So there he is, dapper as ever, Sean Lally – the quintessential Hotel GM – waxing lyrical about his early journey through the hospitality industry.
We get to the point where we learn he met his wife when she booked her wedding to another man in his hotel!
There ensued a series of hilarious interpretations of the exact same events which ultimately led this amazing couple and dynamic business duo building a life, a family and a business together.
Great story… but which version is true?
‘The Lallys’ episode of The Coffee at Eleven Show was a firm audience favourite; guaranteed to bring a giggle.
Stick on the kettle, grab a coffee and grant yourself seven minutes of ‘You Time’.
We Were There When… Elaine Put Sean Lally Straight On How They ACTUALLY Met – Hilarious! #Coffeeat11 #CoffeewithColm
Yours Truly: And good morning, one and all. And you’re very welcome to the cafe this morning, on this beautiful lockdown day. I think it’s Wednesday. It is Wednesday, and looking forward to another fascinating chat with somebody else worth meeting. And this morning’s guest is a good friend of mine for many years. We’ve Soldiered together somehow. It’s Sean Lally of Hotel Woodstock, and Sean you’re very welcome. You might just say a quick hello, Sean and cheers us with your coffee mug.
Sean Lally: Thank you very much, Colm. Delighted to be here. Thank you.
Yours Truly: Sean, indeed, it’s our pleasure. We have an international audience this morning, which is just wonderful. You’re all very welcome. And we’ve got Sweden has dialed in and Spain has dialed in. I see people from the East coast and lots of us in the Midwest, et cetera. So great. Great to have you all here. So Sean Lally is the name of my guest on Coffee at 11 this morning. Business name is Hotel Woodstock in Ennis, County Clare. What does your business do? “It’s a hotel.” How long has it established? “We moved here in November 2016.” How many employees? “80 full- and part-time employees before we closed.”
And then in 2016, himself and Elaine ‘upped shticks’ and went out to Ennis to live the dream. We’re going to hear about that. And he’s a huge GAA and Munster Rugby fan. And wait till you hear this, lads? Right. This is the first and perhaps the last on The Coffee at Eleven Show. Something nobody knows about Sean: “I took my wife’s wedding booking when I was a duty manager in a hotel, when she was engaged to someone else.” Right? “And I ended up getting married to her in the same hotel six years later.”
I’m not sure if there’s something wrong with that or something beautiful with that? Just fantastic, fairytale.
Sean Lally: It’s called customer service, Colm.
Yours Truly: Sean, it’s called going the extra mile and only you could do it. So Sean Lally, a great pleasure having you on.
Sean Lally: To this day, I still of the impression that most important room in hotel is the hotel reception or lobby, because you get people on arrival or you get them on departure. And it just is key in terms of functions or events or people that are arriving or whatever. If you meet them arrival, and they meet the owner or whatever, I think they feel your sorted in a lot cases. So then moved back to the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis, lovely hotel, brilliant town. So, again, spend been a brilliant time there, and as well as the highlight of meeting my wife…I think she joined.
Yours Truly: Elaine, it’s lovely to see you. You’re very welcome. No, we’ll bring Elaine in when she’s ready.
Sean Lally: I ended up in Ennis anyway, so …
Yours Truly: And I think this is where it gets personal.
Sean Lally: Interesting. Yeah. So I was duty manager one evening. These two girls … these two sisters and their mother … came in to book a wedding. So took the – did the show around and you’re trained with Forte, get the booking, get the booking. So I got the booking, didn’t get the deposit. And I found that girl was engaged. She was living in London, moving home, working in a local hotel and, just in that process. So I followed up a few weeks later when I noticed there was was no deposit, and she told me the wedding was off. It wasn’t going ahead, so that was a conversation stopper.
So, a few weeks later, I was out at a gig at the West County, where this girl was working, as well. And there she is now.
Elaine Lally: Can you hear me?
Sean Lally: I can hear you anyway.
Elaine Lally: Everybody can hear me? Okay, Sean, continue with your lies.
Sean Lally: So I met her at The Wolfe Tones, ended up hitting off with her that night in the old-fashioned terms, called the shift, and then I went to the UK, eventually came back home to Ireland, and was set up on a blind date by somebody else when I was down in The Imperial in Cork.
Elaine Lally: And what about I stood you up for three times? I-
Sean Lally: Darling, you wouldn’t be here today if you’d-
Elaine Lally: You made the date three times. You made the date three times.
Sean Lally: You wouldn’t be here today I can tell you if you’d stood me up three times.
Yours Truly: (trying to restore order) Mrs. Lally, Mrs Lally, Mrs. Lally, Mr. Lally, Mrs. Lally, Mr. Lally. We do the cross-examination in about 30 seconds. Stay where you are one second. Mr. Lally, you’re back in the dock.
Sean Lally: I’m back in. Yeah. So I went to The Wolfe Tones, West County, hit it off with here that night. Ended up then going to the UK, back to the UK. Ended up in The Imperial in Cork. The blind date was set up. Went to the blind date, and so it was Elaine, and, sure she fell madly in love with me. It was the night Michelle Smith won her second gold medal, and I ended up getting married with her in the same hotel, in the Old Ground. There’s about six years in between this. So that’s my story. She’ll tell you that she stood me up and everything.
Yours Truly: Let us start by both giving you a round of applause for that fairy tale. Fairy tale in Ennis, which is wonderful. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Lally. We’re going to go to the cross-examination.
Elaine Lally: Okay. He’s he’s right. I was engaged to somebody else, and my mum hated him, absolutely hated him. And I was living in London, and she did everything. Everything in her power. So she used to bring me home for weekends. Anyway, so she decided reverse psychology. So we did go into the Old Ground, and we did … I asked to see the duty manager, and the duty manager was Sean.
Now, at that stage, he was young, impressionable, and he used to talk down through his nose, and he still does so I had no interest in him, but I could see him eyeing up my sister. So anyway, time passed, the engagement broke, and I came back to Ireland, and I was working for Lynch Hotels in the West County in Ennis. And the girls said to me, “Oh, Elaine. There’s a call for you, and a Sean Lally from Old Ground.” So anyway, I answered, “Hello, how are you?” And I thought it was to do with work. And he said, “Hi, Sean Lally here at Old Ground Hotel. I took your wedding booking, but I never got your deposit.” And I went, “It’s off,” and hung up the phone. So that night, Wolfe Tones were on. He’s right there. So we did hit it off that night, I’d say, aided by a lot of alcohol on my part hahaha, I’m joking.
So then what happened was I stood him up three times. I had NO interest in him. I thought he was a very pompous, none whatso- Anyway, I was seeing somebody else. And, in the end, anyway, about three years later, I said to one of my friends, “I want someone I can roll out for family weddings and just to have someone there to roll out and that kind of thing.” So she set up this blind date, and I ended up with him, and I’m regretting it ever since. No, I’m not. hahaha.
Yours Truly: Elaine, that is just wonderful, right? We’re not going to get into he said/she said, so we’re going to accept that there are two versions of the same story, but they both led to bliss. So we’ll just go with that.
Sean Lally: And the truth is in the middle. She doesn’t allow me to do wedding show arounds any more, Colm, just in case history repeats itself.
Watch the full interview here: https://youtu.be/PEW230NLBbU
Connect with Sean here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sean-lally-944417140/
Check out Hotel Woodstock here: https://www.hotelwoodstock.ie/
Come back next week for another installment of “We were there when…” from a guest who had Coffee with Colm on The Coffee at Eleven Show, brought to you by WIG-WAM – Business Coaching