Hugo’s : Celebrating Excellence in Irish Hospitality

Gina Murphy, a prominent figure in Dublin’s culinary scene, is the dynamic force behind Hugo’s Restaurant at 6 Merrion Row, Dublin 2. Known for its warm atmosphere, exceptional food and Murphy’s personal touch, Hugo’s has garnered a loyal following over the years.

Gina Murphy

Murphy’s early exposure to the hospitality industry at her family’s hotel in Ballina, Co Mayo, instilled a deep appreciation for service and a passion for the culinary arts. She pursued formal training in hotel management at the former Dublin Institute of Technology on Cathal Brugha street, a pivotal step that equipped her with the skills and knowledge to excel in the competitive restaurant industry. Murphy further honed her skills in France, Austria and the US before returning to Ireland in the late 1990s. Her education continues, having earned two post-graduate diplomas (one during the pandemic), and is currently completing her masters in international hospitality management.

Murphy’s expertise and dedication have been instrumental in establishing Hugo’s as a premier dining destination in Dublin and its 17th birthday this August is a testament to its success. The menu celebrates fresh Irish produce, with a commitment to local sourcing that supports the community. The restaurant’s ambiance is another critical element, featuring a charming, elegant interior with a welcoming atmosphere. Murphy’s influence is evident in the small details, from the curated wine list to the tasteful décor. Her clients range from high-end corporates to visiting rock stars.

Commitment to Hospitality

Beyond her success with Hugo’s, Murphy has been a staunch advocate for the hospitality and restaurant industry, particularly during the pandemic. She played a significant role in the addition of outdoor dining in the city centre, securing funding for coordinated outdoor dining facilities for all establishments on Merrion Row. She continues to work closely with local authorities and industry bodies, and remains firm in her desire to have the street pedestrianised.

She recalls the pandemic and the following 18 months: “It was a horrendous and most excruciating time for our trade, particularly SMEs, many of which are family-run businesses. The hospitality industry is still recovering.” Murphy highlights the importance of informed decision-making in the industry: “I just want people to understand how things affect us.”

Murphy is also chair of Tourist SOS, a free service assisting visitors to Ireland who become victims of crime or medical incidents. With offices in Pearse Street and O’Connell Street Garda stations, as well as a website, the service helped over 1,300 visitors last year and exemplifies Murphy’s commitment to hospitality. She also sits on the advisory committee to the board of Kylemore Abbey and has promoted Kylemore in the US. Murphy previously served as a board member of Fáilte Ireland and is a past president of the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

Gina Murphy’s impact on the service industry has been profound. Her blend of business savvy, passion for hospitality and dedication to quality has created a beloved establishment that continues to thrive. Hugo’s reflects Murphy’s values and vision, offering an exceptional dining experience that celebrates Irish cuisine and hospitality. Her contributions extend beyond the restaurant, positively impacting the community and the broader hospitality industry.

6 Merrion Row, Dublin 2, D02 T657.
Tel: 01 6765955