Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Orla Gallagher from Failte Ireland to give some advice for people considering this job:


Orla Gallagher

Spa Manager

Failte Ireland

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  Orla Gallagher
If considering a job in this field I think its best to have a therapy background or a caring background. Be prepared to work hard, it takes alot of effort to help create the perfect environment for others to relax in. Work well with others and help your collegues it makes for a friendly workplace and you never know when you will need their assistance. An interest in sales and marketing would also be avantageous, as you must be competitive with other spa's offerings.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Career Profile: Restaurant Manager at Ashford Castle

Sinead Delaney followed her father into the tourism industry and landed her dream job at Ashford Castle.

Why did you choose tourism?

I grew up around the industry. My dad worked in incentive travel and he was always bringing us to events so I caught the bug at an early age. You have to love what you do and food and beverage is my passion. I know there is no other place for me than the hospitality industry.

What do you love most about working in hospitality?

I love engaging with people. In this industry you get to meet so many different people from around the world.

What did you think of your course at DIT?

The course was very strong. It covered a broad spectrum of topics and prepared you for every aspect of the industry. What’s good about it is that it gives you a solid grounding in business. If you decide tourism is not for you in the future you can still use what you learned in other industries.

How did you end up at Ashford Castle?

I worked as a hostess at the George V restaurant in Ashford Castle on a six-month contract after college and I absolutely loved it. It’s such a special hotel. I travelled for two years afterwards and when I came back, I knew I wanted to do something significant. When I was approached to interview for the position at Cullen’s at the Cottage I leapt at the chance. The people drew me back – there is an amazing team here. It’s like one big family.

Where did you travel?

I went to Australia and worked in the restaurant at Adelphi Hotel, a gorgeous boutique hotel in Melbourne. The great thing about working in hospitality is that it’s very transferable. You’ll always be able to get a job, no matter where you go. There are amazing opportunities in this business.

What does an average day at Ashford Castle entail?

All the Heads of Departments meet with Mr Rochford, the General Manager, at 11am to be briefed for the day. We discuss what’s going on that day, what events are planned, if there are any VIPs or guests with special requirements, and other details. At noon the doors of Cullen’s at the Cottage open for lunch service and we close for an hour at 5pm, before opening for dinner. Last orders are at 9.30pm and we usually close by 11pm. I mightn’t stay until close – it depends on the day and how busy we are. As well as managing the restaurant and looking afterthe guests I also work closely on redesigning the menu with the chef. There is a lot to do and the hours can be long but I wouldn’t have it any other way, I absolutely love this business.

What advice would you offer someone considering a career in hospitality?

Get hands-on experience before you take a course. People view hospitality as very glamorous but it’s hard work and it doesn’t suit everyone. If you like engaging with people and constantly doing things rather than sitting behind a desk then this is a great career choice.

Article by: 'Get a Life in Tourism' Publication 2015