History of Aherlow House Hotel
The old house, where Aherlow House Hotel stands, was built circa 1928 by Robert Massy Dawson Saunders to replace the landlord's residence at Ballinacourty House, which was destroyed by fire in 1922 during the Civil War. Mr & Mrs Clayton who ran a private guesthouse until the late 1940's subsequently modernised it.
The Muller family used the house as a hunting lodge until the Donovan-Kavanagh-Kiely consortium developed it as a luxurious hotel in the early 1970's. In order to get the hotel a bar licence in 1972, the new owners had to have ten bedrooms, the legal minimum to register the property as a hotel. As there were only nine bedrooms in the house, the tenth bedroom was provided for in the lodge, a separate house across from the hotel. Rumour has it that the circuit court judge at the time was wined and dined to ensure a favourable interpretation of the ten bedroom requirement for the hotel. Indeed the first bar in the hotel located in the same room as the Top Bar and Lounge was housed in a confession box. This was taken from a local church that was being demolished. It was positioned over at the entrance to the stairwell leading down to the Ballroom. No doubt its use as a confessional box continued as many a story was spun by those imbibing in Bacchus and other fruits of the vine. Absolution and penance were doled out and the later the confession the greater the absolution. The motto was ‘In God we trust, all others must pay’.
There was no draught beer served here. Many a pint was pulled in the public bar downstairs for the patron to quench his eager thirst in the Top Bar. At the side of the cocktail bar, there was a pocket that held a bottle of champagne. Many a great night was held in this bar when the owners would decide to crack open the bottle of champers and ‘Black Velvet' cocktails would be the order of the night. One of the more illustrious guests to stay in Aherlow House was the late Richard Burton while shooting a film over in Cahir. He lived up to his reputation as indicated by the picture of him in the entrance hallway of the hotel under the caption 'A Talent trapped inside a Bottle'.
In the 1970's, the hotel became very popular for weddings. The majestic views of the Galtee Mountain Range from the hotel balcony ensured its popularity coupled with the excellent hotel cuisine. However, the biggest drawback to the property was the number of bedrooms as in the 1980's weddings were becoming one of the biggest family occasions. This coincided with the mind change regarding drinking and driving. While it was a boast to say that you managed to get home safely under the influence in the 1970's, it became socially unacceptable to drink and drive in the 1980's.
The Duggan family purchased the hotel in the late 1980's and the new wing of the hotel was added to cater for the increasing demand for accommodation. In 1999, to further enhance the hotel and its location, 14 self catering lodges were erected within the grounds of the hotel.
Situated in its own private woodlands on the slopes of Sliabh na muc, Aherlow House Hotel & Lodges offer a magnificent view of the GalteeMountain range and the Glen of Aherlow. The name Sliabh na muc (Mountain of the Pigs) is derived from the legendary slaying of a sow by Fionn Mac Cumhaill. The sow called Beo, had devastated much of Munster. Fionn had a pair of spears forged locally and killed the sow. He then took the sow's head as a bridal gift to Cruithne, the smith's daughter. On the summit of the Ridge are two Megalithic Tombs, styled ‘Diarmuid agus Grainne’s Beds’. The legendary pair are said to have rested here in their flight from the angry Fionn.
At the courtyard entrance to the hotel, you will find an Ogham Stone depicting some of the ancient Celtic alphabet of straight lines meeting or crossing the edge of the stone.
Aherlow House is close to some of Ireland's most famous tourist attractions such as The Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle, and within its hinterland, there are some beautiful 'Places of Interest' to visit. Tipperary Town immortalised in the song ‘It's a long way to Tipperary’ is only a ten-minute drive.