The Ballygarry Story…. So Far…
Ballygarry House was originally a family home, it has been owned and operated by the McGillicuddy family for over 50 years and our goal is to make you feel like family when visiting or staying in the hotel. The building dates back to the 18th century. The McGillicuddy family first became involved in the property in the 1950’s, when it was purchased by local businessman Gene McGillicuddy, Mick Allen and Ted Keane. It opened its doors for the first time as The Manhattan Hotel in 1958, after extensive redevelopment.
The Manhattan was a magical place, where friends and family gathered for weddings, birthdays, homecomings and parties, for dances, socials, concerts and every other kind of celebration imaginable. Since then, the hotel has become one of the best-loved venues in the country and has long been considered the centre of Kerry’s social scene.
Gene McGillicuddy’s son Owen returned in 1968 from training in Switzerland and throughout Ireland with the Great Southern Hotel group. A passionate and dedicated hotelier, he went on to create a hotel with one of the strongest reputations in Ireland. In 1982, the hotel returned to its roots and was renamed Ballygarry House. It has always been considered critical to retain the original spirit of Ballygarry House - that sense of being at home. The new hotel was built around the original features of the house, maintaining the traditions and characteristics that had always set us apart. Owen also oversaw a major redevelopment of the banqueting suite and supporting facilities in 1997, ensuring the business remained at the forefront of providing the best wedding and banqueting experience in Munster.
Owen’s son Padraig returned to assist in managing the hotel in 2000, also having trained in Switzerland and throughout Ireland. In 2003 Padraig proudly became the third McGillicuddy to assume the role and title of General Manager. He quickly set about adding his personal stamp – in 2006, he put Ballygarry through what would be its most major development to date. This included adding a block of bedrooms, doubling the surrounding lands for car parking spaces and new gardens, doubling the hotel’s kitchens and most significantly, adding Nádúr Spa, the first ever such facility in the Tralee area. Nádúr includes relaxation and treatment suites, hydrotherapy and thermal suites, hair and beauty salons, and an outdoor hot tub with breathtaking views over the Kerry Mountains.
Not one to stand still, Padraig continued to develop the hotel and it’s evolution since 1958 is quite extraordinary. In 2011, he oversaw the addition of The Pavilion, a multifunction venue overlooking the impressive landscaped gardens which has the capacity to serve as a beautiful drinks reception space or classical conference setting. In addition he developed The Sunset Terrace and The Courtyard creating the perfect party venue suitable for BBQ’s, buffet lunches and overall entertainment venue.
As the wedding business continued to grow at Ballygarry, Padraig instigated a major refurbishment of the Monarch Suite in 2015, the principal wedding and banqueting setting, once again ensuring that engaged couples were guaranteed a beautiful venue for their special day.
The latest project at Ballygarry House was completed in May of 2016, with the opening of The Brasserie, a new casual dining venue within the hotel. The Brasserie was designed to create a relaxed informal space but finished to reflect the high standard of the property, along with this the hotel bar was revamped and renamed, Owen Mac’s bar – a nod to the hotel’s history and family ties.
Many of these developments at Ballygarry have also been guided by McGillicuddy family members: the interior design expertise of Owen’s sister, Helen Casey, and his brothers, engineer Tadgh McGillicuddy and architect Sean McGillicuddy.
Today, Ballygarry House Hotel & Spa is bigger and busier than ever, lead by the third generation of the McGillicuddy family and operated by many long-serving staff members. Over the years, our guests have experienced the importance of this family aspect to the hotel. Many say that when you come to Ballygarry House, you always feel like you are at home. That’s what Ballygarry House is - a place where you can make yourself at home. We have been helping people feel at home for three generations and are far from finished! Along with you, our friends, customers, clients and patrons, we look forward to many more years of great memories together.
1957 – Ballygarry House purchased by three local developers, including Gene McGillicuddy
1958 – The Manhattan Hotel opens it’s doors for business
1968 – Owen McGillicuddy becomes General Manager, returning from training in Switzerland & around Ireland
1982 – Hotel undergoes redevelopment and returns to its original name of Ballygarry House
1997 – Expansion and extensive overhaul of the hotel’s banqueting suite and supporting kitchens
2006 – Nádúr Spa, expanded hotel kitchens, car parking and additional bedroom wing open for business
2011 – The Pavilion, a multifunctional room with 5,000 square feet of reception / meeting / conference space
2015 – Major refurbishment of the Monarch Suite - the hotel’s main wedding and banqueting suite with capacity for 380 guests
2016 – New development incorporating a new casual dining venue, “The Brasserie” and the revamp of the hotel bar renamed Owen Mac’s Bar in honour of Owen MacGillicuddy