For many people the Holyrood Hotel played a small or large part in their lives. For the people of Bundoran and so many other places who made their way to the famous hotel last Friday night, it remains a very special place.
The McEniff family were there in strength, led by Brian, proprietor of the iconic venue. It was notable and very touching that in his speech, Brian McEniff singled out his brother, Cllr Sean McEniff, as “my best friend”.
Some of us (many of us?) over the years often wondered what sort of relationship two brothers, both in the highly competitive hotel business, would have. Listening to both of them - Sean acted as MC for the night - speaking on Friday night, you would be left in no doubt that blood runs much thicker than water, and these two kings of the hotel business in the north west and elsewhere, work for and with each other at all times.
It was Brian who chose to make that point very publicly in an eloquent speech where he thanked Cautie and the family, and the staff - and all the loyal people who have stuck with him and the hotel - for their support.
Dotted around the tables old and ‘new’ Bundoran intermingled - the surfing fraternity who have brought such a new and exciting dynamic to Bundoran’s rich tapestry, were there in many guises, the business people of the town and most importantly of all, the locals were there too.
Nan Brennan of the famous Brennan’s Pub up the road cut a dash as she and Brian Maguire moved svelte-like across the maple, near the bar wee Frankie, Sean Og, an O’Connell or two and the Quinn girls were all out in their finery. Laughter was on the menu everywhere I turned.
My brother Hugh as a teenager, cut his teeth in the world of work behind the bar of the Holyrood Hotel, where he worked with a brilliant man called Declan Jones. Declan suffered and than God survived a serious illness while they worked together. Declan made a huge impression on my brother. Last Friday Declan was back ‘home’ in the Holyrood, at a table of ‘old staff’ and it was good to see him there. The success of the Holyrood can be attributed to many things - Brian McEniff’s simple good manners where he makes it his business to shake every hand and to say hello. The old ways may not be as relevant to some, but basics are critical and last Friday night all the simple rules were observed, good food, good manners and great music - with the queen, Philomena Begley - filling the floor at her ease.