FERNHILL House and Gardens in Clonakilty have been invited to be part of the the Historic Hotels of Europe Group.
The popular venue will now take its place alongside castles, manors, monasteries, lighthouses and palaces across 19 countries throughout Europe.
And in Ireland they will be joining several historic hotels including Ballymaloe House, Castle Durrow in Laois and Monaghan’s Castle Leslie.
Fernhill is now in the hands of the fifth generation of O’Neills to run the Clonakilty house. But Fernhill House dates all the way back to the Georgian era.
‘We’re passionate about Fernhill’s history,’ says Michael O’Neill Jr, ‘and we were delighted to discover the earliest mention of Fernhill is a wedding - all the way back to the 18th of March 1826 when William Atkin married Alicia Hungerford.
‘This house witnessed both sides of the fight for Ireland’s independence,’ he continues. ‘Back in 1900, when Ireland was still under British rule, it was the home of the British-appointed solicitor general George Wright, but as a Clonakilty native, Michael Collins would have visited Fernhill.
‘What’s remarkable is you can see Michael Collins’ homestead from just outside Fernhill’s front door, along with the birthplace of the great Fenian Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa. So when George Wright was surveying the West Cork countryside, little did he know the seeds of the end of British rule in Ireland were right outside his front door,’ laughed Michael.