'I fell foul of the Sous Chef (deputy head chef) who was the pastry chef '

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'I fell foul of the Sous Chef (deputy head chef) who was the pastry chef '


Harry Browne reflects upon the different hotels he worked in after graduating from catering college.


Harry Browne


Trinity College Dublin




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Harry Browne

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As best I can recall I worked in six or seven jobs in the three or four years after I left Cathal Brugha Street. As I said before, jobs were easy to get and the pay was reasonably good. I recall that I worked in The Gresham, The Dolphin, The Shelbourne , Alfredo's Restaurant, The St Ermins Hotel in London's Victoria Street, The Royal Hotel in Glendalough and The Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill in Galway, not necessarily in that order. I was obviously finding it difficult settling down. I have dealt extensively with my time in The Shelbourne which was a positive experience but at the end a colleague convinced me that the bright lights of London held out a much greater prospect than good old dirty Dublin. I am not sure how long I stayed in London but I went home at Christmas for a break and when I returned to London I was desperately lonely and quickly went back home. My time in the Gresham was short and not enjoyable and in the Dolphin I fell foul of the Sous Chef (deputy head chef) who was the pastry chef. I made puff pastry, a difficult and time consuming process and it turned out splendidly. I received plaudits from all and sundry but the pastry chef's nose was out of joint, presumably he felt threatened by this upstart with book learning. After that we did not get on and soon I left to move onwards. In my summer holidays from Cathal Brugha Street I went to the Royal Hotel in Glendalough and worked there as assistant to the head chef for several months. The owner, a nephew of Eamon Casey the later to be disgraced Bishop, was a friend and hunting buddy of my uncle Jack's. I cannot recall the chef's name except that my uncle called him 'Ballyfermot' after the area of Dublin from which he came. I had a very enjoyable time in the Royal but one minor drawback cast a gloom over the experience. Every day it was my task to bake scones for the afternoon tea. I was good at this and the scones were generally light and fluffy. Unfortunately I had a bad habit of forgetting them in the oven. Almost every day I threw a batch of burned scones into the little trout stream which still flows past the kitchen window of the Royal hotel. They were the best fed trout in the country. I therefore had to make two batches of scones every day. There was another Hotel in Glendalough called The Lake Hotel, it was nearer the upper lake and did not open, in my time, to residents. On busy days however lunch was served in this hotel and the cook there had a wooden leg. My uncle always told me the he used the wooden leg to stir the stew which he then served to the eager customers. This story bears all the hallmarks of a rural legend as distinct from the urban ones. Uncle Jack would regale us with the tale of a lodging house keeper in Capel street who also had a wooden leg. The establishment was known locally as 'Stickfoots' Urban legend had it that clients paid two pence for accommodation. It was normally very full and in order to accommodate as many as possible Stickfoot strung a length of rope around the sleeping room and the clients draped themselves over it. They could then sleep in a semi upright position, leaving much more room for extra guests if necessary. Legend further had it that in the morning, in order to waken the guests, Stickfoot would untie the rope and they would all fall to the floor. There was no lying abed in the morning allowed in that establishment.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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