The castle has it themselves, but there is a twist

The castle has it themselves, but there is a twist

(CNN) – Laura Jamieson and Michael Smith fell in love while working in an 800-year-old castle. However, they never expected to live in their workplace.

But exactly what they’ve been doing since March 25 is to collect their stuff as a result of the coronavirus. Ashford CastleA five star hotel on the north shore of Lough Corrib, Mayo, Ireland.

“Who else can say they’re locked in the castle?” says property manager, Smith, 28 years old.

Temporary excavations

In the real world, the couple, who has been living for a year and a half, lives in an apartment in Cross, a small village about five kilometers from the castle.

Laura Jamieson and Michael Smith, those working at Ashford Castle (and also a couple) never expected to move into glorious excavations.

Courtesy of Ashford Castle

Nothing prepared them to move to the old country property of the Guinness family, with 32-seat cinema, two gourmet dining rooms, spa, wine tasting tunnels and 83 guest rooms.

It was converted into a luxury hotel in 1939; past guests include US presidents and celebrities such as Barbra Streisand and Brad Pitt. Filming an episode of the TV series “Remington Steele” in Ashford, Pierce Brosnan returned to marry Keely Shaye Smith in 2001.

Smith and Jamieson, who are in charge of guest directors, were surprised and excited when General Manager Niall Rochford asked if they would consider going into a spell. They are suspicious of this because they complement each other as a team.

“It does everything very well inside and I have a lot of experience outside and on the ground, so it has been almost perfect yin and yang,” Smith says. “We balance each other. So I must believe it’s one of the reasons they ask. ”

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Are you having fun yet?

Was it frightening to be the only inhabitants of such a big place to begin with? Some.

During the day, some of the hotel staff come to perform various business functions, but the couple are largely alone.

During the day, some of the hotel staff come to perform various business functions, but the couple are largely alone.

Courtesy of Ashford Castle

For starters, there was the sweet Fiasco.

“We have a five-star kitchen, but we are a two-star cook between the two of us,” says Smith, who grew up in Perthshire, Scotland. “We both have a sweet tooth, so we tried banana bread. It was a disaster. When you set up a smoke alarm at home, it’s just in the kitchen. But when you hit the road to a hotel, everywhere closes.”

Dating back to 1228, the castle is an enormous area for only two people.

Dating back to 1228, the castle is an enormous area for only two people.

Courtesy of Ashford Castle

Then there was the Ashford Past Ghost – or at least what happened at the beginning.

“The castle dates back to 1228 and we stay in the Victorian wing,” says Jamieson, who has been in Ashford for five years. “You have all these pictures of the owners for ages. You almost feel like someone’s home and they’re watching you.”

Her boyfriend entertains herself by jumping in front of her to “make sure she has her toes”.

“It was thinned pretty quickly,” Smith admits.

A day in the castle life

On a typical day, they find up to 8 acres awake, walk around 350 acres of gardens and private woodland, and then go to the locals for a coffee. It is a regular eight-hour working day filled with Zoom meetings and greeting colleagues coming to the castle for several hours. They can stand next to stables or falcon school to see hawks and owls.

Then the fun really begins.

As part of their additional maintenance responsibility, they have to vacuum floors, dust the Waterford crystal chandeliers and shower in each guest room. The real calorie burning comes from 160 toilets they wash every day to keep everything running.

“It was a good exercise for us,” says Smith, who estimates that they log in between 25,000 and 30,000 steps on an average day.

To keep the castle in good working order, Smith and Jamieson run all showers and wash all toilets (160 in total) every day.

To keep the castle in good working order, Smith and Jamieson run all showers and wash all toilets (160 in total) every day.

Courtesy of Ashford Castle

Once a week, Jamieson organizes a date night in the 32-seat cinema, which looks like something out of the 1920s.

They bring sugar, popcorn, some wine, and they act as if they were in a cinema rather than their private cinema. The first movie they watched was “The Quiet Man,” starring Maureen O’Hara, shot in John Wayne and Ashford.

Smith also enjoyed “Game of Thrones” and “The Greatest Showman” – “what deserves to be on the big screen.”

History night usually takes place in the empty cinema.

History night usually takes place in the empty cinema.

Courtesy of Ashford Castle

The couple met when Smith started working at the hotel three years ago. Jamieson worked in different departments, each wearing a different uniform, and soon caught Smith’s eye – confused as to whether he was a person or a sister. “But I managed to narrow it down,” he says, and finally he ran the nerve to ask him.

The couple is divided into a luxurious state room in the original wing of the castle (circa 1228), with antiques, tapestries, Connemara marble, Murano glass chandeliers, an antique grandfather clock, 15-meter ceilings and magnificent lake views.

They bought a Polaroid camera to document their experience before entering. “We’re creating a memory book for ourselves,” says Jamieson. “This is not real life. He sees us more curious than us.”

The hardest part is that they can’t see their friends and family personally. But usually FaceTime with them from a different part of the property for a virtual tour.

Laura Jamieson and Michael Smith fell in love while working in an 800-year-old castle. However, they never expected to live in their workplace.

Michael Smith Scottish and Laura Jamieson Surrey in England, but fell in love along the Irish Sea.

Courtesy of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection

Close ‘evacuation’

The castle is planned to be reopened on July 2. They are not sure that it will be evicted right now. “We avoid asking the question,” says Jamieson.

Even though the castle will reopen on July 2, the couple is not sure when to leave.

Even though the castle will reopen on July 2, the couple is not sure when to leave.

Courtesy of Ashford Castle

Beyond the Eloise of playing, they learned a lot about themselves and as a couple. “We are a relatively young couple and it was the craziest experience,” says Smith. “I’m not saying this is a Disney story. I’m sure he wants me to go to the other side or send him to the dungeon. But we did not fight each other or got sick.

But he adds, “he may change his mind soon.”

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