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Skibb firm's furniture graces the re-styled Queen Mary 2

July 17th, 2016 7:05 AM

By Southern Star Team

The Carinthia lounge on the Queen Mary 2 which feature furniture from the Skibbereen company.

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A WEST Cork furniture company has quite literally ‘made a splash’ with its latest commission.

O’Donnell Furniture, based in Skibbereen, has supplied the famous cruise company Cunard with furniture for the luxurious Queen Mary 2, which has recently undergone a £90m upgrade. 

The stunning refurbishment is the most expensive project undertaken by Cunard in its 176-year history.

‘We approached Cunard UK’s parent company, Carnival Cruise Lines,’ Aodh O’Donnell MD at O’Donnell Furniture told The Southern Star, as he explained how the firm got the prestigious client. 

 ‘We were well received by their management team and due to our good reputation in the high end hotel sector, got an opportunity to tender for the loose furniture. Our remit was to produce 250 tables and seating for the newly remodeled Carinthia Lounge, King’s Court restaurant and atrium areas.  This equated to eight artic loads of furniture,’ Aodh pointed out.

The Queen Mary 2 left dry dock after its multi-million pound refit at the beginning of June with the furniture from West Cork in prime position.

‘It was a great opportunity to make an impression in a very public area of the vessel, and the clients are very happy with our work. After the refit, the ship’s capacity has been increased to 2,695 guests,’ Aodh explained, adding that the project was worth in excess of €500,000 to the firm.  ‘We anticipate that our work on this ship will lead to more enquiries.  Cunard UK is owned by Carnival Lines which overall own 100 vessels that run under 10 cruise line brands,’ he said.

Now employing 50 people at their factory in Skibbereen, Aodh O’Donnell says he is very excited for the future of O’Donnell Furniture. 

With many international luxury hotel groups, such as the Hilton, Mondrian, Guoman, Steigenberger, Marriott already on their books, the Skibbereen-based company also supplies more locally to Actons in Kinsale, The Cliff House in Ardmore in Co Waterford and Dublin clients include the Portmarnock Hotel, The Marker and The Gibson. Even closer to home, O’Donnell Furniture has provided furniture for the Sheen Falls in Kenmare, Aghadoe Heights in Killarney and the West Lodge Hotel in Bantry.

‘We have more than doubled our staff levels over the past two years and are continually recruiting.  We now have 50 employees, with the majority living in the West Cork area. The Cunard’s flagship, the Queen Mary 2, is a classic and has provided a great opportunity for all at O’Donnell’s to show our capabilities.  She has sailed 1.78 million miles and no doubt our furniture will be part of many more nautical adventures.  We also look forward to her guests enjoying the beauty of West Cork with onshore excursions in the future,’ Aodh said.

At the time of her construction, Queen Mary 2 was the longest passenger ship ever built, and with her gross tonnage of 148,528 also the largest. She no longer holds this record, but remains the largest ocean liner ever built.

The luxurious liner boasts a range of first class facilities including fifteen restaurants and bars, five swimming pools, a casino, a ballroom, a theatre, and the first planetarium at sea. There are also kennels and a nursery on board.

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