Shelbourne introduces 'genealogy butler'


The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin has launched an innovative new service for guests hoping to reconnect with their Irish roots - a genealogy butler.

The hotel's newest butler will follow the time-honoured tradition of classic butlers such as Jeeves and co by providing a top quality personal service - though it won't be of the tea and coffee variety.

Instead, professional genealogist Helen Kelly will deliver a tailored research plan to guests who want to combine their holiday with the opportunity to learn more about their Irish ancestry.

The first step for those wishing to avail of the service will be to fill out an online assessment form. Ms Kelly will then be able to begin researching for them.

During their stay, guests will receive a one-hour advisory session with the genealogist, which it is hoped will equip them to follow the "goose-bump trail" of walking in their ancestors' footsteps.

"I know the kind of requests tourists make and the Shelbourne is an excellent location to provide this sort of service. The National Library, where guests can look up information in its archives, is just a 10-minute walk away," she said.

"This new service is really hitting the essence of Irish hospitality. It is a 24/7 service which extends the hand of friendship to guests who otherwise might have no idea where to look for clues into their family's past.

"I get a great buzz from talking to descendents of Irish diaspora," Ms Kelly added.

"It is amazing when you focus in on another person's family history to such a degree because you realise how personal and special a person's name is to them."

Ms Kelly said she admired the hotel for taking the step and for "enhancing hospitality in this way".