Ask The Manager: Brian Hughes, GM of Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in Clifden, Co. Galway

Hotel-keeping is in Brian Hughes’ blood, as he was born in the Renvyle House Hotel in Connemara. He did a degree in hotel management at the Shannon School of Hotel Management, after which he started his professional career at Abbyglen Castle in 1991.

As well as being a hotelier, he also ran the Connemara Safari Island Hopping and Walking Holidays from 1992-2015.

He was the President of the Connemara Chamber of Commerce 2011 to 2012 and Captain of Connemara Golf Club in 2015.  He also sat on the Board of Failte Ireland from 2007 to 2013.

How has business been since reopening in June? 

Since reopening the demand for business has been extraordinary with Irish people wishing to enjoy staycations within their own country. At the moment, we are only allocating 70% of our bed stock as we don’t have enough manpower to run at full capacity. A hotel is a service that is open seven days a week 24 hours a day and there are so many wheels that need to spin at the same time to make it work.   

What have you done during the lockdown, any changes or improvements to the hotel?    

During lockdown we developed a brand-new website and built a booking engine.  We carried out major repair work on the old roof of the castle, along with major renovations and improvements throughout the hotel.  The bar area was also redesigned. 

Does the Abbeyglen Castle have outdoor dining?  

No, we don’t provide an outdoor dining service as we have enough on looking after our residents in our dining room. 

What plans have you for the summer to enhance guests experience?  

We are making a greater and more conscious effort to source more local producers and suppliers.  We are offering new packages which include the Connemara Lobster Safari and our Wild Atlantic Way Package which includes a day trip to Inishbofin.  

How are bookings doing, do you think it will be a strong summer?   

Booking for June, July and August are very good.  We will definitely miss the overseas business come early September. 

Where are your guests come from this year?  

Most of our guests this year have come from Galway, Mayo, Dublin, Cork and Roscommon. 

What to you recommend for visitors to do in your region?  

Every visitor should definitely do the six following things as we are on the Wild Atlantic Way:  

  • Take a trip to Inishbofin 
  • A cruise on the Killary
  • Walk up  Diamond Hill,  
  • Explore and discover our new developing greenway.
  • A visit to the Marconi site at Derrigimlagh.
  • No visitor should ever come to Connemara without travelling up the Sky Road followed by a refreshing swim at Eyrephort Beach at the end of the Sky Road peninsula.  

View of the Bens from the Connemara Greenway

Have you any special offers to entice visitors to the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel? 

At the moment we are selling dinner, bed and breakfast for €139 per person sharing per night, book here. 

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