The O’Neill family and team at Fernhill House in Clonakilty were celebrating on Tuesday after it was announced at a gala event in Glenlo Abbey in Galway that the hotel has been invited to join the prestigious Blue Book.
Teresa O’Neill of Fernhill commented that ‘we are absolutely delighted to have been asked to join the Blue Book. It has long been a massive goal for us for many years to be asked to join as the Blue Book represents the cream of Irish hospitality, so we are over the moon!’
The Blue Book was founded by Myrtle Allen of Ballymaloe in 1974 and is a collection of Ireland’s finest hotels featuring castles, estates, historic country houses and more.
Fernhill will join other Cork Blue Book properties such Ballymaloe House, Hayfield Manor, Blairs Cove, Liss Ard House, Dunowen House and Perryville House in Kinsale who also joined this year. These are charming and stylish hideaways renowned for their food that are popular choices for romantic getaways, weddings, or a midweek retreat.
Michael O’Neill jnr said that ‘This is fantastic news for us here at Fernhill, it represents a new level for us and we have worked very hard to improve standards at Fernhill to achieve this. Especially in the last few years when the team used the time over the lockdowns to work on everything at Fernhill. We launched Fernhill Garden Gin, hampers, improved the décor in every room in Fernhill, over 500 new pieces of art, individually redecorated all of the bedrooms with each themed on a different Irish plant, refurbished all of our dining rooms, new outdoor dining spaces, developed our walled Victorian kitchen garden, many gorgeous new features in our gardens, chandeliers for our ballroom and many more. We would like to invite everyone to come celebrate with us and see the changes for yourselves.’
‘The process of joining was very tough as the Blue Book is just so prestigious. You really must polish every aspect of your business and only then will you even be considered. After that there are a series of undercover inspections where everything must be perfect, especially the food as that is so vital to the Blue Book experience. It took a constant huge effort over a number of years so you can imagine how happy we are to hear that we will be part of the Blue Book. It will be such a massive boost for everyone here.’
Michael continued by saying that ‘Joining the Blue Book should really help us to grow the business even further and employ more people. The Blue Book is held in such high regard and gets so much attention that having another member in West Cork will hopefully bring more visitors to the area which will be great as tourism is so important for our region.’ Neil O’Neill finished by saying that ‘We would like to thank our amazing customers and team for all of your support over the last few decades. We would not be here without you so thank you from all of us.’
The invitation to join the Blue Book has capped off a very successful year at Fernhill. The Clonakilty venue was named ‘Best Wedding Venue In Ireland’ at the hospitality industries Oscars, the Gold Medal Awards and was ranked as the 7th best hotel in Ireland on tripadvisor in their annual rankings.