Award for Bray hotel owner
THE owner of one of Bray's landmark hotels has been named as 2004 ‘Donegal Person of the Year.'
James McGettigan, the founder of the Regency Hotel Group which includes the Royal Hotel in Bray, was recently unveiled as the person of the year.
McGettigan, who was born in Kilmacrennan in County Donegal in 1937, started work as a young teenager in a local bar.
From there he went to Southampton in England where he worked as a first class waiter aboard the QE1 at the age of 19.
He returned to Dublin eight years later and bought a pub in the city.
However, it was in 1969 with the purchase of the Baggot Inn that James became one of the city's most well-known business men.
Over the following 26 years, the Baggot Inn became one of the most popular music venues in the country and featured U2, Christy Moore, Brendan Grace and others before they were famous.
In the late 70s and early 80s, James purchased a string of hotels – including the Royal Hotel in Bray – which became the core of his Regency Hotel Group.
Improvement works at the Royal Hotel in Bray first started when the building was purchased by McGettigan in 1985.
Later in 1994 a modern leisure centre was added.
Currently, construction work on extensive banqueting and conference facilities as well as additional bedrooms is drawing to a close and should be open to the public next month.
‘Life is still very busy. I would like to get involved in a few more projects with my family,' James McGettigan said.
‘Donegal people don't retire – they just take life a little easier,' he concluded.