Friday, 25 March 2016


We do hope that you enjoy this wonderful piece of writing by our former concierge, Bart Bambury.


"I sit on a comfortable seat by the Sweet Chestnut Tree this soft Irish morning. The sun is warming my face on St. Patrick’s Day morning as guests begin to emerge through the front door of Hayfield Manor. A lady takes a little walk to the greenhouse, stopping to admire some Spring flowers as she passes by. If only Kieran, the gardener, could witness how the results of his careful planting and tending, having reached full glory, are being admired on a morning such as this. A gentleman sitting by the door is enjoying a cigarette. All who come into the sunlight seem relaxed and happy with the world. Michael, award winning concierge is having a conversation with a gentleman who is wearing the finest sprig of shamrock I’ve seen for many a day. I always enjoyed the tradition in Hayfield when a great bowl of fine sprigs of shamrock {seamróg na dtrí gcluas} were fresh in water for guests coming down in the morning for breakfast. Be assured Rita, hotel florist will only have the best in that bowl. A lady receptionist, following a gentle shake, pins the symbolic sprig to the guest’s attire, prior to a grand entry to Orchid’s restaurant for breakfast.


Now dear reader you might well ask who is writing me from a seat by the Sweet Chestnut Tree, located in the grounds of the finest hotel in Cork, at the top of Perrott’s Avenue, overlooking University College Cork (UCC) with a panoramic view of the Cork’s north side beyond. Apologies, my name is Bart Bambury and for ten happy and enjoyable years I worked as concierge in this wonderful property. If the truth be told I never really left but a knee replacement spirited me away and I had to face the reality that youth was no longer my major asset and keeping up with Michael was not getting any easier! I miss the joy of working with dear colleagues in doing the best we possibly could (a Hayfield mantra) for guests in our care. Remembering now as the morning sun climbs higher in an azure sky, I think of Louis, a concierge colleague for many years, who having briefed me on a Friday afternoon, removed his rose bedecked coat saying “ the Kerryman is coming on the field of play, the Corkman must depart to the sideline.”. You can read all about Louis in an Irish Examiner article framed in the lobby. I still retain my connectivity and membership with Clefs d’Or and colleagues working in other amazing properties home and abroad. Michael and Frank, can provide much help to guests when staying in Hayfield but can also help ‘smooth the way’ for guests as they travel on to a new location.


I observe the hotel’s esteemed Manager, Ettienne Van Vrede, busy at his desk but keeping an eye on the comings and goings through an open window. Ettienne is married to Anne Marie Scally, daughter of Margaret and Joe Scally, owners of Hayfield Manor. With two young children, Ettienne and Ann Marie, are a busy couple with their family commitments and a busy work life in the demanding hospitality arena. Ann Marie plays a significant role in the ensuring the Scally family properties are always changing with the times. The Royal Hotel and The Malton in Killarney are also owned by Mr. & Mrs. Scally where other members of the family are involved in ensuring that these Killarney-based properties are managed and function to the highest possible standards.


Breakfast will be nearing completion shortly and guests with help from hotel staff are beginning to prepare for the day ahead. Wherever they travel today they are sure to witness a parade and all that goes with such a joyous event-the flags, bunting, vintage this and that, music bands from home and abroad, happy children marching with pride under the banner of local clubs for all manner and description of sports and pastimes. And what a day for it! In the centre city, a nice short downhill walk, Patrick Street (Brown Thomas) and Grand Parade (English Market) will be thronged with happy citizens and visitors. With Kinsale (Cuisine), West Cork, Cobh (Titanic), Midleton (Jameson), Blarney (Woolen Mills), Killarney (Lakes) and all places between accessible for a day trip, guests are spoiled for choice but they will not miss the parade! Later back to “Home at Hayfield” for a nice quiet relaxation in the beautiful Spa Boutique with a pool, steam room and outdoor Jacuzzi waiting. Oh yes, there is also a well-equipped gym. But for the day that’s in it, treadmill and weights for another day!


The evening is always calm and relaxed in Hayfield. John and Juliette behind that renowned well-stocked bar (Midleton Rare and other brews a plenty) always making sure every drink has the elements as ordered. The rattle of ice in a shaker will help us locate David as he begins to pour another colourful cocktail. Menus are being checked and choices made by guests who opt for fine dining in Orchids or casual bistro dining in Perrotts. As concierge, I always loved this time of day in Hayfield. Guests were returned safely, new arrivals were happily settled in, Conor was ready to start his singing session in the lobby and all was in readiness for a lovely evening. It was time for the happy concierge to go home to family.


Audrius the head porter has joined with all the news of his young family. Ettienne gives me a wave from the window, Michael is bringing a car to the door for a guest. Christy, has put down his paintbrush to tend to his colourful aviary friends and those beloved Hayfield rabbits {more about these in my next posting}. Yes on this national holiday, St. Patrick’s Day 2016, all is well with Hayfield Manor and the staff that help make it a home from for so many guests from across the world.


With Easter around the corner I will return to this forum with information, advice and insights for guests to help make their Easter stay a pleasant one. Please mail me at with any queries or concerns. Would dearly love to hear from old friends I met over the years. With good wishes from the seat by the Sweet Chestnut Tree."


Slán is beannacht




The Constant Concierge