historic house
Fernhill House Hotel

History of the Hotel

The mansion house at Fernhill has a long rich history which we welcome you to visit and experience for yourself.

History of Fernhill

History & Sustainability

About Fernhill & History

Fernhill House Hotel & Gardens is a luxurious Georgian Mansion set on picturesque gardens overlooking the beautiful countryside of Clonakilty, West Cork.


The O’Neill Family

Fernhill House Hotel & Gardens is a family run hotel cared for by the fourth generation of O Neills at Fernhill. The five members of the current O Neill family are Michael & his wife Teresa with their sons Neil, Michael jnr and Gearóid. We are all involved in the running of the hotel and together with our professional team we will do everything we can to make your experience at Fernhill exceptional.

There is a long history of O Neills at Fernhill. The mansion house was bought by M.J. O Neill in the 1940’s and was turned into a hotel by his son Con with his wife Mary in the 1960’s.

Their son Michael took over the hotel with his wife Teresa in the 1980s and they oversaw a large expansion of the building together with the development of the beautiful gardens at the front of the hotel.

Today the fourth generation of O Neills are ensuring that the long tradition of excellent service at Fernhill is continuing. They would like to extend a warm invitation for you to come and experience it for yourself.



The mansion house at Fernhill has a long rich history which we welcome you to visit and experience for yourself.

Early 1800's
The mansion house at Fernhill was built. It was the grandest house in the Clonakilty area and was the manor house of a 1,257 acre estate.

Robert Atkin was born at Fernhill. He became one of the founding fathers of social justice in Australia and his son Lord Atkin was one on the most influential judges in world history thanks to the 'snail in a bottle' case.

A soup kitchen was run by the proprietors of Fernhill to feed the starving during the great Irish famine when 1 million people died.

George Wright of Fernhill House became the solicitor General of Ireland.

Michael Collins visited Fernhill to meet his friend Bertie O Donovan who lived at the mansion house.

The land of Fernhill was used by the army as a base during World War Two in preparation for a potential invasion. An ammunition magazine is still standing.

MJ O'Neill purchased Fernhill and started the O'Neill tradition of welcoming guests to Fernhill.

President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina dined at Fernhill as part of the celebrations of the 400th year of Clonakilty.

Fernhill was mentioned in the Dáil minutes having been the first to lobby against the ban on outdoor weddings in Ireland. The ban was later overturned.

Fernhill was named the most 'community minded business in Ireland' for its charitable work. 

Michael jnr was elected mayor of Clonakilty & is the 4th generation of the O'Neill family to be elected mayor. 

Environment Friendly Fernhill

Here at Fernhill we understand that we all have a part to play to protect the environment for future generations. We hope that this will allow you to enjoy your stay even more at Fernhill.

Solar Panels
Solar panels are in place to provide our hot water & reduce emissions.

We have our own sustainable water supply from our on site well. We monitor its purity to ensure that it is world class for our guests.

Sustainable Clonakilty
Michael jnr is a director of Sustainable Clonakilty and was a board member of the European Union’s EDEN group, the largest collection of sustainable destinations in the world. Getting involved in community environment projects allows us to reduce an even larger carbon output than our own.

Our gardens use sustainably sourced water, are kind to the local environment and have many Irish plants & trees.

We give back to the community by buying locally, sponsoring local events/charities/groups & getting involved in several organisations.

Local Wildlife
We own a river valley referred to as ‘the glen’ next to the hotel which is in a natural state. We do what we can to protect it as it is a great resource for local wildlife.

Recyling & Composting
We have a strict recycling & composting strategy to reduce waste.

Source Locally
We try to source our food & products locally to keep our ‘food miles’ & carbon footprint low. We also grow some of our food - herbs like thyme, bay leafs and more.

Many of the floral arrangements at Fernhill are sourced from our own gardens.

Tree Planting
We are currently planning an extensive tree planting programme to add thousands of trees to the ones that already reduce carbon & provide a more natural environment at Fernhill.


Giving Back

At Fernhill we are very lucky to have support of fantastic customers and the wonderful community of West Cork.

Pink Ribbon
Teresa hosts & helps to organise a pink ribbon walk in aid of breast cancer awareness every October bank holiday weekend. It was one of the first of its kind locally and has gone onto inspire many others. On top of being a very enjoyable community event it has generated a massive amount of awareness and raised over €50,000.

We employ a large amount of people locally on our professional team of almost 100.

Our range of sustainable tourism practices ensure that our impact on the local environment is minimised and benefits it wherever possible.

Volunteerism & Community Spirit
Clonakilty is renowned for volunteerism & community spirit. We are involved in helping to run several organisations like Sustainable Clonakilty, Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce, the random acts of kindness festival, tourism West Cork and many more.

We provide sponsorship to lots events & organisations with over 50 benefiting last year.

Sourcing Locally
We source many of our products & services in the area which provides even more employment locally.

Autism Friendly

Fernhill is autism friendly, click HERE to view our visual guidelines.


Awards & Associations

We love creating exceptional experiences and have been lucky enough to win awards such as: No.1 hotel in Cork on Tripadvisor, Wedding venue of the year, Top 10 four star hotel in Ireland from Trivago, the best business in Ireland for working with the community and many more.


We loved the gardens. We had dinner in the restaurant one evening and it was delicious, a real taste of West Cork. We had a fabulous time. Will return again.


Gorgeous hotel, very comfy beds, staff were exceptionally helpful and friendly. Beautiful gardens and delicious food. Only a few minutes from the town centre. Will happily stay here again.


The staff were friendly and efficient. There was a lovely atmosphere in the hotel, the gardens are a joy. We really enjoyed our stay will definitely return x


Everything about the place was amazing. My only problem was that my stay was one night. I will be back for a longer stay next time. I would give them a 10/10 rating. Excellent


The hotel's staff were very welcoming. Fabulous location overlooking Clonakilty from the west. The rooms were beautifully decorated and very relaxing. The food was delicious and everything homemade. A great hotel to chill-out in.