There’s something about Ballyseede Castle Hotel. Built in the 1590s and situated in native woodlands on the outskirts of Tralee town, this is a place that exemplifies old-world charm.
Owned and run by the O’Sullivan family, this four star hotel has 28 bedrooms and three private rooms. It’s also got a reputation for hosting exceptional weddings.
“We specialise in weddings,” says the manager Rory O’Sullivan. “We host around 100 weddings here every year. Most of those are Irish couples, many of whom get married here because their parents got married here before them. But we also have couples who come from abroad looking for an unusual venue for their wedding in Ireland.”
While weddings account for a lot of its business, Ballyseede Castle Hotel is also open to private guests. Locals are welcome to come along to enjoy occasional special events in the hotel too.
One of the most popular of these is the outdoor theatre event that has taken place in June for the past six years. “A theatre company comes over from England and stages a play in our gardens,” says Rory.
[pull_quote_center]We sell tickets and people can bring their own picnics or enjoy the refreshments we provide. We’re staging Sense and Sensibility this year and we are crossing our fingers for sunshine.[/pull_quote_center]
Events like this may be important for Ballyseede but Rory believes that the most important thing for the hotel is its marketing. “We are members of the Manor House Hotel Group and this is vital for us,” he says. “I am the former chairman of this group and I can testify to the value it offers to independently-owned Irish properties. There are 30 properties under the Manor House Hotel brand and each of those benefits from its centralised reservation system and marketing strategy.”
He thinks the international marketing opportunities it offers are particularly beneficial. “We’d never be able to afford to send a representative to sales shows in China or in the States but because we’re a member of this group, we are represented. People get to hear about us and what we have to offer here in Tralee.”
Rory and the rest of the O’Sullivan family are keen to continue improving the service they offer in Ballyseede Castle. They started work on an orangery this winter. “We’ve halted work now for the summer months but we’ll start again in the winter,” he says.
[pull_quote_center]We’re aiming for the orangery to be open by March of next year. It will seat up to 180 people and we will offer it as a location for civil marriages, drinks receptions, private functions and dinners.[/pull_quote_center]
The history of Ballyseede Castle Hotel may go back centuries but with the O’Sullivan family at the helm, its future may stretch out for just as long.
[quote_box_center]For more information on the Ballyseede Castle Hotel, visit their website.[/quote_box_center]