LIFE at Blairscove will never be the same following the passing of Philippe De Mey on Thursday, March 18th.
They were the words expressed by his daughter, Ann Woodward who, together with her husband, is now running the popular restaurant in Durrus.
She said: ‘We believe he held on to begin the day with us on what would have been the first day of our 40th season.’
Traditionally, the restaurant opens on the first Thursday after St Patrick’s Day, but, this year, it will only open when the Covid-19 restrictions allow.
Philippe (69) was ill for a short time and was brave and dignified until the end.
‘He was loved by absolutely everyone,’ said Ann. And he will be greatly missed by his wife, Sabine, his son David, friends, and all the staff at Blairscove.
The Belgian met his German wife when they attended a hotel college in Switzerland. In 1980, they moved to West Cork, and the following year they opened Blairscove.
‘A true gentleman’ was how most people described Philippe in online tributes, because everything about him in business – and in life – was warm, hospitable and gracious.
Blairscove helped to put the Sheep’s Head peninsula on the tourism map and, for decades, Philippe was the smiling face that greeted people on arrival.
‘He was such a charming gentleman, which made the experience there very special. He has left a wonderful legacy,’ said another friend.
One hotel patron noted: ‘We spent the first night of our honeymoon in Blairscove over 30 years ago. On hearing this, Phillipe gave us a bottle of champagne, on the house, which we have always fondly remembered.’