SINEAD DELANEY followed her father into the tourism industry and landed her dream job at Ashford Castle. 


Fact File

Name: Sinead Delaney 

Job: Restaurant Manager 

Works: Cullen’s at the Cottage, Ashford Castle, Galway  

Course: BSc (Hons) International Hospitality Management at DIT

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.

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 haveto 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 aboutworking 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 isthat 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 restaurantat 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 dayat 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 after the 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. 


Career Path: Restaurant Management

Working as a restaurant manager gives you a great opportunity to combinea passion for food with an interestin customer service. It’s also a great step towards running a large food and beverage department in a busy hotel or owning your own restaurant. 

Job: Restaurant Manager

Estimated salary: from €30,000

Job: Host/Maitre D’ 

Estimated salary: from €25,000

Job: Restaurant Supervisor

Estimated salary: from €26,000

Job: Waiter/Waitress

Estimated salary: from €19,000

There are a number of restaurant managementand hospitality management courses, from certificate to masters level, that can help you progress up the ladder. Visit the The Next Level section to see a list of Higher Education and Further Education providers offering tourism and hospitality programmes. 

This article first appeared in the 2015 issue of Get a Life in Tourism.

career optionsRachel Delap