Architecturally important Cashel Palace hotel expected to be sold

Tipperary hotel closed with loss of 32 full- and part-time jobs in early December

The 20-bed hotel built was for the early 18th-century Protestant archbishop of Cashel, Theophilus Bolton, by  architect Sir Edward Lovett Pearse, who also designed the Houses of Parliament (now Bank of Ireland) in Dublin’s College Green

The 20-bed hotel built was for the early 18th-century Protestant archbishop of Cashel, Theophilus Bolton, by architect Sir Edward Lovett Pearse, who also designed the Houses of Parliament (now Bank of Ireland) in Dublin’s College Green

 

One of Ireland’s architecturally most important hotels is expected to go on the market following its sudden closure last month. The Cashel Palace Hotel, owned by Patrick and Susan Murphy, closed with the loss of 32 full- and part-time jobs in early December. Its closure and uncertain fate puts at risk one of Co Tipperary’s most significant historical buildings.

The 20-bedroom hotel is housed in a distinctive red-brick Queen Anne-style building dating from 1730. It was built for the early 18th-century Protestant archbishop of Cashel, Theophilus Bolton, by the architect Sir Edward Lovett Pearse, who also designed the Houses of Parliament (now Bank of Ireland) in Dublin’s College Green. The interior features original wood panelling and an early Georgian “red pine” staircase with banisters carved in the “barley sugar” style.

Guests at the hotel, located in the centre of the town at the foot of the Rock of Cashel, had access to the renowned ecclesiastical site via a private walkway. The hotel’s walled garden contains Ireland’s reputedly oldest mulberry trees and descendants of the original hop plants used by Richard Guinis, an agent for the archbishop in the 1740s, to brew the first “Guinness”.

The Church of Ireland sold the palace in 1959 to Lord Brocket, an English millionaire who at the time owned Carton House, Co Kildare, Dublin’s Wicklow Hotel and Benners Hotel in Tralee. He opened the Cashel Palace as a luxury hotel in 1962.

The hotel attracted many distinguished guests. Veteran barman Denis Heffernan recalls serving customers including a 10-year-old Lady Diana Spencer (who later became the Princess of Wales), the California governor Ronald Reagan (who became US president) and Hollywood stars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

The hotel changed hands frequently in the 1990s and was briefly owned by a group of Davy Stockbrokers’ executives before it went into receivership in 1997. It was subsequently acquired by the current owners and refurbished.

The unexpected closure was evident this week when guests arriving at the hotel faced padlocked gates and a metal barrier blocking access to the car park. The hotel’s website, which is still online, has no mention of the closure.

One of the last reviews of the hotel, posted on TripAdvisor by an American guest “Thomas G” from North Carolina, presciently described the Cashel Palace Hotel as “Super great. Super quaint. Needs some fixing up.”