Diarmuid Ó Conghaile appointed Head of Dept, Galway International Hotel School


Press Office

Date Article Written: 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

GMIT is pleased to announce that Diarmuid Ó Conghaile has been appointed Head of the GMIT Department of Heritage & Tourism, Humanities, Applied Languages & Communications, succeeding Gerry O’Neill who retired in 2017.

Welcoming Mr Ó Conghaile to the GMIT Management Group, GMIT President Dr Fergal Barry, says: “I am delighted to welcome Diarmuid Ó Conghaile to the Institute’s senior management team where he will continue working with staff in the department and our stakeholders to further develop the School, its students, graduates and staff, and the region”.

Mr Ó Conghaile joined the Institute in 2013 as a lecturer in Food & Beverage Management, having spent many years at senior management level in the hospitality industry, both at home and abroad. Prior to joining the Institute, he worked as a senior member of the management team at the Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill.

A graduate of the Shannon College of Hotel Management and of the National University of Ireland Galway, Diarmuid has gained extensive operational experience in the hospitality industry in Ireland and Switzerland.  In recent years, he completed a Masters in International Tourism in the University of Limerick.  His studies brought him to Cuba on an exploratory field trip examining how tourism was and continues to change and shape the future of this unique Caribbean Island.  His postgraduate research focused specifically on sustainable tourism development for rural destinations, with a comprehensive study completed of the tourism industry on Inis Mór of the Aran Islands. His findings from the study have been presented to many industry stakeholders, highlighting the fragility of communities that rely heavily on tourism activity, and demonstrating the necessity of effective destination management to better serve the long term needs of the host community.

Since joining GMIT, Diarmuid has engaged with international universities in China and Spain, delivering modules in Tourism-related subjects to students of Nanchang University and the University of Valencia, respectively.  He has engaged in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities in the Institute, most notably in 2016 when he led a hugely successful charity event where students of the hotel school worked first-hand with renowned chef Michel Roux Jr to cook and serve a meal experience to 100 paying guests in Claregalway Castle.  In 2015, Diarmuid was a coach to the GMIT Cook & Serve team that won Gold at the national competition held as part of the bi-annual Catex Industry Expo.

Diarmuid is a native of Inis Mór, where, in his own words; “it is almost impossible not to be totally immersed in the active tourism industry on the island.  One can understand why tourists are continually drawn to a destination such as this, due to the beautiful landscape, flora and fauna, but especially by the unique heritage of the island, both tangible and intangible. Heritage, by its very nature, can only evolve only when a community is active, vibrant, and sustainable.  This must be recognised and therefore protected on a national level.”

“I look forward to further engagement with our stakeholders in the industry to ensure that our programme delivery is contemporary, practical, and applicable.  In recognition of the vital role our national heritage plays in our overall tourism product, I wish to strengthen the link between our areas of expertise in both tourism and heritage.  I will work with my colleagues to promote and strengthen the provision of languages across the Institute, recognising that the graduates of today, and tomorrow, are better served with the learning of additional languages.” 

“The tourism industry is a vital contributor to the national economy and provides more jobs in rural Ireland than any other industry in the wider Irish economy.  It is therefore vital that we in GMIT serve the needs our region by continually engaging with community, industry, and of course with prospective and current students of the institute.”

Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, new Head of Dept, Galway International Hotel School (GMIT).

Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, new Head of Dept, Galway International Hotel School (GMIT).

Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, new Head of Dept, Galway International Hotel School (GMIT).