Monday 23 July 2018

My cultural life... Niall Rochford

Niall Rochford
Niall Rochford
The Quiet Man
House of Cards
Michael Collins

Niall Rochford, general manager of Ashford Castle and The Lodge at Ashford Castle, was born and lived in Limerick before he moved to Kilrush, Co Clare and then to Tipperary town when he was 10. Post secondary school, he went to Dublin Institute of Technology, Cathal Brugha Street, to study hotel management. He favours castles, as his prior position was as deputy general manager of Dromoland Castle. A true family man, he is married to Stella, and they have three children, a daughter Zoe, and two sons, James and Niall Jnr. He is also considered the father figure to over 400 people employed on the Ashford Estate in both Ashford Castle and The Lodge at Ashford Castle.

Film: The Quiet Man

The Quiet Man (below), all 129 minutes of it! It has become very much a part of my life since I came to live in Cong and take up my position as general manager in 2002. The film was shot in 1951 in Cong and there are so many wonderful stories in the village about John Ford, John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara but probably the funniest I heard was that "electrickery" was turned on by John Ford in 1951.

The Quiet Man

Band: U2

U2 reminds me of my youth - and I was lucky enough to attend their Joshua Tree concert in Croke Park in July where I pretended to be 18 again for two hours. However, I love all music, from Irish folk to classical, and may have once considered a different career, following in the footsteps of Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti.

TV: House of Cards

House of Cards

Given the nature of my work as general manager of Ashford Castle and The Lodge, my TV viewing time is very limited. However, when possible I enjoy current affairs and political programmes and debates. I am also a big fan of House of Cards (above), as it reminds me of the hotel business so much.

Artist: Frank Egginton

Daily I am surrounded by extraordinary pieces of art bought in by various owners of Ashford Castle over the years. My favourite paintings are those of Frank Egginton, a prolific and renowned artist, whose paintings depicted life in rural Connemara and the west of Ireland. Many of these paintings have been hanging at Ashford Castle since the early 1970s when they were bought by the then owner John A Mulcahy. My own collection also features many landscapes of the west of Ireland. However, I have a very considered collection of Irish historical documents focused mainly on the period 1919-1922. I particularly collect memorabilia of my hero, Michael Collins, which I add to whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Book: Dail Treaty Debate

Michael Collins

On the theme of 1919-1922, I am currently riveted to an original copy of the Dail Treaty Debate (Dec 1921-Jan 1922) which I bought at auction recently. To read the passionate pleadings of Michael Collins (above), Eamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith and many others is fascinating.


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