What was your first job?
When I left school my first job was as a joiner with Sammy Millar Construction in my hometown of Ballymena in Northern Ireland. My creative flare meant that joinery was something that really interested me, however in my spare time, to earn a bit more money I also used to work in a bar/restaurant. For a long time, I also considered following in my father’s footstep and joining the police.
What lessons did it teach you?
One of the main lessons that working for Sammy Millar Constructions taught me is that is never does you any harm to get your hands dirty. I really enjoyed working in the construction industry, however through my part-time bar and restaurant job I also found that I had a natural talent when it came to meeting people and talking to the public and I realised that I career in the hospitality industry might be more suited to me.
How has your career progressed?
After leaving Sammy Millar Constructions, I went to work in a hotel called the Londonderry Arms as Assistant Manager. The Londonderry Arms Hotel is a historic hotel situated in the picturesque Glens of Antrim in the small coastal village of Carnlough on the award winning Antrim Coast Road which forms a core part of the Causeway Coastal Route. This gave me a really good grounding for when I eventually went to on to run and own the family pub – O’Hanlon’s in Ballymena. O’Hanlon’s was a great place for live music, entertainment and plenty of plenty of craik!
I then moved on to work as Hospitality & Operations Manager at one of Ireland’s top hotels and wedding venues, Galgorm Resort & Spa. I worked at Galgorm for 5 years, and really enjoyed my time there however in November 2011 an opportunity arose to move to North Yorkshire and take on the role of General Manager at the Black Swan in Helmsley.
What do you enjoy about your job now?
One of the biggest things that I enjoy about working at the Black Swan is the team of staff that I have here. They make my job an easy one, which makes it a very happy place to work! I’m a very ‘hands on’ manager, I don’t like to be sat behind a desk and I’m generally found walking around the hotel chatting to guests and making sure that everything is as they’d like it. I’ve worn out many pairs of shoes since I’ve been here!
I feel very lucky to be the manager of the Black Swan, it’s such an iconic hotel which is known across the world.
What’s next for you?
The hotel was once owned by Roco Forte and it was his flagship hotel. My aim for The Black Swan is to bring it back to what is what then, and better than. I’m very happy living in North Yorkshire and I’d like to think I’ll be managing The Black Swan Hotel for many more years to come.
What advice would you give?
You’ve got to work in a job that you love. You spend so much time at work, working in a job that you love makes life a lot easier and happier.
Black Swan Moments
Thank you to Paul and all the staff for making another Wedding Anniversary at The Black Swan so special! Everything was fantastic and the reason we keep returning each year at this time!