Our History

Here at The International, we have a keen interest in our history and work hard to maintain the integrity and pride of our heritage. We have collected a wide range of old newspaper clippings, photos, records and memoirs over the years. The selection of historical pieces on display in The Library show how The International Hotel has been at the core of Killarney’s tourist tradition since 1906, welcoming visitors to Killarney and providing every comfort to guests….from hot and cold baths in the early 1900s to Jacuzzi baths in the early 2000s!

Below is a brief history and some interesting tit-bits about the history of The International hotel.

Built in the mid 1800s, The International Hotel, locally known as “The Inter”, was established as a hotel in 1906. The Hotel has not altered much in appearance, save for additions to the right and rear which have been carefully and sympathetically added over the years. The hotel originally stood at the entrance gates to Killarney Railway Station. Details of early owners are scarce, however it was owned in the 1950s by two local doctors, O’Sullivans, and two local solicitors by the name of Downing. One of the doctors was the late Dr Billy O’Sullivan, a well known international golfer. They were affectionately known as the “Four Masters” and it is understood that they continued to meet at “The Four Masters’ Hatch” in the Residents Lounge long after the hotel was sold on. In 1961, the hotel was sold to Trust House (later Trust House Forte), a UK hotel company prior to being purchased by the present owners, Sean and Frankie Coyne, in 1976. Sean, Frankie and their team have been running, modernising and strengthening the hotel ever since and have placed great emphasis on protecting the hotel’s integrity and position as one of Killarney’s longest established and much loved hotels, combining the charm of yesteryear with the luxuries and excellent service of today.

The Brewery Lane

The ground floor of the hotel is divided by the Brewery Lane. This was the site of a large brewery over 100 years ago and hops would be seen growing along the walls of the lane.

The Killarney Electric Light Company

The offices of the Killarney Electric Light Company were located on the land and the company supplied power to the town from a mill on the Flesk River, in addition to bringing street lighting to Killarney even before electric street lamps were used in London!

“The Dawn” Film

The Brewery on the lane played host to those involved in the making of a 1936 movie called “The Dawn”. The brainchild of local man Tom Cooper, the movie was a huge success and was a blockbuster by today’s standards. Members of the Cooper Family may be spotted to this day enjoying morning coffee in The Brasserie.
“The Tailor and Ansty”

A tailoring establishment in the Brewery Lane employed an apprentice, Tommie Buckley who, with his wife, Ansty, became the subjects of the famous Eric Cross play “The Tailor and Ansty”.

The Famine

At the time of The Famine (1846-1847) the Sisters of Mercy set up a temporary hospital here in a vain attempt to house some of the worst injured victims.
The War of Independence (1919-1921)

British Officers enjoying a pint in Hannigans may not have realised that the Head Porter at the time was an Intelligence Officer for local republican forces. His information led to the Clonbanin Ambush in 1921 in Co. Cork. The target of this republican force was a British Army convoy travelling from Killarney to Buttevant and the ambush caused the death of Brigadier General Hanway Robert Cumming.We love to hear old stories or any experiences of The International Hotel and invite guests and friends to send old photos and stories to add to our collection!