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The last few months have been very exciting indeed for Castleknock Hotel & Country Club, Dublin and the entire country of Ireland. The month of May in particular saw a number of historic events. The official visit of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to Ireland was the first by a British Monarch since King George V visited back in 1911 and the first to the Republic of Ireland. Her visit was also extremely poignant in terms of the backdrop of the end of the troubles in recent years, the Good Friday agreement and the creation of a power sharing government in Northern Ireland. The Queen had been invited by outgoing Irish President Mary McAleese who completes her 14 year term this autumn.
The Queen visited a number of high profile venues during her stay including the Remembrance Gardens, Áras an Uachtaráin (official residence of the Irish President), the Guinness Storehouse, a banquet at Dublin Castle and a concert at the new Convention Centre Dublin with performances by Westlife, Jedward and Mary Byrne. She also spent some time in Cashel, Co Tipperary and Cork during her 4 day stay. The trip was widely regarded as an absolute success by both the Irish and the British with the Irish public responding very well to the historic visit.
Castleknock Hotel & Country Club were delighted to accommodate members of the royal household throughout her stay while the Queen and Prince Philip stayed at Farmleigh House, an official State guest house for visiting heads of State and dignitaries located about 1kilometre from the hotel. The hotel was congratulated by the Gardai Siochana (Irish Police Force) for its co-operation and attention to detail in terms of security procedures.
Just 3 days later, Dublin was to play host to none other than the President of the United States of America Barack Obama as part of his visit to Europe. President Obama visited Áras an Uachtaráin which is located just a 10 minute drive from Castleknock Hotel in the Phoenix Park, his ancestral home in Moneygall, Co Offaly and College Green beside Trinity College where he gave a rousing speech to the people of Dublin.
If all that was not enough, Dublin also played host to the Europa League Final, one of the most high profile football matches in the world and the first time that such an event has ever taken place in Ireland. The match was played at the newly renovated Aviva Stadium which opened in 2010. The match was won by Porto who beat their fellow Portuguese rivals Braga 1v0. The match was watched by over 100 million people in 220 territories worldwide. The Aviva Stadium also host the inaugural Carling Nations Cup between the Republic of Ireland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland with all the matches played in Dublin. In case you didn’t hear, the tournament was won by the Republic of Ireland. In other sporting news, Dublin was the scene of a very large party in May after the Irish rugby side Leinster beat Northampton after a remarkable comeback in the Heineken Cup Final, the largest rugby club tournament in the world.
Closer to home, the hotel has been working very hard this year preparing for an assessment by the Irish tourist board, Failte Ireland and the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) for the very prestigious ‘Business Excellence’ award. Having previously attained the Service Excellence and Best Practice standard in the past, the hotel is hoping to become one of just a handful of hotels in Ireland to attain this award. The assessment is based on a review of the hotels strategic management of the hotel over the past 3 years showing continuous improvement in performance with measurable results.
Castleknock Hotel has also been able to enjoy lots of exposure from television programmes filming in the hotel. Following the Xfactor Australia in late 2010, productions such as Come Dine with Me and Masterchef have been guests of the hotel in 2011.
In sadder news, the hotel team was saddened at the death of former Minister for Finance and local Member of Parliament, Mr Brian Lenihan who died after a long illness in early June. Mr Lenihan was a regular patron of the hotel and his work during the current economic crisis and on local issues was relentless.
Finally, Castleknock Hotel & Country Club is now firmly in summer mode. A number of sports teams have been booked in to the hotel to use the excellent hotel facilities such as Tonic Health & Day Spa and the new state of the art pitches located beside the hotel. Representatives from the hotel will also be in London over the next few months to meet prospective buyers and partners from the UK. Ciara Delaney, Sales Manager will be attending the Dublin Convention Bureau and Tourism Ireland GB workshop, ‘Meet Dublin in London’ which takes place on board the Silver Sturgeon cruise boat on the 30th June. Following that, Andrew Kavanagh, Director of Sales and Marketing will be attending CONFEC Green on the 1st and 2nd September for UK buyers to UK and Ireland suppliers. We hope we might meet some of you at either or both of these events.