The boutique 4 * Castle Hotel in Macroom,
Co. Cork are delighted to welcome on board Jack and Rory Buckley, cousins
and third generation of The Buckley’s to manage their family hotel.
A little bit of history; In April 1951 Dan Buckley, (Father of The Current
Owners Don & Gerard Buckley) arrived in Macroom, off the Bus from
Killarney, his sole possessions being 2 suitcases! Later that year Maureen
Sheehan, originally from Whitechurch, just outside of Cork City, joined him
and they got married in December.
In those days the hotel was originally called Ronans and was a 10 bed roomed
boarding house. It was also the official stop for the bus and was a delivery and
collection point for boxes of chickens, poultry and many other items. Maureen
Buckley often commented that on the first night that she stayed in the hotel, she
could hear the cockroaches cracking under her feet! The cattle drovers would
arrive into town around 5 or 6 am and she would have been up since 4 am
baking & cooking for them.
As the years went by Dan and Maureen had three sons, Gerard, Declan & Don.
Gerard married Margaret Crowley, a teacher from Killarney & Don married
Margaret O Leary, a neighbour’s child from around the corner in the Victoria
Business grew over the years & so did the Castle Hotel, it’s name having been
changed from Ronans to The Castle Hotel to coincide with The Castle Gates in
the square. What was initially a 10 bed roomed boarding house, grew to 16
rooms, then 26 rooms, then 42 rooms. And after the purchase of Mescals Café
& Card Shop, The Castle Hotel is now a 56 bed roomed 4 Star Hotel, with a
Leisure Centre, boasting just under 1000 members, Conference & Banqueting
Facilities for up to 200 people, The Award Winning “Dan Buckley’s’’ Bar &
“B’s’’ Restaurant & a thriving Coffee Shop called the ‘’Next Door Café’’.
2019 and 2020 saw the wonderful additions of Jack and Rory to the team! Jack,
a Ballymaloe Cookery School Graduate and Rory a UCC graduate, both will
have a large part to play in expanding their family business and in particular the
wedding business. Rory gave us a 60 seconds of insight to tell us about himself
and his vision for The Castle Hotel, Macroom.
Q: What is your earliest memory of your family in the hotel?
A: For me it’s probably the excitement of staying over for a night in the hotel
with Nanny and being spoiled with all the lovely food from the kitchen. Another
memory is playing football with some of the staff in the function room of the
old hotel before it was renovated, don’t think I’d get away with that now!
Q: What motivated you to join the family business?
A: I studied Commerce in college and then spent the best part of 7-8 years
working in tech companies most recently with Salesforce in Dublin. I enjoyed
the work and met some great people but in the last few years going back to the
hotel felt like an itch that I just had to scratch. It’s been in the family for almost
70 years and I’ve seen how hard everyone has worked to make constant
improvements over the years and the motivation to continue that legacy was a
big factor in joining the business.
Q: What aspect of the hospitality industry most excites you?
A: Making people happy is the most exciting thing for me going to work every
day. Sometimes that can be something simple like friends or family catching up
over a meal or a coffee, or it can be bigger occasions like christenings, birthdays
etc but ultimately seeing happy customers is the most exciting part of the job.
Trying to innovate and move with the times is also a buzz, our new online
takeaway menu is a great example of this and something myself and Jack
worked closely together on.
Q: How are you finding life after lockdown and working within the new
A: It’s challenging and constantly evolving but after seeing the hotel closed for
3 and a half months it was just great to be able to open again. I stayed in the
hotel when we were closed and it was so strange to see the building empty. I
think it’s all about finding the correct balance in trying to make everything feel
as normal as possible, while also ensuring customer and staff health is our top
priority. What I’ve found is that people really missed things like a night away, a
meal with friends so they really appreciate being able to do that now in a safe
and friendly environment.
Q: Describe your typical day?
A: Tough question as I’ve found nearly everyday is different! Most days I will
get to the hotel around 10 in the morning. I’ll normally check a few emails,
catch up with the reception staff to see what bookings and enquiries have come
through. Then it’s over to the bar to make sure we’re ready to go for the day and
all setup for what I hope will be a busy lunch! The majority of my day is spent
meeting and greeting customers or working behind the bar, in a family run
business the importance of being visible and meeting as many people as
possible can’t be underestimated. There’s always a few different things that pop
up during the day then like event enquiries, staff rostering, a wedding couple
popping in to have a look etc. Two or three evenings a week then I’ve football
training or matches which are a welcome release from work. I try to have one
day in the week where I don’t go near the hotel and switch off completely but
that’s not always possible!
Q: What do you hope to bring to the Castle Hotel Wedding Experience?
A: For as long as I can remember wedding days always bring a great source of
excitement to the hotel and I hope we can continue that for many years to come.
I’ve had a number of friends get married in the past few years so you’re
constantly picking up new ideas and trying to find ways to improve. For me I
hope to keep all our traditional values of good food, a warm welcome and also
keep innovating and modernising to keep up with customer needs.
Owner, Don Buckley said “It is so exciting to welcome both Jack and Rory on
board and we look forward to working alongside them, exchanging ideas with a
view to further developing our hotel”. As we navigate challenging times in our
industry, we are more proud than ever of our family’s associations with
memberships like The Original Irish Hotel Groups (The only Guaranteed Irish
Group of Hotels) and Good Food Ireland.