Occupation: Deputy General Manager, Culloden Estate and Spa
Place of Birth: Belfast
Where you live: Belfast
First Job: Glass washer at The Joxer Bar (Now Irene & Nan’s)
What it taught me: What a ‘Long Wait’ was”! But seriously it taught me my way around a bar and how to cope in a hectic atmosphere under pressure
Best advice anyone ever gave you: My mum handed me a newspaper in 2003 with an advert for Marriott Hotels circled in red. Wasn’t really advice, was more an order. What resulted was a move to California working with Marriott Hotels for over seven years
Best advice you could give someone starting out: You’re allowed to make a thousand mistakes in your career, just don’t make the same one twice
Neil Devlin attended primary school in St Anne’s before moving on to St Mary’s Grammar School.
After school he spent a year working in the Hunting Lodge bar before studying Hospitality Management at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown.
Upon leaving UUJ, and after numerous interviews with Marriott Hotels who were looking for hospitality people from Ireland, he landed in Palm Desert California at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort. There he started as a barman and server, working his way up through five promotions to Food & Beverage Department Head. After over seven great years he returned to Belfast and has not looked back.
He worked briefly with Sean Graham’s bookmakers before joining the five star Culloden Estate and Spa in October 2011. Neil believes himself ‘very lucky’ to have been given this opportunity with what he considers the number one hotel in Ireland. Outside of work Neil is a keen sportsman and became heavily involved in O’Donovan Rossa GAC at a young age, playing football for the club before moving on to hurling at Under 12.
Sport was pretty much his life growing up and he considers himself blessed to be part of some very successful years with Rossa, making four Feile finals in a row at under 14 level; captaining an Antrim Team Under-16 to All Ireland B Championship as well as winning three minor hurling championship medals for the club.
He also enjoyed sporting success at St Mary’s when the school won a number of Mageean Cups in a row with Neil playing in two of those to reach two All Ireland semi finals.