‘True ambassador’ has rubbed shoulders with many famous hotel guests

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Paul Reid, pictured with Mary McAuley.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Paul Reid, pictured with Mary McAuley.

A restaurant manager who has welcomed thousands of guests to the Mid and East Antrim area during a career spanning 50 years has been recognised for her service to tourism and hospitality.

Mary McAuley, who has been meeting and greeting visitors at the Londonderry Arms hotel in Carnlough since 1967, was the special guest at a Mayor’s reception in Larne Town Hall.

Front: Mary McAuley and the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Clllr Paul Reid. Middle row: Dermott Hamill, Noreen Hamill, Maeve Johnston, Shirley McAuley, Marnie Timbey O'Neill and Raymond Hunt. Back row: Denise O'Neill, Alice McKay, Carol Glanville, Manus Jamieson, Michael McAuley, Bernie Martin and Damien Martin.

Front: Mary McAuley and the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Clllr Paul Reid. Middle row: Dermott Hamill, Noreen Hamill, Maeve Johnston, Shirley McAuley, Marnie Timbey O'Neill and Raymond Hunt. Back row: Denise O'Neill, Alice McKay, Carol Glanville, Manus Jamieson, Michael McAuley, Bernie Martin and Damien Martin.

The hotel, which dates back to 1848, was previously owned by former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and has a rich and colourful history and heritage.

Mary has been a key member of staff at the renowned establishment, rubbing shoulders with many well-known faces, including Gloria Hunniford, late Inspector Morse actor John Thaw, and Barbara Windsor.

Mary, her family and friends were hosted by Mid and East Antrim’s First Citizen, Councillor Paul Reid, who paid tribute to her boundless enthusiasm and passion for her job, the hotel and local area.

He said: “It was a huge honour to welcome Mary and reflect on her incredible five decades of service.

Maeve Johnston, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Paul Reid, Mary McAuley and Manus Jamieson.

Maeve Johnston, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Paul Reid, Mary McAuley and Manus Jamieson.

“Mary is a true ambassador for the Londonderry Arms, Carnlough and Mid and East Antrim as a whole. Her work ethic and commitment is inspiring.

“Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is a major investor in the Northern Ireland tourism sector and we are honoured to have superb people like Mary providing such a crucial service.”

Denise O’Neill, proprietor of the Londonderry Arms hotel, said: “Mary’s work ethic, professionalism and example over half a century have contributed enormously to the popularity and success of the Londonderry Arms.

“‘Customers first’ has always been her advice to staff, by whom she is held in the highest regard, and her long experience of the hotel is highly valued by me personally.”

Front row:  Denise O'Neill, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Paul Reid, and Mary McAuley.  Back row: Marnie Timbey O'Neill, Raymond Hunt, Manus Jamieson, Maeve Johnston and Carol Glanville.

Front row: Denise O'Neill, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Paul Reid, and Mary McAuley. Back row: Marnie Timbey O'Neill, Raymond Hunt, Manus Jamieson, Maeve Johnston and Carol Glanville.

Mary has been a key member of staff at the hotel for more than half a century.

Mary has been a key member of staff at the hotel for more than half a century.

Mary McAuley tries on the chain of office, courtesy of the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid.

Mary McAuley tries on the chain of office, courtesy of the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid.