Liam Neeson books into hotels under the name Michael Collins

Hollywood star Liam Neeson uses the name of Irish Republican leader Michael Collins when checking into hotels, a new BBC show has revealed.

iam played the head of the IRA in the 1996 biopic Michael Collins, which was nominated for two Oscars, broke box office records and grossed over £17.5million in cinemas. Collins was shot dead 100 years ago during an ambush by anti-Treaty forces in Co Cork during the Irish Civil War.

It is revealed in this week’s episode of the documentary series The Hotel People that he takes Collins’ name when he checks in at the Culloden Estate and Spa in Holywood, Co Down.

On the show, the Taken star, 70, said he wasn’t able to hack it years ago as a bartender, so he has great admiration for hospitality workers.

“As a young adult, I was bartendering for maybe three days and I literally couldn’t handle it,” he admits.

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“Mainly because I would take an order, say someone asks for two gin and tonics, a pint of beer and this and that, I try to calculate that in my head and as I leave that group they would say : “Oh, forget the gin and tonic, make a vodka out of it instead”. It was like ‘argh!’.

“I couldn’t handle the calculations, so I have every respect for everyone who works in the hospitality industry, and I really mean that.”

The Hotel People is a behind-the-scenes series about Hastings hotels, which operate the Grand Central, Stormont and Europa hotels in Belfast, the Everglades in Derry, the Ballygally in Co Antrim and the Culloden.

The six-part follows the fortunes of the group as they try to rebuild from the pandemic, with the top actor making his cameo in episode six, which is due to air tomorrow night.

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Elsewhere in the episode, staff at the Culloden are shown ensuring the movie star has all of his conveniences at hand, including an exercise bike in his room and his favorite meal of champ and black pudding with wheat buns.

He tells the programme: “My favorite food when I come back is an Irish potato and apparently – I only learned this a few months ago – someone told me there were 300 varieties of potatoes in Ireland. I never knew that.

“The Irish potatoes, especially the champion, are home cooking, it’s like ‘Yes!’. It’s a bit like coming home when I’m here.

“In fact, when I arrived, one of the employees said to me, ‘Welcome home, Mr. Neeson.’ And I just said, ‘Thank you’.”

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Also seen in the episode are staff at the Europa preparing the hotel for a boxing match and the Miss Northern Ireland beauty pageant over the course of two days.

A host of beauty queens star in the episode, including pioneering West Belfast amputee Bernadette Hagans and eventual winner, Lisburn teacher Anna Leitch.

Earlier this month, during the third episode of The Hotel People, viewers were stunned when guests at a wedding wreaked havoc at Culloden.

The wedding party arrived at the hotel and onlookers were told how they had caused disturbances throughout the grounds, destroying parts of it and covering it with rubbish, including cigarette butts. Employees were also shouted at and insulted.

■ The sixth episode of The Hotel People airs Monday evenings at 11.10pm on BBC One Northern Ireland

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