Castle Grove Country House owner Mary T Sweeney has been named as Ireland’s Host of the Year at the 2020 Georgina Campbell Awards.

Mrs Sweeney, who has been in business with her husband Raymond for 30 years at Castle Grove, was yesterday recognised as the most hospitable hotelier in the country.

The Georgina Campbell Awards are a prestigious recognition for leaders in the food and hospitality industry.

Mary T Sweeney wins host of the Year at the Georgina Campbell Irish Food & Hospitality Awards 2020, held in The InterContinental Hotel, Dublin September 2019. Photographer – Paul Sherwood.

Ms Campbell described Mary T as a “very special person” and wrote about her iconic role at the Blue Book hotel outside Letterkenny:

“Parkland designed by “Capability” Brown in the mid-18th century creates a wonderful setting for Raymond and Mary Sweeney’s beautiful period house overlooking Lough Swilly. 

“A reputation for promoting the good food of the area and produce from their own gardens has attracted many a food lover to this hospitable Blue Book property – and, with daughters Karoline and Irene now on the management team, there’s a youthful new dimension to the business. 

“But fortunately that doesn’t deprive guests of the company of Mary Sweeney who – with a keen interest in just about everything, and exhaustive local knowledge – makes Castle Grove a number one choice for many when visiting Donegal. 

“Mary has the gift of making every guest feel special and at home – and, sensing where their interests lie, nothing is too much trouble when it comes to advising on how to spend their time most happily when exploring Donegal.”

Castle Grove are celebrating their 30th year in business in 2019, while this is not the first individual award for Mrs Sweeney, who earned the Hall of Fame Award at the Letterkenny Business Awards in 2017.

The hotel has also won the “Hall of Fame Excellence Award” nine years in a row from TripAdvisor and was named in the “Top 25 Small Hotels of Ireland 2018” by the travel review site.