate was built in the 18th century and has a wonderful history. I host the historical tour that tells the story of the estate.

There could be up to three tours a day, driving guests around our beautiful 1,500 acres estate grounds and incorporating the famous Ballylinch Stud. Guests love to hear the story especially about the Butler and McCalmont family.

I would also welcome and host guests coming to the Michelin star-awarded Lady Helen restaurant and welcome wedding parties to the estate.

I met President Jimmy Carter in May of 2013, he was here on a weeks’ vacation with his wife. I had the pleasure of bringing him fly fishing on our three mile stretch of River Nore. Fishing was a fond hobby of his and he was excellent at it.

Bruce Springsteen and his band stayed in May 2015 and he was a delight. I brought him, his wife, and daughter on a tour of the stud farm — they are avid equestrian fans. Another interesting person I met was John Brennan ex head of CIA in USA, he was here on vacation with his Dad Eoin. Eoin worked here on the estate 1940-44 and trained as a blacksmith. They stayed here in September 2013.

mountjuliet.ie

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