A New Year Message from The Loughran Family
On May 2nd 1955 a young Northern Ireland couple, George and Rosaleen Loughran, struggled to secure a loan to buy No. 7 Herbert Road beside Lansdowne Road Stadium. They set up a small guest house with just 4 bedrooms. Rosaleen was heavily pregnant with me, her son, John, the second of 5 children. I arrived just 3 weeks later, on May 26th.
In the early years our family worked hard together to build the business. On busy Summer nights we frequently shared one bedroom to make way for paying guests. We were all expected to help where needed. 65 years later, Sandymount Hotel is a beautiful 4* property with just under 190 bedrooms. My son Gerard and I are proud of our tradition as Dublin’s oldest family run hotel.
Our loyal staff are an extension of our family. Some have been with us for decades. The longest serving, receptionist Beatrice O’Donoghue, is in her 40th year. Accommodation Manager, Rose Foley Barry is in her 33rd year. My very patient secretary, Maria Condron is in her 22nd year.
Sandymount is one of Ireland’s most beautiful villages. It has a unique community spirit and over the past 6 decades the hotel has played an important role in that. We are one of the largest local employers and have had generations of families working in the hotel.
In recent years, George and Rosaleen’s grandson Gerard has overseen refurbishment expenditure of over €8 million to ensure the hotel meets the high standards required of a luxury 4* hotel. The final piece of the jigsaw, the beautiful remodelling of the front façade, was completed to take advantage of the eagerly anticipated 2020 Six Nations Rugby Championship and indeed the UEFA football championships.
On March 12th 2020 everything changed. Business shuddered to a complete stop. As Ireland was impacted by the global pandemic hotels had to close without warning. The most painful part of this was for the first time in 65 years we had to lay off many of our wonderful staff.
We are grateful to the small team, who have continued to work in the hotel. Because of reduced staff numbers they have been under additional pressure and have given fantastic support in taking responsibility to assist us in protecting the business, maintenance of standards, and safely looking after our guests.
While Covid-19 has had a seismic financial impact, the health and wellbeing of our staff and guests has been and will continue to be of far greater importance.
Through the decades our family have survived many crises including Foot & Mouth Disease, Northern Troubles, European Ash Cloud, Financial Crash and numerous recessions. While Covid-19 may be our greatest ever challenge, with the resilience passed down from George and Rosaleen, we are confident that we will get through this.
We are grateful to our many loyal customers who have continued to support us during these strange and difficult times. This support has been essential to our survival. Many of you have your own personal stories of loss and adversity and our thoughts and prayers are with you.
2020 affected all of us. It was unlike anything we have experienced before. Milestone family occasions were quietly celebrated, and the painful passing of loved ones took place without the solidarity and support of close family and friends.
It is difficult to anticipate what the short-term future will bring. The world, and the way in which we live our lives, has changed and we are all adjusting to living with uncertainty. The arrival of a vaccine gives cause for optimism and “Normality” may return sooner than we think.
As 2021 commences we are again in level 5 lockdown until February. Our family and staff hope it will not be too long after that before you will be back with us. We are eagerly looking forward to giving you the warmest of welcomes. In the meantime, stay safe, healthy and well.
John & Gerard Loughran