History of The Falls Hotel

Nestled in its wooded vale beside the tumbling waters of the River Inagh, the distinctive building known today as the Falls Hotel & Spa is regarded as one of the finest Clare Hotels, ideally located for touring the West of Ireland. The Falls Hotel in Clare conceals within it's walls an eighteenth century mansion, a late medieval castle and a formidable history of four and a half centuries embracing clans and warfare, landlords and tenants, poets, dreamers and entrepreneurs.

The O'Briens

In 1712 the farm of "Inishtymond" was granted to John O'Brien of Dublin, who was probably acting on behalf of his relative Christopher O'Brien. Christopher O'Brien died in 1743 and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Edward. Then in 1764 Edward demolished much of the old castle building.
The new structure, Ennistymon House, was a Georgian-style building with large sash windows, fine paneling and rococo decoration inside.

The Finucanes

In 1792 the house passed to Ann O'Brien and her husband Matthias Finucane. A year later, Ann was divorced by her husband by a special Act of Parliament; but since she was held to be the guilty party Ennistymon House remained in the Finucane Family. The Finucanes resided here in the early 1800's.
 

The MacNamaras

On the death, without lawful heirs, of Andrew Finucane in 1843, the house passed to his brother-in-law William Nugent MacNamara of Doolin, who had in 1798 married Susannah Finucane, who was in turn a grand-daughter of Edward O'Brien, formerly of the same house. Francis ("The Colonel") MacNamara, only son and heir of William Nugent, married Helen McDermott in 1860 of Dublin and they lived between London and Ennis until July 1863 when they made Ennistymon House their permanent home. In the same year they added a west wing to the house to accommodate guests who came to enjoy - among other things - good shooting and fishing.
Francis MacNamara Jnr, grandson of The Colonel, could justifiably be considered the most colourful of his clan (his daughter Nicolette Devas wrote of him in her autobiography Two Flamboyant Fathers). And it was he who was responsible for turning Ennistymon House into a commercial property for the first time. Another of his daughters, Caitlin married Welsh Poet Dylan Thomas.
Francis' marriage to Yvonne fell asunder and in 1928 he married again, this time to Augustus John's sister-in-law, Edie McNeil. At this time he was dividing his time between London and Ennistymon, where he planned to turn the family home into a country hotel. After Edie died, Francis took a third wife this time in Iris O'Callaghan-Westropp of O'Callaghan's Mills. That was 1936. He was then fifty-two years of age, some thirty years her senior and shortly after they both returned to Ennistymon House which they soon after opened to the public as the Falls Hotel in Clare.

Towards to end of the 1930's, Francis leased this Clare hotel for five years to Brendan O'Regan, who later pioneered catering and sales services at Shannon International Airport. O'Regan ran the hotel during the years of World War Two, and one of his innovations was to supply hot meals in hayboxes to the golfers in Lahinch.
At the end of the O'Regan lease, Francis took the decision to sell this Clare hotel, thus ending a connection which stretched back - almost unbroken - to the original O'Brien's of Ennistymon Castle some four hundred years previous.

Ownership from 1942 - 1986

The new owner of the Falls Hotel Clare was a retired Welshman called Gerard Henry Williams-Owen. He and his family operated during the summer months only.
In 1955 John F. Wood and his wife Bridget acquired the hotel. They added the hydro-electric plant which for many years provided power to the building and the 'plant' can still be seen a short distance upstream, just below the cascades.

The McCarthys

The current owners of the Falls Hotel are Dan and Eileen McCarthy. They purchased the 20 bedroom hotel in 1986 and under their stewardship, the hotel has been greatly extended and improved. This Clare hotel now has 140 bedrooms, two restaurants, large bar, conference and banqueting room - with a capacity of up to 350 people - as well as a leisure club containing a gym & swimming pool. The newest edition to the leisure centre is the large spa facility - aptly named the River Spa, with beautiful views over the River Inagh. All this adds to the Falls Hotel's reputation as one of the finest Clare Hotels.

Dan and Eileen's children, in recent years, have become involved in the business. Their eldest son Michael is the General Manager and their son John is the Deputy Manager.
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