01 Feb Plans for Benners Hotel Tralee
Der talks with traleetoday.ie
THE old Benner’s Hotel Tralee is scheduled to be opened in the next few months according to its new owner, Der O’Sullivan.
Mr O’Sullivan, who owns The Mall Bar and Delicatessen in Tralee and a deli in Killarney, says up to 50 jobs will be created in the new venture, which will see a new look restaurant and bar and a boutique-style hotel on Castle Street.
TraleeToday.ie caught up with him at his premises in The Mall to find out more, including an interesting family connection with the hotel going back to the 19th century.
“It’s in relatively good condition with 45 en-suite bedrooms. We’re going to do a major overhaul and revamp the bar and restaurant area so we hope to get into business by March 1, running it as a boutique hotel. It’ll be a positive addition to the town,” said Mr O’Sullivan, who bought the hotel before Christmas.
“It’s blessed with a fine courtyard leading off the bar and restaurant so we hope to utilise that. The old nightclub part will be used as a room for parties and functions which it’s perfectly geared for,” he said.
“It’s a huge opportunity but a huge challenge as well. It’s a great location on the main street, right in the middle of town, with the church next door and the school behind it,” he said.
“Tralee is a good town. When you look at it compared to a lot of other towns, we have suffered less over the years. We’re the administrative capital of Kerry, which means the majority of the salaries around here are Government ones. We’ve the council, college, the hospital, teachers etc and that’s what’s kept the town alive over the years. Tralee and Killarney are probably the best towns you could find in Ireland,” he said.
“The jobs will be in all areas from night porter to head chef. They’re new jobs that weren’t there before, reducing employment in the town. It shows confidence in the town as well and hopefully other shops and businesses will feel the benefit of it,” he said.
Another interesting aspect to the sale is that Der’s great-grandfather owned a hotel on the site in the 19th century.
“The present hotel takes up the site of three previous hotels and my great-great-grandfather Patrick O’Sullivan owned one of them,” said Der.
“They would have been small hotels at that time with only around ten bedrooms each. His brother had a harness making and carriage business on the same street. The street had a name for hotels at that time and we’d hope to continue that.”
The old Benners Hotel went into receivership in 2010 and closed its doors in September 2012. In May 2013 the landmark hotel was offered for lease.