Ballygarry House was originally a family home of the Lawlor Family. It has been owned and operated by the McGillicuddy family for over 60 years. Our goal at Ballygarry House when you visit or stay with us is to invite you into our extended Ballygarry family. The McGillicuddy family first became involved in the property in the 1950’s, when it was purchased by local businessmen 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 after 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 is, the sense of ‘being at home’. The new hotel was built around the original features of the house, maintaining the traditions and characteristics that has always set us apart.
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 new gardens, doubling the hotel’s kitchens and most significantly, adding Nádúr Spa, the first ever such facility in the Tralee area.
Not one to stand still, Padraig continued to develop the hotel to align with his vision of turning Ballygarry into one of Irelands leading Estate Hotels. These developments are as shown below.
On Wednesday, November 12th 1958 The Manhattan Hotel opens its doors for business.
Hotel undergoes redevelopment and returns to its original name of Ballygarry House.
Expansion and extensive overhaul of the hotel’s banqueting suite and supporting kitchens
Nádúr Spa, expanded hotel kitchens, car parking and additional bedroom wing open for business.
The Pavilion, a multifunctional room with 5,000 square feet of reception / meeting / conference space.
Fitness Suite, a resident only facility designed to utilise the stunning garden views, guests can work out in gym like comfort and modern surrounds.
Major refurbishment of the Banqueting Suite – the hotel’s main wedding and banqueting suite with capacity for 380 guests.
A development incorporating a new casual dining venue, ‘The Brasserie’, a revamp of the hotel bar, renamed Owen Mac’s bar, in honour of Owen McGillicuddy, a new hotel entrance and additional car parking spaces.
Restaurant 58 – A major refurbishment of the former hotel restaurant ‘Brooks’ This was renamed to Restaurant 58. The opening of Restaurant 58 saw an increase of 40% in seating capacity. This development also involved the expansion of the hotels kitchen tripling them in size.
Formerly, the gate of the O’Connor farmhouse visible to the north of the hotel. The main Dublin road was then moved which separated it from the farmhouse & joined it with Ballygarry House.
This Farmhouse & Lodge was owned by the Slattery family, but was the home of Joseph and Ellen O’Brien, who were born and grew up in Tralee.
Their love story began when they refused to be separated because of religious differences, despite the promise of family fortunes. They lived here raising 8 children together for 22 years until the 1940’s. Ballygarry House has maintained The Cottage as part of Tralee’s history. The Cottage is now being used as a private event room for celebrations with a personalised Butler Service for Afternoon Tea.
In 1957, Ballygarry House was bought by three local businessmen including Gene McGillicuddy. The business opened its doors for the first time as ‘The Manhattan Hotel’ in 1958, after extensive redevelopment.
In 1968, Owen McGillicuddy became General Manager, returning from training in Switzerland & Ireland.
In 2003, Padraig proudly became the third McGillicuddy to assume the role and title of Proprietor & General Manager.