Jackson's Hotel was purchased by Tommy Gallen, his wife Bridget and their family in 2016 and this is their story.
Tommy Gallen is the owner of three of Donegal’s most popular hospitality businesses; the Villa Rose; Jackson’s and An Chuirt Hotels. Hotels were not however Tommy’s first business, nor did they run in the family. After leaving school at 15, Tommy pursued a motor mechanic apprenticeship and a few years later opened his own garage.
Tommy’s first endeavour with hospitality began in 1992 with the opening of Roseville House, Bed & Breakfast on Glenfin Street in Ballybofey. Initially comprised of just six bedrooms, it soon grew to an eighteen-bedroom guesthouse and paved the way for everything else that was to come.
Over the next few years Tommy could see an opening for another hotel in Ballybofey. He secured a site on Ballybofey’s Main Street where now stands the Villa Rose Hotel & Spa. Once it opened, Tommy realised almost straight away that it was much too small. After turning away more business than he cares to remember Tommy set about a plan to expand once again.
Not only did Tommy know there was need to increase his hotel capacity, he saw a gap in the market in a number of areas and particular the gap in the market for a destination spa hotel. In 2006 he added a major extension including two floors of bedrooms, function suites and one of Donegal’s first Spa facilities featuring seven treatment rooms and a purpose built Thermal Suite.
The next ten years were spent working hard and building the reputation as a leading independently owned hotel and more importantly on building a team of staff. During the first few years Tommy worked extremely long hours to get the business off the ground. He washed the breakfast dishes in the morning, went to the garage during the day, worked the Bar in the evenings and finished up as night porter on the late shift. As the Villa Rose grew, Tommy knew he had to grow the team of staff around him. He empowered his staff to use their initiative and to get creative with new ideas on how to grow the business. Promoting from within and rewarding enthusiasm and hard work was at the core of Tommy’s management style.
Fast forward to 2016, Jackson’s Hotel came on the market and by this time Tommy had gained the knowledge and experience necessary to add a second hotel to his offering. He relished the challenge of taking on such a vast property and the potential that came with it.
In 2021 Tommy realised his lifelong dream of owning three hotels – this was made possible by the addition of An Chuirt located in the heart of the Donegal Gaeltacht. The opportunity to add this hotel to the collection given its breathtaking location in Gweedore was one that he could not pass up. Together with the help of his family Tommy owns and runs 3 hotels in what is now known as Gallen Hospitality.
With over 250 employees today Tommy enjoys being in the position to employ so many people from his local community and to help with local charities and sponsorships and to give something back.
The Gallen Family hope you will join them as they embark on the next part of their journey.