“It’s a highly emotional time…” Aoibhin Garrihy’s husband John Burke shares heartbreak as hotel closes following new restrictions

Pic: VIP Ireland

Aoibhin Garrihy’s husband John Burke has shared his heartbreak as the Armada Hotel has had to close again following the latest set of restrictions.

Last night it was announced that the whole of Ireland would be placed under level 5 lockdown, meaning the hotel must shut its doors, yet again.

Speaking on Claire Byrne’s RTE radio show, he said, “At Level 4 and beyond our rooms are closing. Rooms are the bread and butter for any hotel and we can operate some element of takeaway but we’re not really operating as a hotel, nor are we able to sustain the jobs.”

The hotel employs almost 100 people and sadly, most of these will be out of work.

“I’ve spoken with a number of the team on the floor, to try and gage their mood and their sentiment about the whole thing,” he said.

Pic: VIP Ireland

“There has to be layoffs. The last time, without a doubt, those were the hardest discussions and moments that I’ve ever gone through in business, and that’s what we’re facing into again. It’s a highly emotional time dealing with that.

“These are 90 people who come from 90 households. Some of our employees are students and they’re as reliant on this sometimes as an earner within a household.

“It’s a very emotional time for me and all the team here but we’re going to try to hope that we see an end in sight.”

The first lockdown, which occurred in March, was the first time the hotel ever shut, apart from Christmas.

At the time, John and the staff came up with multiple ways to keep the company afloat, including take-away and delivery services.

Speaking to VIP Magazine recently, Aoibhin told us, “He doesn’t stop. You can’t keep a good thing down!

Pic: Lili Forberg for VIP Magazine

“His lockdown was not like others, he was moving again soon after trying to come up with a Plan B to keep jobs and was delivering Cocktail Blend Boxes, then Armada At Home menus, and when things started to move slowly again, a Coffee Hatch and a Carvery Hatch.

“People have really rallied too to support this rural hotel who are heavily dependent on brides and grooms.”

The hotel is regularly booked out, specifically for weddings, due to the picturesque views and incredible interiors.

Aoibhin said, “They had huge numbers on the books this year and next. John, however, is able for a struggle.

“When pushing himself up Mount Everest he told himself if he could endure the stress the hotel had thrown at him over the previous few years then he was not going to let the mountain beat him. That’s it.

“And look, there was a recession before and he weathered that. He learned a lot of take-homes on that Everest trek. One of them he always reminds himself of is: one step at a time. Small bites.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

google ads
VIP Live - The home of Irish celebrities