herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

'Burlington Golden Girls' check in for a night of hotel memories

reunion

Phyllis Russell, Norah Hunt, Sheila Woods, Bernie Schuhmann, Marie Stanley, Vera Doran, Bella Neville, Gene McMahon, Peggy Fahy, Del Hanlon, Phyllis Doyle, Marie Quigley, Diane Crogan, Connie Whelan and Eithne Curran.
Phyllis Russell, Norah Hunt, Sheila Woods, Bernie Schuhmann, Marie Stanley, Vera Doran, Bella Neville, Gene McMahon, Peggy Fahy, Del Hanlon, Phyllis Doyle, Marie Quigley, Diane Crogan, Connie Whelan and Eithne Curran.
The Women who met under Clearys clock in Dublin all worked in the Burlington hotel and were having a reunion.
The Women who met under Clearys clock in Dublin all worked in the Burlington hotel and were having a reunion.

Former staff members of Dublin's iconic Burlington Hotel have spilled the beans on the venue's top guests through the years as they met for an evening of reminiscences.

More than 20 retired staff, calling themselves the 'Burlington Golden Girls', came together yesterday for a night on the town.

The women spent almost 40 years working together in Dublin's Burlington Hotel, since it opened in 1972.

The hotel was known for its luxury and for its high-profile guests which included Charlie Haughey, Ted Kennedy, Mike Tyson and George Best.

"We had all the top brass through our doors. We served all the top people from the Dail," retired worker Connie Whelan (81) said.

The hotel was a Fianna Fail favourite and Connie recounted one special occasion in the 1980s when then Taoiseach Charles Haughey received a special reception.

"There was a special dinner on for Fianna Fail and everybody stood up and clapped and played that tune 'Rise and Follow Charlie'," Connie said.

"Charlie walked in, in all his glory, with the tricolour behind him," she recalled.

Gentleman

Diane Croghan (75) said that Mr Haughey "always acted like a true gentleman".

Diane was working when Mike Tyson made his first visit to Ireland in 2006 and although he was shrouded in controversy at the time, Diane had nothing but good words to say about him.

"He was up on the top table and he just kept saying 'yes ma'am' and 'alright ma'am' in that strong accent," Diane said.

"He [Tyson] was very well-mannered."

Phyllis Russell remembers Ted Kennedy's 1988 stay at the hotel and revealed that the US politician was "very down to earth" as she chatted to him.

Phyllis said that the head waiter wanted to impress the senator so much that he organised for his food to be served in a special suite.

Another famous face to grace the Burlington was George Best, who Phyllis said could often be seen with his father, Dickie.

The Burlington may have closed in 2008 and many of the ladies are now retired, but they haven't hung up their dancing shoes yet.

The Golden Girls say they are a family and have been there for each other through all of life's big events, including marriages, children and "cranky husbands".

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