The Muckross Park Hotel was originally built in 1795, at the turn of the century as was originally called The Herbert Arms. It comprised of the local public house and four to six bedrooms where guests stayed. The original building housed a thatched roof which was a popular building style in those times. It was an exciting time for the local community as it brought prosperity and employment to the rural village.
The existing section of the building today is home to the well loved 1795 Bar and to our Historic Suites.
THE HERBERT FAMILY
The Herbert Arms Hotel was established by the Herbert family and was run as a family business as part of the original Muckross House Estate. The Herbert Family were the owners and cultivators of the Muckross Estate from the late 1800's to the dawning of the new century.
THE ROCHE FAMILY
By the turn of the century fortunes changed for the Herbert family and they decided to sell the Herbert Arms hotel to The Roche family of Pigs Lane, Killarney. The former Herbert Arms Hotel then became Roches Hotel. The Roche family were successful business people in Killarney and also were the proprietors of the Torc Hotel in the town. Roche's Hotel stayed in operation and ran as a family business for 10 -15 years. When the Roche's retired, the hotel was sold on to the Ross family and their other hotel, the Torc Hotel was renovated into a convent to house the Loreto Order. The Roche family are buried in the graveyard of Muckross Abbey all except for one. Mr. Roche requested he be buried in the gardens of the hotel and his grave now rests 20 feet from the boundary wall.
Muckross Park Hotel 1938
THE ROSS FAMILY
The Ross family came to Killarney to work for the Herbert family as gamekeepers. The Ross family kept the hotel under their ownership for over 50 years. Mrs. Ross was previously the manageress in the Parknasilla Great Southern Hotel. She married Jackie Ross and together they bought the Roches' Hotel.
The family were extremely interested in the preservation and conservation aspects of the Muckross area and led a campaign to close the Old Kenmare Road, formerly known as the GlenRourke Road to allow natural development and growth in the park. They chose the Old Kenmare Road for the Herbert family as an area to create a deer forest. It has often been said that the greatest asset Killarney has, aside from her natural beauty of the surrounding mountains and lakes, is the deer population.
The deer population has been in Killarney since the Ice Age and comprises of two breeds. The Japanese Sika Deer and the Red Deer. Both breeds up to today have interbred and today produce beautiful variations of the species.
There was another hotel in Muckross Village at this time, called the O'Sullivan's Hotel. It was owned by Mr &Mrs Cronin from Killarney. Mr Cronin died in 1918 and is buried in Killegy, Muckross which left Mrs. Cronin a widow and upon his death she became the sole owner of the 14 bedroom hotel. When she died in 1940, it was sold to Mrs Ross, owner of Roche's Hotel.
THE MERGING OF O'SULLIVAN'S HOTEL & ROCHES HOTEL 1948
In the following five years the merging of O'Sullivan's Hotel and Roches Hotel created the unified property which today is known as the Muckross Park Hotel. In 1947 both properties were sold to the Murphy's of Dublin and they decided to join both properties together. The joined properties became the complete estate as we know it today.
The hotel was to change hands again to Major Colligan who after a short period of time sold it on to the Fuller family. The Fuller family bought the hotel in the 1970's and owned the hotel up until 1988 when it was purchased by Ms. Jackie Lavin and her partner Mr. Bill Cullen.
Muckross Park Hotel 1875
THE MUCKROSS PARK HOTEL & CLOISTERS SPA OF TODAY
During their ownership of the hotel between 1988 until 2013, Bill Cullen & Jackie Lavin renovated and extended the property. The hotel interior was refurbished in keeping with the original era and a new extension was added. The new extension added is widely known today as the Award Winning Molly Darcy's Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant. It was named "Molly Darcy's" in memory of Bill's maternal grandmother. It has been the recipient of many awards and accolades down through the years.
The story of Molly Darcy and her incredible life has been widely documented in the International Bestselling autobiography of Bill Cullen "It's a Long Way from Penny Apples".
In 2006 the hotel finished a refurbishment programme and the Hotel now comprises of 68 luxurious bedrooms and suites, full conference centre and the monastic inspired Cloisters Spa. In March 2007 the hotel was awarded 5 star accreditation from Failte Ireland.
The Hotel complex is now managed by Sean O'Driscoll. Sean is an experienced Killarney Hotelier, having previously been General Manager at The Brehon Hotel in Killarney from 2004-2011.
Famous guests to the hotel include George Bernard Shaw, Daniel O'Connell & Michael Collins.
Muckross Park Hotel 1875