Since 1745 there has been a hostelry and accommodation on the site of the current Eccles Hotel & Spa. The name Eccles first appears in the records of Bantry House. It states that in 1835 Thomas Eccles rented land and buildings comprising 28 acres, 2 roods and 4 perches for the sum of £16 and 12 shillings, equivalent to €21 in today’s currency.
John Eccles, son of Thomas carried out major reconstruction of the Eccles in 1890 and changed the name from the Glengarriff Inn to The Eccles Hotel. The Eccles family owned the hotel into the mid 1900s.
The hotel was leased to the British war office from 1918 – 1920, where it was a home of rest for soldiers injured during World War 1, it cost 1 guinea (€1.90) per week for full board and fishing and shooting rights. During 1920/1921 the hotel was occupied by British troops of the Essex Regiment.
From 1921 – 1927 the hotel was managed by a Mr. Duke, then a Mr. Gaili.
The inaugural meeting of the Irish Cruising Club was held in the Eccles in 1929 and a plaque to commemorate this is located at the hotel entrance. On the 75th anniversary of the founding of the club in 2004, the ICC invited 4 of their sister cruising clubs from around the world to join them on a cruise of the southwest coast of Ireland. More than 180 boats and 750 members sailed to Glengarriff where there was a major function to commemorate the occasion.
In 1929, the hotel was assigned to a company called Irish Hotels Ltd.
An Italian Businessman, Renato Fogliana, bought the hotel in 1977 but after a brief period it was sold to the O’Keefe family in 1978, whose company Irish Enterprises Inc. operated it for the next 9 years.
In 1987 the hotel was acquired by D. and B. Murphy.
The Hanratty family purchased the hotel in 2000, completely refurbishing the hotel but remaining true to its character and heritage. In 2002, the refurbished hotel was officially opened by An Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Mr. Bertie Ahern.
And now under new ownership, Eccles Hotel is set to re-establish its tradition as West Cork’s seafront hotel destination, with over 250 years of history, heritage, style and hospitality.
In August 2019, the Spa at Eccles opened, leading to the hotel being renamed the Eccles Hotel & Spa.
Famous people who have stayed at Eccles Hotel in times gone by include:-
In 1850, William Makepeace Thackeray (1811 – 1863) the famous writer and journalist, who boarded at Eccles Hotel and described it as a pretty Inn.
George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) stayed in Eccles Hotel in 1910/11 and is reputed to have written extensively during his time here.
During the 1920’s William Butler Yeats (poet and playwright) was a regular visitor to Eccles Hotel. The Presidential Suite is named after him.
In July 2017 Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, stayed at the hotel to attend the wedding of her good friend Camilla Campion-Awwad in Glengarriff.
Extracts from the Guide to Glengarriff and Killarney published in 1878:
From Wm. Beamish, Esq. M.D. I. R.C.S. Edinburgh 1875
I am confident that with this beautifully situated Eccles Hotel, now re-established and luxuriously furnished, Glengarriff cannot fail to be an unrivalled resort, especially during Autumn and Winter.
William Makepeace Thackeray 1843
What sends tourists to the Rhine and Saxon Switzerland? Within 5 miles of the pretty Inn of Glengarriff there is a country of the magnificence of which no pen can give any idea.
Punch Magazine, November 18th 1876
Glengarriff – Eccles Hotel, charmingly situated. Facing the bay and on the road. Old fashioned, covered with creepers and roses with bedrooms commanding the bay view. The Eccles is worth more than a passing visit. I am delighted with it. It is, as far as attendance, cuisine, and general comfort the best hotel I’ve been in.