ReardonSmith win planning for revamp of historic hotel frequented by Reagan, Burton and Jackie O
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ReardonSmith win planning for revamp of historic hotel frequented by Reagan, Burton and Jackie O

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Our approach was holistic and contextual. The original Palace building is an architectural gem, in the heart of a historic town located by one of Ireland’s most significant sites
– Alexander Marjanovic, ReardonSmith creative director

It was built as a grandiose home for an 18th-century archbishop, and later became a luxury hotel frequented by the likes of Ronald Reagan, Jacqueline Kennedy and Richard Burton. Now Ireland’s Cashel Palace Hotel is set to be given a new lease of life, courtesy of architecture and design firm ReardonSmith.

The building – designed in an Early Georgian style by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce, the architect of the Old Parliament House in Dublin – closed its doors in 2015 after its owners fell on hard times. However, plans are now in place to renovate and expand the building so it can open as a hotel once more.

The architects have gained conditional planning consent to transform Cashel Palace into “a world-class country house hotel for the 21st century with 61 bedrooms and suites, a ballroom and spa, and grand function areas suitable for the most special of occasions.”

The nearby town of Cashel is documented as a stronghold of ancient kings and has been revered as a significant ecclesiastical centre for over nine hundred years. As such, the design team have drawn on the significance of the site for their renovation of the hotel – which was originally called the Bishop’s Palace and was home to Archbishop Theophilus Bolton in the 1730s.

The design proposal focuses on the relationship of the existing red brick and limestone buildings with their surrounding gardens, and the integration of a busy luxury hotel with the town of Cashel.

The new cloister of bedrooms wings will echo the fabric of the town and a guestroom extension to the original building will be styled as “a sensitively contemporised version of the 18th Century vernacular."

The 25-acre estate is laced by an extensive network of walls, some of which date back to medieval times, and these played a key role in the design directions. Specialist consultants have joined the team to determine how best to restore and reinstate these elements, and to decide what could and should be removed.

The existing interface elements between the original building and subsequent additions made to the 20th Century hotel have also been reviewed and found to be unsympathetic to the character and symmetry of the Palace. As a result, the proposal seeks to replace these with minimal facades that “disappear” between the two buildings.

“We want the scale and orientation of the planned new buildings to ensure that a sense of hierarchy will be achieved in which the original property is respected and celebrated,” said ReardonSmith in a design statement.

Creative director Alexander Marjanovic said: “Our approach was holistic and contextual. The original Palace building is an architectural gem, in the heart of a historic town located by one of Ireland’s most significant sites.

“It was our task and privilege to create a masterplan that embraced all of this, giving these qualities a prominence that had been lost, while designing a modern hotel destination that could operate at the highest possible level well into the future.”

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It was built as a grandiose home for an 18th-century archbishop, and later became a luxury hotel frequented by the likes of Ronald Reagan, Jacqueline Kennedy and Richard Burton. Now Ireland’s Cashel Palace Hotel is set to be given a new lease of life, courtesy of architecture and design firm ReardonSmith.
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