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Meet the GM - The head of business tourism for Tourism Ireland talks exploring the island, Jags and the charm of the Irish.
I first became interested in hospitality in the early 80s, when I went back to university to study it and worked in hotels in London, Ireland and Amsterdam.
My first big job was as resident manager at the Belfast Europa. I lived in the hotel during interesting times and became resilient to all sorts of things. We had to invent promotions to get people through the door.
I went on to work in New York for 10 years for the Northern Ireland tourist board there. I was vice-president of advertising for Tourism Ireland in North America for four of those years.
I came to London in 2005 to become deputy head of Britain for Tourism Ireland. I love New York but it was time to leave, so I jumped at the opportunity.
The best part of my job is brainstorming ideas and then seeing them come to fruition. I enjoy the camaraderie of working together to do good things. I get to see amazing places and no two days are ever the same.
Working with the Irish is great because we genuinely love what we do. We have passion, conviction and tonnes of expertise.
Ireland is ideal for huge-scale conventions and conferences now that the Convention Centre Dublin, which can cater for between eight and 8,000 people, is open for business. It’s also a beautiful place to bring guests on incentive trips.
My favourite part of Ireland is the north coast because I was born there. To relax, the best places to go are Cork and Killarney. They have great hotels, pubs, food and scenery.
My top tip for organising events in Ireland is to get in touch with Tourism Ireland and use us as your point of contact.
The biggest challenge of my job has been the recession. It has made us react more quickly, budget better and become more efficient.
Our biggest rival is Scotland. I think what gives us the edge is the charm of the Irish people.
The biggest lesson I have learnt is never to be complacent. Be sure of your facts and tell it how it is.
My favourite thing about Ireland is the greenness of the countryside and the warm welcome everyone gets from the Irish people.
My favourite hotel in the world is the Ritz-Carlton in Maui, Hawaii. It has awesome golf and is on the ocean.
To relax I enjoy a spot of wine tasting and visiting vineyards. I also love classic cars – especially Jags – and aeroplanes.
Tourism Ireland Nations House, 103 Wigmore Street, W1U 1QS, tel: 020 7518 0800 squaremeal.co.uk/ireland