5 Minutes With Virginia Fortune


What began as a two-week work-trial, Virgina Fortune successfully cultivated into a career spanning three decades. Now acting as General Manager at the 1878 Club and The Premium Club at The 3Arena, this rock and roll enthusiast and one of Dublin’s hospitality icons tell us a bit more about her…

I was brought up in Greystones in a large family; there were seven of us and we lived in the maddest house. I had a lovely childhood by the sea with no Facebook or other tech distractions as there are now. The world is completely different now, though: when we were growing up, there was no huge pressure like there is today. Horses were my passion, but when you get into boys, things like horses just fell off the scene.

I started working when I was 17. I went into ‘the real world’ and I haven’t been out of it since. I never went to college, which I regret. Being educated gives you a much better feeling. I think I probably would go back: I’d like to study child psychology or become a teacher.

It was full-on in the 90’s. Things just had to be done. You weren’t thinking of where you were going. Anything I’ve done I’ve never been shown how to do; I just had to learn how to do it and get going.

I hate the word VIP. I don’t think of them as that. Yes, Bono comes in, as does The Edge and Colin Farrell. The last Adele show was crazy and it was probably the busiest we’ve ever been. There were tables and guests everywhere and next thing I get a call that we have these guys coming in, and we have to accommodate them, but I had nowhere to put them! We have what we call our ‘Hail Mary tables’ for guests that come in at the last minute.

You hear of a lot of eye-roll worthy requests from celebrities. Entire dressing rooms draped in white, big bars being built in the parking lot, private bar areas that aren’t used. It tends to be a total waste of money.

I hopped into the lift and Jay-Z was in it. I didn’t actually know that it was him at first. I was just aware of this massive dark guy standing behind me, and next of all I hear “Hello Red”, I turned around, and I’m afraid to say that the only thing I could think of saying back to that was “Hello Black”. He said “Oh my God, that’s so politically incorrect!” but we laughed it off! When you’re working you can’t really get star-struck – you just get on with it.

I’ve learned how to balance work and play a lot better and have more ‘me’ time now. I’ve run myself into the ground in the past, and it’s not good. Sometimes you’re on such a buzz leaving here that you get home, and you find that you’re just not tired – you’re energised. Before you know it, you’ve wasted 4 hours binging on Netflix, and it’s 3am, and you’re up again in 3 hours.

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