Mary Fennin Byrne
Our Stories

Humans of Kildare – Mary Fennin – Byrne

Tell me about the Clanard Court Hotel.

We’re a four-star family-owned hotel, in operation since 2005. My Dad, Lord rest him, really encouraged me to take on the project, and we’ve gone from strength to strength over the past 17 years in business. We’ve built extra rooms, extended the bar & bistro area, and developed a garden spa.

We have a lot of weddings, but we also have a lot of leisure guests as well, and of course, as we’re very much a community-based hotel, we service the needs of local families for events and celebrations and what no, so… yes, very, very busy. What’s beautiful as well is that since we’ve got 45 rooms, if a couple decides to have their wedding with us they could book out the entire hotel for their family and guests and make the occasion a very exclusive and intimate affair.

What can people expect on a visit to the hotel?

I would say, warm hospitality. If you look at our TripAdvisor, it’s all about our staff, we have an amazing team here. We hire on attitude, and we do quite a lot of training in-house and develop people along the way, but the one this that’s most important to us is genuine people and warm hospitality. That’s what we’re all about, and that’s the first impression that our guests experience. That feeling inside, that home away from home feeling is what we try to give to anyone who stays with us.

Tell me something about the Clanard Court Hotel that people might not know.

They might not know that we opened our beautiful garden spa in 2019, which is a lovely, intimate facility, and we also have an afternoon tearoom. They also might not know that I do all the interior design for the hotel myself, and they might not know that our new general manager is originally from Athy, Eoin Jacob.

Also, people might not know about our alpacas… not only do they look good and are very welcoming, but thanks to them we’ve never had to use a lawn mower on the property once in the last 17 years!

How important is sustainability when it comes to the running of Clanard Court Hotel in 2022?

Hugely important, we’re a gold award winner in the Green Hospitality Awards for the last number of years. Every decision we make regarding capital investment is based on sustainability, and our plan by next year is to go carbon neutral by putting in solar panels, and by developing our heating system to allow us to be fully sustainable from an energy point of view. We’ve got clear vision of where we want to be, because we’re very much aware that people appreciate services that take care of the environment.

What’s your favourite thing to do in Kildare on your days off?

Depending on the weather… when it’s a bad day I like to go shopping in one of the great shopping centres like Kildare Village. I like to meet friends for coffee in Newbridge Silverware, or Burtown House. On a fine day I like to go to the races, or a walk or cycle along the Blueway or out towards Mullaghreelan Woods – I’m very easily pleased.

Where is your favourite place to eat out in Kildare?

After the Clanard Court Hotel, of course! …I like Harte’s of Kildare, or Fallon’s in Kilcullen – they’re my go-to places. I like the menu and the relaxed atmosphere in both places.

What is your favourite song?

My favourite song is ‘I Lived’, by One Republic. I just love the lyrics in it, I love what it means, yes… there’s a message in it.

What is your favourite film?

My favourite film? Ohh… do you know what? I’m probably going to have to say Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, because it brings back great childhood memories, and memories of my children being small. It reminds me of cosy nights in by the fire… oh and of course, the original one is the best!