Center Parcs Longford Forest opened in July 2019, and with the first few months successfully under his belt, general manager Daragh Feighery can heave a sigh of relief at how well it’s all gone.
The stakes were high for the Lucan man, because Center Parcs is a hugely successful European network of holiday villages, and this was its first time to open in Ireland. Happily, it has achieved its aim of revolutionising the short-stay holiday market in mere months, as Longford Forest opened to great reviews and acclaim.
Prior to joining Center Parcs, Daragh was regional operations director with Aramark, which handles catering operations all over Ireland.
Describing himself as driven, focused and ambitious, he is actually a trained chef. He met his home economist wife Sineád when they were both studying culinary arts at DIT, Cathal Brugha Street. They now live in Celbridge with their four children – Naomi (25), Rachel (18), Ryan (14) and Saoirse (9).
Actually Center Parcs have the children to thank for their role in Daragh’s decision to take the job. Having been approached by an agency, he was dispatched to Sherwood Forest to carry out a task as part of the recruitment process.
Center Parcs insisted that he bring his family along to stay with him, and it proved to be a smart move. “I wasn’t sure if I was in the market for a new role, but the decision was taken out of my hands,” he laughs.
Daragh worked as general manager at Sherwood Forest for a year in preparation for taking the role in Ireland. This meant that he was away from the family a good bit, but they visited often and he came home every ten days. He pays tribute to Sinéad for keeping it all going during that time.
Their children play a lot of sports, and Daragh coaches the under nine’s camogie team at Lucan Sarsfields GAA club. This is appropriate as his aunt, Aileen Lawlor, is former president of the Camogie Association.
He is fired with passion and enthusiasm around Center Parcs, and very much appreciates its ethos of bringing family principles into a corporate situation, which is a real recipe for success. “I worked all over Christmas and New Year, but my family and I moved into a lodge on-site so we were all together,” he says. “It’s a very special place and the kids absolutely love it.”