Cork's Vienna Woods Country House Hotel has a history as dramatic as the rich mustard tone that sets the building apart from the surrounding woodlands on the peaks of Glanmire, Co. Cork. The building, perched on a height overlooking the Glashaboy River, has stood proudly since 1756. Built by Davis Ducart as a summer leisure lodge for Lord Barrymore, the building was designed in the Regency Style, a style that was very popular in the latter part of the 18th century. Characteristic traits of the Regency Style include an emphasis on the classical form, and the forging of a close relationship between structure and the landscape, evident in The Vienna Woods Country House Hotel, which nestles in to the surrounding mountainous woodlands.
Vienna Woods, or Lota Lodge as it was originally titled, forms part of a collection of grand country houses in the Glanmire area of Cork, like; Dunkathel House, Glenkeen, Glyntown House, Lauriston House and Brooklodge House.
The house was home to AF Sharman Crawford and his family from 1875-1946, who was thankfully here to restore the house to its original glory after a fire in the early 1900s destroyed some of the original building. Crawford was a managing director of the Beamish and Crawford Brewery, (which was founded by his uncle, William Crawford II), and the city of Cork benefited from his philanthropic disposition, particularly in the arts; in fact the Crawford family funded the establishment of the Crawford Art Gallery and the Crawford School of Art. We can tell you a little more about this on our Cultural Connections page.
As with so many other grand houses in 20th century Ireland, the building was purchased by a religious order in 1951, and was used as a seminary for 13 years, until it was converted into a hotel in 1964 by Joan Shubuek renamed the building ‘Vienna Woods’, because of the parallels she drew between the area, and the Austrian capital city where she had lived for a number of years.
The Fitzgerald family along with Michael Magner, bought the hotel in 2006 and renamed it ‘The Vienna Woods Country House Hotel’. Michael Magner, one of the co-owners, is also the General Manager of the hotel, and this close level of personal care and involvement is most evident in the building’s most dramatic makeover to date, which has taken almost fifteen years to complete. The Fitzgeralds/Magners have lovingly and painstakingly restored much of the original protected features of the building. In fact, the refurbishment work led to the discovery of a 150 year-old pantry and kitchen space, which has been reimagined as a 90 seat bistro restaurant named Mabel’s Bistro.
The refurbishment has also enabled the team to deliver modern and streamlined hospitality in beautiful and unique surroundings that both returning and new guests have come to expect and love.
Greetings from Michael
The Vienna Woods Country House Hotel has been a labour of love for both me, and my family, for the last 15 years.
I was instantly drawn to this quirky and charming building, theatrically set against the surrounding woodlands, the moment I first laid eyes on it. There are some who would have shied away from the almost overwhelming level of work that was needed to ensure the character of this 250 year old country house would shine through, but we committed ourselves fully, rolled up our sleeves, took a deep breath, and here we are, 15 years later, with something special, something to be really proud of.
The building has such an interesting and varied past, and I knew once we made the decision to return The Vienna Woods Country House Hotel to its former glory, we would join in the long list of custodians who worked to preserve both the structure of the building and the stories contained within the walls. It was never an option to carry out a refurbishment or rebuild that was anything less than sensitive and meticulous. We have taken time and care to restore the original listed features of the building, and it brings me great pleasure to see our guests visibly admire and appreciate their surroundings during their time spent with us.
The feel, flavour, and accent may be local, but the standard of service is international. Friendliness, warmth and conviviality go hand in hand with a streamlined and professional code of conduct, duty and care, which the team, deliver consistently and continually. Whether you are bestowing on us the honour of hosting your special day, or presenting a corporate pitch or conference to clients, or you simply dropped in for a casual drink or bite to eat, our considerate staff, and our lovely quirky surrounds will ensure you remember your time with us for all the right reasons.
The Vienna Woods Country House Hotel is a family owned and family run hotel, and although we greet guests from every corner of the planet, we are proud of our local roots and heritage, community is important to us, our guests and their families are important to us.
We hope you enjoy your time spent with us here, and if there is anything we can do for you, please let us know, my office is just down the hall and my door is always open.
With sincere thanks and best wishes,
GM and Owner