A hotel concierge who has been welcoming royals, presidents and rock stars to Belfast for 40 years has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM).
Martin Mulholland, the head concierge of the Europa Hotel in Belfast, has been awarded the honour as part of the King’s Birthday Honours list.
“I got a letter at home and my wife rang me and said there was a very official looking letter so I rushed home and there it was, it was a surprise, a big big surprise,” he said.
Mr Mulholland said he had met King Charles on several occasions prior to his coronation, as well as an array of senior political figures.
“(I’ve met the then) Prince Charles on quite a few occasions and various members of the royal family, and also the presidents of the United States are regular visitors as well. So, yes, we’re quite used to that,” he said.
He added: “He (The King) actually came to officially open our new hotel, the Grand Central Hotel. So that’s the last time we met and he always has a minute for everyone.
“He’s very good, very good people person.”
Mr Mulholland said the BEM was a recognition of his 40 years of service to world dignitaries visiting Belfast.
“I’m in my 40th year here at the Europa, so it’s nice to be recognised for what you do,” he said.
“I love doing what I do, it’s not really a job as such, but don’t tell anyone that.”
Music stars such as Radiohead, U2, Rod Stewart and Bob Dylan have all stayed at the Europa with Mr Mulholland also famously having to call an ambulance for the Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain who was staying in the hotel after the band’s show at The King’s Hall.
The visit that Mr Mulholland said was a highlight of his 40 years was president Bill Clinton’s three-day trip to Belfast in 1995.
“Of course, it has to be the Clinton visit in 95 when he was here as president of the United States, that was massive.
“A massive time for Belfast and Northern Ireland, but a massive time for the Europa as well. So fond memories of that.
“And then, of course, we were able to revisit our photograph just a few weeks back again, when president Clinton was back in the hotel, so we did the photograph, again, with a 28-year gap between it, so it was a nice moment.”