Love is in the air across Donegal this week, but it seems that Cupid has had a permanent residence at Harvey's Point.
Harvey’s Point Hotel has been a favourite lovers’ retreat for decades as the picturesque setting on the shores of Lough Eske has provided a special place for love to flourish.
Hotelier Deirdre McGlone, who has her own romantic story from the residence, took the opportunity this week to share tales of love from Harvey’s. She wrote an affectionate blog post on HarveysPoint.com to highlight the Happy Couples at Harvey’s Point.
There are more than a few couples who began their lives together while working at the hotel. Here are some of their most heart-warming stories:
Two mute swans have provided a wonderful idyllic scene for couples visiting Harvey’s while walking around the grounds or gazing out on the waters of Lough Eske. Deirdre counts the two creatures who are mated for life among the lasting couples of the hotel. They are now great-great grandparents with more than 100 offspring.
“In the early years, they had cygnets almost on an annual basis but recently, it’s just the two of them, gracefully swimming side by side in perfect harmony with nature and each other,” she writes.
Deirdre found her love at Harvey’s Point almost 30 years ago and shared the story of how she and her husband Marc met. Deirdre first set eyes on the Swiss-born chef the very year that Harvey’s opened in 1989. They now live in “The Cosy Spot” near the hotel with their three children: Carl, James and Christina. Deirdre recounted a lovely story of the beginnings of their romance:
“His English was minimal and he was quite shy but somehow conversation flowed (nothing to do with the Guinness of course). The romantic part started after a night out in Donegal Town with the staff (all twelve of us). Later, back at Harvey’s Point, Marc and I sneaked into the kitchen and he made the most delicious scrambled eggs. I’m not saying it was ‘love at first bite’ but I can still remember the taste. We chatted for hours, sitting on the kitchen bench and as it was soon the dawn of a fine summer’s day, we decided to go horse-riding up into the Bluestack Mountains. The romantic music in my head stopped when Marc said I had ‘sleep’ in my eyes!”
…Years passed, happily living and working together, and then we were married on Valentine’s Day 1996. It was indeed a special day shared with family and friends. And Marc hasn’t once forgotten our wedding anniversary.”
Harvey’s Point founder Jody Gysling (Marc’s brother) and his wife Renate are another couple featured in the article. The Swiss pair live beside the hotel while their love story continues to grow.
“They live in a beautiful house that Jody built, overlooking Lough Eske. Jody is a man of great Vision, who keeps hatching plans to further enhance Harvey’s Point.
…Renate takes care of Jody and she also looks after the well-being of the cats and wildlife that make up the Harvey’s Point extended family,” Deirdre said.
Other couples working at Harvey’s found their romances blooming in the servery and went on to get married in the hotel. There is one upcoming wedding to be celebrated between Orhan, the Restaurant Manager and Sommelier and Tatjana, a member of the restaurant staff.
Deridre also fondly remembers the wedding day of her niece Sara and her love Chris, who are both members of the Harvey’s Point senior management team.
Their first encounter was a sweet one as it was in the pastry kitchen where they first met, over eight years ago. I don’t know what Sara put in the cake mix but it worked. They have been together ever since! In 2012, they had their wedding reception at Harvey’s Point. They arrived in a horse-drawn carriage and were welcomed by a guard of honour, with chefs and their pots and pans, etc. What a party that followed!
It’s clear that the Swiss-Irish connections of Harvey’s have brought about many legendary romances, which also include Nicole and Roger. Nicole worked as a nanny to Deirdre and Marc’s children while Roger worked in the sales department of the hotel. The Swiss couple were certainly sold on Donegal too, and have influenced Nicole’s parents to make their move to the county.
“Childhood sweethearts, they have been together for eighteen years,” Deirdre said.
The sweet stories serve as a heart-warming tribute to a hotel which has a special place in the hearts of many visitors who warmly remember engagements, weddings and events here.
The lasting loves from Harvey’s Point are just a selection of beautiful tales from Donegal, if you have a lovely romance story from our county, let us know!