Generations keep jobs as Parknasilla Hotel re-opens
THE future of 60 jobs has been secured with the reopening of one of the country's best-known hotels under new ownership.
Parknasilla Resort and Spa in Sneem, Co Kerry, was bought before Christmas for €11m by a consortium of investors led by Kenmare businessman Tony Daly and Swiss financier Jacquie Safra, who has owned neighbouring Garinish Island since the 1990s.
This was a fraction of the €40m paid for the four-star hotel in 2006 by property developer Bernard McNamara, who spent an additional €10m upgrading the facilities.
The new owners have committed to hiring a further 40 members of seasonal staff ahead of the summer months.
They will also invest €500,000 in upgrading the hotel, which is expected to be completed by the end of April.
Newly appointed managing director of the investors' group Mr Daly said he was proud to be leading the hotel into the next chapter of its history. Generations of local families have worked at Parknasilla since it first opened in 1895, a tradition that continues to this day.
Head sommelier George White is joined on staff by his daughter Georgina; and Ann O'Sullivan, the hotel's head of housekeeping, works alongside her daughter Bridget.
Mr Daly added: "I am fortunate to have such a dedicated team on board with me who have been caring for our Parknasilla guests for many years and I will go as far as to add that our guests care for them."
Since 2009 the hotel was run by Tifco Hotels for the receiver.
For decades, the hotel and its 500 acres of woodlands, parklands and beaches along Kenmare Bay, has been considered one of the jewels in the crown of Irish tourism.
It opened as a railway hotel in 1895 and some of its famous guests include George Bernard Shaw, Princess Grace of Monaco and Charles de Gaulle.
It was also a popular haunt of former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.