• Cyril McAree

Ashford Castle Announces Three New Appointments


Ashford Castle has announced three new appointments at the luxury estate. Lisa Toomey, formerly Director of Food & Beverage, has assumed the role of Director of Operations; Christopher Murphy has joined as the new Director of Food & Beverage and Paul Fogerty has joined Ashford Castle as Head Sommelier.


Michael Leahy, concierge at the Castle has joined an elite panel of global concierges having been awarded membership of Les Clefs d’Or in recognition of his superior service to guests. The four are part of the 400 plus strong team employed on the Ashford Castle Estate, which incorporates The Lodge at Ashford Castle.


The five-star Ashford Castle, located on the shores of Lough Corrib in Cong, Co Mayo, is part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, and reopened in 2015 following an extensive renovation, which included the addition of a luxurious velvet-adorned private cinema and state-of-the-art spa facilities.




Lisa Toomey – new Director of Operations

Lisa joined Ashford Castle in 2017 as Director of Food & Beverage having spent a number of years working on the Food & Beverage teams of a number of well-regarded hotels including the Hyatt Regency and the Connaught Hotel, in London. She has now assumed the role of Director of Operations at Ashford Castle where she applies her extensive skill-set to driving sales and profitability









Christopher Murphy – Director of Food and Beverage

With experience spanning the globe in some of the finest establishments, Christopher’s passion for food began at the world-renowned Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland. Since graduating, Chris has been part of the pre-opening teams at Shangri-La Ningbo, China as well as 45 Park Lane, London and has progressed through the ranks with experience at The Dorchester Hotel, London and most recently, Mosimann’s in London. There, he oversaw a large Events team operating an incredible 300 events a year, including the International Olympic Committee President’s Dinner commemorating the start of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. Chris’ depth of food knowledge stems from several positions that all began with his very first taste of the business when he was just 17 years of age, when he undertook an internship at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford.


Paul Fogerty – Head Sommelier

Paul has a First-Class Honours Degree in Hotel and Catering Management and has a reputable ability to source some true gems of the wine world. Having worked in a variety of well-established restaurants, where he developed his initial love for wine, Paul decided to pursue a Diploma from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, after which he became an Approved Programme provider for the Trust. Paul went on to run his own Café in Dublin for 20 years but finally decided it was time to head back to the West, where he always considered home. Having assumed the position of Head Sommelier at Ashford Castle, Paul can now pass on his extensive knowledge of wine to both guests and employees of the luxury establishment


Michael Leahy – Clef d’Or

Having been part of Ashford Castle’s concierge team for four years, Michael has recently been awarded membership of the elite Les Clefs d’Or, elevating his status to being among the very highest calibre of concierge in the world. Les Clefs d’Or, translated as The Golden Keys, is a professional association of hotel concierges, with approximately 4,000 members working in over 80 countries and 530 destinations.


Speaking about the recent appointments, Niall Rochford, General Manager of Ashford Castle, said: “At Ashford Castle, our employees are a huge part of what makes for an unforgettable experience for guests. We warmly welcome Paul and Christopher to the Ashford Castle family and we’re very happy for both Lisa and Michael, who have both individually proved themselves time and time again to be invaluable members of staff. We have no doubt that they will each play a big part in leaving a lasting positive impression on our guests.”



In February, Forbes Travel Guide announced its Star Rating winners for 2020 and for the first time ever, an Irish hotel achieved a Five-Star ranking in the annual honours list, the top rating possible. Ashford Castle has joined an elite group of fewer than 300 luxury hotels around the world that have earned a Five-Star Forbes Travel Guide (FTG) ranking.

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