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Sunday 14th June

KenBattiganIt’s almost 8am and the birds are singing airy tune. It’s golf day with the family today. I rise and awake my pal “ Baxter “, my 8 month old Golden Retriever. He stretches and makes the short journey to his ensuite, my back garden. Baxter gets his dog nuts for breakfast and I make some fresh coffee. That’s a long standing issue I have as a career hotel manager, a probable unhealthy love of a good cup of coffee.

I hear my partner stir so it’s time to get the Sunday breakfast ready. Scrambled eggs, Fresh Bread, Ham, Cheese and Fresh Fruit for her and the full Irish for me.

Today is our annual family golf outing. Uncles, cousins, in laws and outlaws alike, all gather for 18 holes of fun. Then it’s back to the clubhouse where we are joined by the “wags“ and kids for a meal. So first things first, clean and prepare the golf clubs. Like the special crockery or the expensive cutlery used for special occasions in Celbridge Manor, there is a great deal of care and attention in making sure that the clubs are right for this occasion. It has been almost a year since they last saw daylight after all. Warm soapy water, clean soft sponge, clean towel and 15 minutes later, with Baxter’s help of course, we are done. Golf gear squared away and ready to go.

Now, to the ritual of most of the Hotel managers I know, the call. I ring Celbridge Manor just as breakfast is finishing and lunch service is being prepared. I speak to Brian, our newest reception team member, checking with him that all our guests are happy and that there were no issues overnight, before being transferred to Beata, early Duty manager. Beata, as usual, has everything under control. We discuss, very briefly, the day’s activities and ensure that we are prepared. I wish her luck for the rest of the day and sign off with signature goodbye, “ any problems, figure out a solution “. This is of course said, and received, with a smile.

Happy that all is well in Celbridge Manor, I get the Sunday papers. (I get four every Sunday and usually start reading them on Monday evening). A quick glance and there doesn’t seem to be any obvious Hotel related stories so it’s a browse through the supplements.

With tee time approaching, it’s into the car to go and collect my playing partner for today, my son. A great guy to have in your four ball because watching him hit the ball 40, 50, 60 yards further than everyone he’s playing with is fantastic fun. Just kidding because in truth, watching a good golfer is like watching a good hotel worker, always a pleasure.

We arrive at the course and head straight to the changing rooms. Having had to train myself over the years NOT to say what I see when entering other hospitality related locations or buildings, I say in my own mind that there are two bulbs that need changing and the brass plates indicating the gender of the changing rooms have not seen any “Peek “ in quite a while.

So we get out to the first tee and the Order of Play is decided. We nod, we laugh, we shake hands and we smile and wish each other the best of luck. We, as a group of cousins, uncles, nephews and extended family tend to follow each other’s lives through the mediums of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and it’s finally great to speak to each other face to face and to see by each other’s body language that we are all happy to see each other and looking forward to a days’ golf.

After a fantastic afternoon with friends, laughing and cheering each other on, the golf comes to an end. “A Good Walk Spoiled “ – Mark Twain, comes to mind. Anyway, its back to the changing rooms where the light bulbs still haven’t been changed and the “Peek “ is still enjoying its retirement.

Now the real fun starts. The “Wags“ and the kids are waiting upstairs in the clubhouse. Excluding my own son, who is 18, the next child in the room is aged 4 and then another seven under that age (not including the two unborn). It reminds me of Celbridge Manor, bulging with families enjoying their Sunday afternoon. You’ve probably guessed what happens next. I make “the call “. This time I speak with David, the Late Duty Manager. We discuss how the day went for about 30 seconds and all is well (as it invariably is when I call ). I thank him and wish him well for the rest of the evening and finish with my signature “any problems, figure out a solution “.

We settle down for our celebratory dinner, a group of hungry golfers, over excited toddlers and worn out mums, aunties and grandmothers. 22 adults and 10 infants for Sunday dinner. The staff (as they always are here ) are very pleasant and efficient and all our meals arrive hot & tasty. Twenty minutes later we are enjoying our coffee and reflecting on the day. The speeches are made, the winner announced, and congratulated (despite our unanimous conclusion, he is a bandit ). We vow to keep in touch more regularly, we promise not to leave it so long the next time.

Home now and its Baxter time. He is fed and we go for our evening walk. Then the shirt and tie combo is chosen for the next day and then off to bed to dream about hotels.

Ken Battigan

General Manager,

Celbridge Manor Hotel