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The History in the Walls: Fitzgeralds Vienna Woods Hotel Celebrates 50 Years of Family Memories
23 May 2013
Fitzgeralds Vienna Woods Hotel, Glanmire’s elegant 18th century country house, celebrates 50 years of hospitality. Having first opened its doors as a hotel in June 1963, Cork dignitaries, local businesses, previous owners and the Glanmire community gathered on the eve of its 50th Anniversary to celebrate generations of family memories during an Old Vienna themed soirée.
Lota Lodge, as it was formerly known, initially dates back to 1765. However, following a great fire in 1905 the Crawford Family, co-founders of the Beamish and Crawford Brewery, rebuilt the house as the family’s private residence which it remained until 1951 when it became a Seminarian training college of the Brothers of Charity.
Joan Shubrook saw the potential of such a beautiful regency building, tucked into 22 acres of Glanmire’s leafy backdrop, and was responsible for transforming the characterful home into Vienna Woods Hotel, inspired by the similarities between the foliage of the Cork suburb and Austria’s popular city. The 4 star property has since passed through several ownerships, including Glanmire native, John O Regan, American brothers, John and Patrick O Hara, Rose Maher and John and Darina Gately.
The Fitzgerald Family and Michael Magner purchased the hotel in 2006 as a sister hotel to the Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel of Adare County Limerick. The original decor and restored artwork now presents a lavish 50 bedroom hotel boasting old-world, vintage charm and eight modern, self-catering villas.
The unique surrounds, along with a purpose built ballroom and the highly personalised service of current management has seen Fitzgerald’s Vienna Woods Hotel establish itself as one of Cork’s premier wedding venues. As an awarded member of Guaranteed Irish, the hotel is dedicated to local and Irish suppliers which impacts on the quality and freshness of dishes.
The recent addition of the aptly named Mabel Crawford’s Bistro is another success story, having been nominated for ‘Best Restaurant in Cork’ in this year’s Irish Restaurant Awards.
The importance of community is, in part, a legacy of the Crawford Family and something which has lived on within the hotel walls. The Crawford Family personally donated the plinth which Cork’s iconic Fr Matthew statue is built upon and was responsible for large funding of St Finbarr’s Cathedral. In more recent years the hotel continues to support the Glanmire Sports, Business and Community Awards which recognise local community achievements.
During the 50th anniversary celebrations locals recalled with affection ‘The Dance’ which was held weekly in the hotel ballroom during the 70s and 80s and the annual Hunt Ball which the hotel was famously connected to.
Michael Magner, Hotel Director, commented: ‘Our hotel is simply bricks and mortar. The achievement is accredited to the dedication of the various teams of people who have worked so hard for the hotel over the decades and the local community which has been incredibly supportive. The Fitzgerald Family and I are so proud to be part of the fifty year fabric and we plan to continue growing and look forward to the new achievements yet to come for Fitzgeralds Vienna Woods Hotel.’
To mark the fifty year occasion Fitzgeralds Vienna Woods Hotel is erecting a memory tree in the hotel lobby and is encouraging as many people as possible to participate in their ‘50 Years of Memories’. Please send photographs of family occasions celebrated in the hotel since 1963 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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