Handlebars and the Mulranny Park Hotel

By | Category: Travel destinations

Handlebars is a cold weather goat. Or may have been since he hasn’t been seen for a while. But there are others like him. He is a magnificent six or seven year old goat with truly threatening horns that lives in the picturesque Irish solitude near the Mulranny Park Hotel. Like the hotel, Handlebars and the others are survivors. The number of goats has probably dwindled to just 200 or 300 in the whole of Ireland and the owners of the hotel are occupying their time with trying to increase the size of the herd. After all the hotel has been restored what else would a hotelier do but concentrate on long-haired goats with small ears like Handlebars?
Years ago there were plenty of goats in this part of Ireland when the railway first came here. It brought visitors to the coast at Westport and to give those people somewhere to stay a hotel was needed. The Great Southern Hotel was constructed and so grand was it that it was compared to Buckingham Palace. It had its own outdoor, sea-filled swimming pool, all mod cons, a causeway to help guests see the scenery at its best and a service to match. In the evening, guests would go up and see the sun setting over the mountains. Staff brought up their meals so they missed none of the splendour.
It didn’t last. The train was supplanted by coaches and cars and gradually the hotel fell into decline until it closed completely in 1990. A listed building, it virtually became derelict until a group of people invested and set about restoring the hotel. It has now re-opened as the Mulranny Park, one of many names it has had over the years. The causeway has been restored as well but not the railway which closed in 1937. Today, the old trackbed has been turned into a cycle path and walkways. But this isn’t just for the hotel guests.The two Toms who own the hotel now, Bohan and Duggan, decided that everybody should enjoy the land. Anyone is free to wander and walk the landscape completely free. Now in summer there can be up to 1500 people a day enjoying themselves there.
The hotel has just received the EDEN award for Ireland. EDEN stands for European Destinations of Excellence, a project which promotes sustainable tourism development. Winners are emerging, little known European destinations like Mulrannny Park

Mulranny Park Hotel

The hotel is flourishing having had their busiest summer so far. As are the goats. With the help of the hotel in the future, with luck, you’ll see a much larger herd. And the descendents of Handlebars sporting huge horns as well.

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