The history of the house
Cahernane House Hotel History
What a journey it's been
When it all started
Cahernane House was built as the family residence of Henry
Herbert in 1877 at a cost of £5,992. The work was carried out by Collen Brothers Contractors. The original plans by architect James Franklin Fuller, whose portfolio included Ballyseedy Castle, Dromquinna Manor and the Parknasilla Hotel, was for a mansion three times the present size. One generation on, the Herbert family had fallen on hard times and the property was being utilised as a hotel.
Through The Ages
What a century for Cahernane
By the 1860s, Cahernane was in the hands of Henry Herbert. Appearances were of utmost importance to the families who ran the ‘Big Houses’ in Ireland and Cahernane was serviced by a large number of staff including horsemen, boatmen, gardeners, game-keepers and domestic staff. However when Henry married Catherine Stewart she was not at all happy with the house and particularly the sanitary arrangements; which at that time consisted of a row of outdoor ‘closets’ attended by a servant known as ‘Patsy the Bucket’. It’s not difficult to understand Catherine’s unease so in order to appease her, Henry had the original classic Queen Anne style house demolished in 1877 to make way for a more modern Victorian mansion – the house we welcome you to today.
Towards the end of the 1800’s Ireland was entering a turbulent period of her history. The Land League led by Charles Stewart Parnell had taken up the cause of Irish tenant farmers who had long suffered unfair treatment at the hands of their British landlords. In 1881 the British Government succumbed to the pressure and passed the Land Act which guaranteed fair rent, fixed tenure and freedom from sale thereby protecting the tenants but sounding the death knell for many of the large estates. Muckross Estate closed that same year.
Cahernane only fared slightly better and was passed on to Arthur Herbert in 1898 along with significant debts.
The Final Years
To where we are now
By 1914 Arthur had leased the house for use as a hotel. A 1939 brochure from The Polytechnic Touring Association offers a seven-night stay for £3!
The Herbert family continued their ownership of Cahernane House until the death of Christopher Reginald Courtney Herbert during the Second World War. The house was then sold to Vincent Albericci, a cafe owner from Cork City. However the family had held on to a small portion of land in the grounds and Gwendolen Herbert lived in the gardener’s cottage until her death in 1966 when over 200 years of Herbert history in Cahernane finally came to an end.
Where our story comes to a close
Today the hotel is operated by International Hotel Management Company PREM Group. The hotel has been lovingly revived and offers national and international guests a unique and experiential stay in a magical environment, rich with history and elegance.
To date PREM Group have invested a total renovation figure of €7.8 million. Our former ‘Coach House’ has become home to 8 new luxurious bedrooms while the elegant Drawing Room, overlooking Killarney National Park, The Library and The Atrium have all been completely re-imagined. We look forward to welcoming you to Cahernane and have you enjoy our enhanced and unique guest experience.