Peter Fergus, the new Hotel Manager at The Lodge at Ashford Castle, was born and bred in County Mayo. After extended stints in Switzerland and the Channel Islands, he returns to his home county to take up the position at the hotel. Here, he talks to us about his favourite local spots and the dish he always orders at Wilde’s.
You started your career in County Mayo, how does it feel to be back here?
"I am delighted to be back in my home county and to have returned to where it all started. I am from Mayo originally and grew up near a very scenic town called Westport, so it’s great to be close to my home and family once again."
What attracted you to The Lodge?
"There are so many things that attracted me to the Lodge at Ashford Castle. Firstly, the location of the lodge, over-looking Lough Corrib and its beautiful surroundings, is hard to beat. Moreover, the ethos that can be found on the Ashford estate and within Red Carnation Hotels as a whole is one of exceptional service and attention to detail, which I have always strived to maintain throughout my career. The Lodge at Ashford Castle offers exceptional rooms, superb dining and first class service and the range of activities that are available on the estate also adds to the experience. The hotel has a lot to offer and I’m very excited to be part of the team.”
What are your favourite things to do in the local area?
"We are lucky to be located along one of the most spectacular driving routes in Europe, the Wild Atlantic way. I really enjoy having the opportunity to take in the many breathtaking sights and fabulous beaches that can be found along this route, such as Killary Harbour, Old Head and Keel beach. It really is one of the many great aspects of living in this beautiful area."
What’s your favourite dish on the menu at Wildes?
"I would have to choose the Wild Turbot with Pea purée, leeks braised in Dashi with crisp potato rings and a pepper, dillisk and beurré blanc. It is a wonderfully decadent and satisfying dish."
How do you like to unwind and relax after a long day?
“I am blessed to arrive home to a beautiful wife and son and there is no other way I would rather spend my time after a long day at work. My son Eoin is only nine months old and I am really enjoying being a new dad and getting to grips with all that is involved in being a parent.”
Ireland is renowned for its excellent hospitality, what do you think sets it apart from other destinations?
"I believe what sets Ireland apart is the natural, welcoming culture, the curiosity of the Irish people. The genuine interest and ability to strike up conversations and engage with our guests is a characteristic that is inherent to the Irish culture. It is a magical part of our hospitality that you really miss when you are abroad.”
What activities on the Estate do you always recommend?
“I would always recommend that our guests partake in the private Hawk Walk. The School of Falconry is the oldest in the country and their expertise and experience is second to none. This is truly an experience of a lifetime and involves flying hawks through the beautiful grounds and woodlands of the estate. It is always well received and is something that our guests genuinely enjoy.”
"Are there any events taking place at The Lodge that you’re particularly looking forward to?
"I am looking forward to launching our new menu in Wilde’s, which is inspired by our slogan ‘local food with imagination."
What’s your favourite part of your job?
“My favourite part of the job, beyond a doubt, is interacting with our guests and hearing about their experiences. An essential part of hospitality is the interactions and engagement with guests. This helps to ensure that they have an enjoyable stay but also provides us with invaluable information on how to personalise our service. It is always wonderful to hear from our guests, especially when our team have succeeded in providing them with a memorable experience.”
Experience impeccable, personal service during your stay at The Lodge at Ashford Castle.
Image Credits: All images courtesy of Red Carnation Hotels.