The Grand Hotel Tralee stands on the site of The Great Castle of Tralee, once the principal stronghold of the powerful Geraldine’s of Munster. Descendants from Maurice Fitzgerald, who came to Ireland with the Normans, the Geraldine’s established themselves in Kerry in the early years of the 13th Century. John Fitzthomas Fitzgerald founded the town of Tralee, building The Great Castle and a Friary for the Dominican Friars.e Grand Hotel Tralee stands on the site of the great Tralee Castle.
The Geraldine Earls of Desmond held sway over Munster until 1583, when Gerard the 15th Earl, was killed near Tralee after four years of historic warfare against the Government of Elizabeth 1st. The Great Castle subsequently passed to the English Adventurer, Sir Edward Denny, whose descendants occupied it until the beginning of the 19th Century.
The old fortress was soon afterwards demolished and replaced by the spacious and dignified new thoroughfare of Denny Street. The Castle Demesne – The Green at the end of Denny Street was allowed to remain and now is Tralee’s fine Town Park.
The 3 Houses destined to become the Grand Hotel Tralee numbers 30, 31, & 32 Denny Street were private residents for many years, originally owned by Mr Peter F. Foley, and rented by a Mr. John Mills for the purpose of a private house, offices, stables & yard. Later the area now taken up by the hotels ‘Pikeman Bar’ was the site of the towns Post Office and home to Oliver Rowland Mason, Tralee’s Postmaster. The Post Office was said to have the most reliable clock in Ireland, it never lost or gained a second.
The Restaurant of the Hotel on the West side of Denny Street was once the office of Mr. Samuel Hussey (1824 -1913) one of the most notorious and most colourful land agents of 20th century Ireland. During the tenant agitation of the 1880’s he was Chief local adversary of the Land League, until the dynamiting of his house at Edenburn greatly diminished his enthusiasm for the fray. He was a celebrated raconteur and wit who’s rollicking “Reminiscences of the Irish Land-Agent” still makes entertaining reading. It is from Mr. Hussey the restaurant takes its name “Samuels”.
The Grand Hotel Tralee came into existence in the 20th Century, and has been ever since a highly regarded and popular rendezvous in the heart of Tralee