Sunday 1st March 2015 was definitely a memorable event. Everybody was celebrating Ireland defeating England in the Six Nations rugby match 19-9. Well, everybody except me. I was too busy to celebrate. I was too busy, working behind the scenes in the Aviva Stadium where the match was taking place.
Arriving at the Aviva, you collect your job-card, get changed into your uniform (white shirt, dark green tie, black trousers and hideous green-and-grey apron) and line up to collect your lunch bag and leave your things with staff. The head staff divides you all up into different areas of the stadium; in my case, I was in the President’s suite that has an 800+ capacity.
Thankfully, on Sunday, we didn’t have over 800 guests- I’d say only around 300-400 people dined with us in the suite. The President himself didn’t turn up, but we didn’t have time to be disappointed. We had to get ourselves ready to serve the lunch, and clear the tables, when they were finished eating.
At last, after about two-and-a-half hours of serving salads, clearing dessert dishes and dropping knives, it was time to start stripping the room down for the after-match drinks. Eventually, after lugging tray after tray of glasses into the kitchen (and suffering a few squashed toes, while rolling the tables into the storage area), we were ready for the after-match drinks.
Soon, very happy Irish fans started making their way back inside for celebratory drinks. I and two other girls spent another hour pouring tea and coffee for customers, keeping a smile on my face as they came inside in their dozens. Several people informed us that Irish actor, Jamie Dornan (aka Christian Grey) was among them. My reaction? ‘Oh my God.’ Unfortunately, Aviva staff are not allowed to take photos – we were taught to keep our heads down and continue working. Still, just actually seeing Mr Grey himself was good enough for me.
Working at the Aviva is definitely no picnic- sometimes you wonder if the day would ever end. But, in my opinion, as long as you keep your head up and keep going, it’ll be worth it in the end- and €10 an hour is definitely not something to be laughed at!
By Eidhne Gallagher