Myself, Olivia, joined the management team full-time in 2005 and I oversaw the development of a number of new Hotel projects, including the opening of the award-winning Vanilla Pod Restaurant, the addition of a number of new bedrooms, the Headfort Spa rooms and the development of guest off-street parking facilities. In 2010, the Headfort Arms won the coveted National Gold Medal Award for Best 3 Star Hotel in Ireland. The Vanilla Pod Restaurant manages to be consistently listed in the highly regarded Bridgestone and Georgina Campbell Guides to Ireland making it a ‘must visit’ for all discerning travellers around Ireland. The hotel is now listed in Irelands Top 100 Places to Stay by the coveted Mc Kenna Guides and continues to pick up regional and national awards based on its hospitality and warm welcome for guests."
What is the best part of being a hotel owner?
"No two days are ever the same in this business! But it’s all about the people. Firstly our team; we have several members of staff who are here over thirty years and who just add to the Headfort personality. A hotel is never just bricks and mortar; it needs body and soul! We are like a large family whose job it is to make our guests feel right at home. We love the opportunity to have guests in house who leave with a wonderful sense of belonging to the Headfort and we see them back time and time again."
What is the best part about your location?
"We are very fortunate to now be only 45 minutes from Dublin City and so close to the airport, which means that visitors can experience the richest landscapes, heritage and countryside in Ireland only a stone’s throw from our Capital. We lie in the centre of the Boyne Valley, Heritage Capital of Ireland, food lovers’ territory (Foodie Destination of Ireland 2016), golfers’ paradise and historically the Royal Seat of the High Kings of Ireland and birthplace of Irelands Ancient East."
What is your favourite client?
"Well, we had Maureen O’Hara stay with us in 2012 for a weekend as her family come from Kells! My father’s first cousin Dick Farrelly from Kells wrote The Isle of Inish Free, which was the theme tune to The Quiet Man. I escorted Maureen and her family to their rooms on arrival and I told her the story of our connections with the movie. She then sat on the side of the bed and sang the full song of The Isle of Inish Free to us, I will never forget that moment. She was given the freedom of the town and her legacy has really lived on in many community projects since."
What is your best client story?
"On my First Communion day as a child, we had a Wedding here in the hotel, so Mum and Dad had to work and my Communion celebrations were put on hold! However, it was all worthwhile when the wedding couple were filmed arriving at the hotel in a horse-drawn carriage and the footage went out all over the USA on CNN and made the front page of all the national papers in Ireland and abroad. I was photographed with the Bride and Groom that day and it turned into the most amazing celebration and piece of PR for our small family-run hotel in Ireland!"
What is your worst client story?
"Oh where do you start? Nothing shocks me any more. When you operate a hotel, you experience every type, creed, culture and human behaviour! Last year, for example, a golfer on returning to his room late at night, pushed open a bedroom door that was ajar and fell asleep on the bed none the wiser after a late night by the piano in the Lounge. In the morning, the 78 year old lady who was asleep in the room woke up to a 40 year old golfer in the bed beside her. After much vocal reaction, thankfully it ended in good faith with apologises exchanged and a large bouquet of flowers from the golfer!"
Why do our American clients like your hotel?
"Americans love the Headfort because of its sense of tradition, family approach and authenticity. The Headfort is full of character, in its walls and in its people. We know what the little things that matter are and make for great memories in a visit."