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Q&A blog post with Jack Tierney owner of Lawlor’s Hotel

We spoke with Jack Tierney successful businessman and owner of Lawlor’s of Naas Town Centre Hotel, our Grade 1 novice hurdle sponsor. Jack tells us about the exciting new extension at Lawlor’s, challenges facing the hospitality industry and the racing association with the Lawlor family.

1) Lawlor’s has kindly supported Naas Racecourse for many years.  Tell us about the racing association with the Lawlor family.

The Lawlor’s were a shareholder in Naas Racecourse.  They did the catering.  It was the only hotel in Naas able to cater for racing and Bridget Lawlor did it to a very high standard.  Her hospitality was renowned throughout the country so it’s fitting that the name is associated with it again, especially in Naas.

New hotels have been built in the area since their time but it’s all really centred around Lawlor’s Hotel.

2)  This will be Lawlor’s 7th year to sponsor the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle, what do you enjoy most about attending and sponsoring at Naas Racecourse?

To be in contact with one of the most prominent sports in this area which is racing. We feel so grateful to Naas Racecourse for allowing us to be their main sponsor on the biggest day in their calendar and of course the contact with the local Board of Management, Dermot Cantillon, Richard Brophy, Barry Brennan, David Cox, Willie Power, Michael Kinane and Robbie Osborne.

3)  A successful businessman and owner, tell us how it all started?

That wouldn’t be nearly as interesting as talking about Naas Racecourse.

4) 2020 has been a year like no other, how have the team at Lawlor’s coped during this challenging time?

This is ongoing, it is not over and won’t be over for the rest of this year.  Too soon to say when but my guess is next year rather than this before any normality returns. In fact this year looks like it will be worse.  I don’t have a clue.  You’d want a good 5-Star crystal ball to know that. We have to go forward at Lawlor’s though.  It has been tough but we have a job to do and a big team who have families to support so we worked on a comprehensive program to keep customers and staff safe and the business going.  We were one of the first signed up to the Failte Ireland Safety Charter.We’ve had to adapt what we do and how we do it, one of the first ideas was a Click + Collect takeaway food service which has been popular. All of the team work hard to win any business that is out there.

The extension is nearing completion which is exciting for us and for the town.  Make no mistake it has been a very difficult year but we are working our way through that and we’ll have a great story to finish it all off with our new Restaurant & Bar, Lobby, Bedrooms and the Ballroom.  An interesting additional offering are the workspaces, something essential for the times we live in, which is a dedicated area for people working remotely to come to and use for their own business for a morning, afternoon or even just a few hours. There are some great ideas that have come out of this year also.

5) The new Lawlor’s will be a fantastic asset to the town, tell us how it will benefit surrounding businesses?

In my view the development of Millennium Park, thanks to Gerry Conlon for having the foresight to do it, as a top-class location for multi-national companies to come to Naas means Lawlor’s has had to upgrade what we offer to attract those clients.  We are adding 5-Star conferencing facilities, more accommodation, new restaurants, gardens and our workspaces, all of these will help corporations and organisers choose Naas as their destination.

6) Aside from the additional hotel rooms, tell us about the new facilities and features?

One of my favourite features is the Courtroom on the top floor.  It’s a beautiful 19th Century wood panelled courtroom from Wales and I knew it had to be part of the project.  A one-of-a-kind venue. The circular bar in Vi’s Restaurant is a showstopper, I’m confident racegoers and everyone else will enjoy the atmosphere and experience there. There is a lot to see in the new extension and maybe the lockdown has given us time to be more creative.  There’s a reclaimed French limestone fireplace in the Afternoon Tea Lounge and I’m hoping it will be a place people meet regularly.  I’d love if it became the hub of the town.

7)  Have you any special plans to launch the new Lawlor’s Hotel?

At the moment it is hard to make plans so that’s a question I’ll keep you posted on… but it will be special!

8)  Give us your best piece of business/life advice?

Mind your money, borrow little.