Cashel Palace Hotel barman Denis Heffernan marked his 70th birthday on Thursday with a surprise party in the hotel organised by colleagues.
The high point of the night came when Denis was presented by MC Claire Flanagan with a ‘This is your life” book of photographs and accounts of events chronicling his forty seven years working in the hotel.
As regulars to the basement bar are only too aware Denis doesn’t need two much prompting to break into song and at his special event on Thursday night the genial crooner entertained the packed long room at ever opportunity. While talking to Denis afterwards about his time in the Palace (by the way he is not retiring or is he even thinking of it) the stories and names from the past came flooding back.
When he began as a barman in 1967 the hotel, a former bishops palace had been in operation for five years and was owned by David Niall-Cain, son of Lord Brocket who also owned Carton House, Co Kildare. In the early 70’s the hotel changed hands and James Cox Brady Jr, the American businessman and financier took it over.
At this stages Denis’s computer brain clicks in and he expands on that simple fact to tell me that James Cox Brady’s son Nicholas became United States Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Regan and George Bush Sr. His first manager was Miss Carmel Smith, who was succeeded by Paul O’Connor, a noted rugby player with Cashel RFC. Jack Donnelly, who managed a string of hotels in his time also came in the seventies. Down through the years the list of celebrities who have availed of Denis’s hospitality in the cellar bar is impressive.
Racing legends Lester Piggott and Robert Sangster, actress Stephanie Beacham, actors Trevor Howard, Martin Sheen, and Richard Harris, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cyril Cusack, internationally famed flautist Bettine Clemen, author Edna O’Brien, and many more.
A great night was had by all and all and we wish Denis, health, wealth and every happiness.