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John Hehir took up the position as Director of Sales & Marketing with Dromoland Castle in 1986. He spent the previous six years with Shannon Development Company and Shannon Castle Tours in the US promoting leisure and Incentive travel to Ireland. He has been based at the castle since the early ’90s and frequently visits all of the major markets – a well known and friendly face! He is proud to be part of the Dromoland team that consistently delivers genuine and enjoyable Irish castle experiences for its many clients. Ovation is delighted to continue our strong relationship with John and we sat down with him to find a little bit more…

John Hehir head and shoulder 22

A bit about work

What do you enjoy most about the job/industry?

Developing relationships with Incentive and Conference clients. Finalising program content with them and eventually experiencing the delivery of successful events. Many of our clients are repeat group producers and several have become personal friends.


How has Ireland, as an incentive destination, changed over your career?

Every essential element required for a successful Incentive program has been improved dramatically over the years i.e. hotels, restaurants, golf courses, off-site banqueting venues etc. New exciting entertainment products are being developed on a frequent basis.


What is Ireland’s unique selling point as an incentive destination?

Our world- wide reputation as fun loving, friendly and engaging people creates the perfect environment for visitors to experience everything that is good about Ireland i.e. our history, music, unique sports etc. I constantly meet people abroad who recall conversations and tall tales from previous visits to Ireland, some not necessarily true but always entertaining.

It’s easy for visitors to be part of the banter and craic in Ireland!


Where’s your favourite getaway in Ireland?

Several spots on The Wild Atlantic Way particularly on the Clare Coast, it offers everything on my wish list–beaches, wild scenery, great golf and traditional Irish music.

Dromoland Castle


And a bit about play

What would you recommend for a really great night out in Ireland?

After enjoying dinner in one of North Clare’s restaurants I would then visit O’Connor’s Pub in Doolin and listen to some of Ireland’s leading Traditional Irish Musicians and singers and partake in the craic.


Who do you admire most? Personal or Professional?

The late Paul Newman – his lifetime achievements are enormous; an award winning actor & film director, a professional racing driver and team owner, a successful entrepreneur -the list goes on.

His philanthropic work included the establishment of The Hole in the Wall camps for seriously ill children, over 300,000 children and their families have benefited since its establishment – its Irish camp Barretstown is located in Co Kildare.


Who would be your ideal dinner guests?

Sean Penn & Johnny Depp and whoever they might decide to bring with them, I can’t imagine it being a boring evening.


If you weren’t in this industry, what would you like to do?

Either a National Hunt Jockey or a Football Coach. Regretfully I never had the talent to be either one…

If you would like to learn more about Dromoland Castle please contact