5 Mins with...Alice McGill, our Food & Beverage and Retail Team Member
We grabbed a cuppa with our Food & Beverage and Retail Team Member, Alice to have a chat about her time at Carrick-a-Rede as part of our #PeopleBehindtheBridge. We want to share the amazing staff members behind the scenes that play a crucial part in welcoming all thousands of visitors every year.
Q.1 Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m originally from Pennsylvania in the US but I’ve lived in Northern Ireland for 20 years after meeting my husband who is from the local area. I love it here – it feels like home now. It’s funny because the Causeway Coast was somewhere I always wanted to visit. I remember seeing photos of the coastline and the stones at the Giant’s Causeway when I was a little girl and hoping I would one day visit. It’s amazing that this is now my home.
Q.2 How did you end up working at Carrick-a-Rede?
I started in a temporary part-time position and instantly knew this was somewhere I’d like to work full-time. I loved the energy at the site, especially during the summer, so when a permanent position became available, I jumped at the chance. My values are very similar to those of the National Trust - I care a lot about the environment and conservation - so I feel that working here is a great fit for me. I love being surrounded by nature every day.
Q.3 What’s your favourite part of working here?
Meeting people from all over the world! Working at Carrick-a-Rede gives me the opportunity to learn about different cultures, history and languages. It’s amazing speaking to such a variety of people every day.
I love when family and friends come to visit me, and I can show them around the site. A lot of my friends from the US watch Game of Thrones, so it’s really cool being able to show them the filming locations at Larrybane. Everyone who visits says they would love to stay because of the beautiful scenery we’re so lucky to have.
Q.4 Why is the National Trust important to you?
For me it is central to my sense of community. Because I am not originally from here, working at Carrick-a-Rede has given me a unique connection to the area.
But I really believe the work the National Trust does is important for all of us, especially protecting places like Carrick-a-Rede so that they can be enjoyed by people in the future. The work the National Trust does in protecting the environment, the wildlife at the sites and the beauty of this part of the world is so important. These are unique places and while daily life seems to become busier and more stressful it is these pockets of nature that help reconnect you to your roots.
Q.5 Do you have any special memories from your time working here?
When The Open came to the Causeway Coast this summer Carrick-a-Rede was buzzing and there was an amazing atmosphere. People were travelling from far and wide to visit the area. They came for the golf but the energy spilled out across the region and we definitely felt the excitement here. That was a personal highlight for me!
Of course, there are always a range of people from different places and backgrounds arriving at the site every day. I notice the different accents and languages as I take peoples’ orders and serve them in the tea-room. But the visitors during the week of The Open were even more diverse and had lots of interesting stories to share. It was a lot of fun working somewhere that was on the world stage!
Q.6 Did you welcome any famous faces during the summer?
Yes, celebrity chefs Paul Rankin and James Martin paid us a visit during the summer. I love that this part of Northern Ireland is recognised for amazing local food and drink! However, they didn’t have time to stop into the Weighbridge Tea Room to try a piece of our new Gin and Lime sponge cake – perhaps next time eh?
We have our own celebrity here, Diane who is a Visitor Experience Officer was an extra on Game of Thrones! My friends who visit from the US love to meet her and hear all her stories from working on the set.