HOSPITALITY HEROES: Curragh man Paul Beehan is the host with the most at Kilkenny's Newpark Hotel

Hospitality Hero Paul Beehan puts a smile on my face every time we meet, be it virtually or at the Newpark Hotel. He is the host with the most and the General Manager at Kilkenny’s award winning family Newpark Hotel.

Deservingly, Paul has been awarded one of Ireland's latest Hospitality Heroes, by Iconic Newspapers. The Hospitality Heroes series is an initiative where we recognise those who are heroes in their field and are bouncing back to get the hospitality industry ready to reopen on June 2nd.

Paul became the General Manager of the award winning family Newpark Hotel in January 2019. He wasn’t long in the job when the pandemic hit a year later, but that didn’t stop Paul keeping the Newpark Hotel in the spotlight as a popular Irish holiday destination.

Originally from the Curragh in Co. Kildare, Paul now resides in Laois and works in Kilkenny. Paul studied at Shannon College of Hotel Management and has worked in Switzerland, France, London and Dublin.

He has brought with him a flare of French cuisine to the menu at Scott’s Restaurant in the Newpark Hotel. For example, his favourite dish, the Croque Monsieur, was a staple dish from his training days in Switzerland.

Paul says, “I insisted that we have a really epic Newpark Croque Monsieur sandwich on the menu, and we are also introducing Confit Duck Croquettes too to the menu this summer.”

The famous Newpark’s Wildlife Farm has benefitted hugely during the lockdowns. In past few months the grass has grown again and they have beautiful ponds for the geese and the ducks.

The Friary Trail has also been enhanced. John Flynn, the owner of the Newpark Hotel, was in New Zealand at the beginning of last year, where he visited the Lord of Rings studios and came back with same amazing ideas. The team have built a massive Friary Village, with extra benches for the kids to have picnics on.

The team at the Newpark did not down tools during the pandemic, instead they kept us all entertained with incredible videos starring the animals from the hotel’s wildlife farm and the staff.

Paul recalls, “we wanted to make a video and our Operations Manager Niall Dunne came up with the idea of using the animals. I have to say when we started shooting it, it was absolute chaos trying to organise the animals. It was all done in house on two mobile phones, a little tripod and a selfie stick. They went out of their way to pull it all together and we never expected it to go viral.”

And viral it went, with Sky News picking it the videos, as well as RTE, the Independent, the Daily Mirror and of course the Kilkenny People! The staff (farm animals and human) went onto make more videos and won €10,000 for charity by winning the Jerusalema nationwide challenge competition.

When Paul is not staring on film and running the award winning hotel, he enjoys gardening and home renovating his 1860’s country gate lodge in Laois. He was a competitive Irish Dancer for 20 years, but these days he likes to keep fit by swimming.

If you would like to meet Paul and his creative uplifting team at the Newpark Hotel Kilkenny, simply visit www.newparkhotelkilkenny.com

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