Waterville Beach Hotel

Two miles north-west of Waterville, County Kerry lies the ruins of the Waterville Beach Hotel (a.k.a. the Reenroe Hotel).

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It was built in the 1970s and closed in the mid-1980s.  On the face of it the closure is difficult to understand – it is situated overlooking the beautiful Ballinskelligs Beach but even that was clearly not sufficient to attract enough customers on an ongoing basis to make it profitable.

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Ballinskelligs Beach

The elements have since taken their toll and the place is now a crumbling ruin.

In the early 2000s, Eccleston International Ltd made plans to demolish the old hotel and build a 13,000 sq ft, 120 bedroom hotel on the site.  The proposal had the backing of the local community who looked forward to the employment that would be created. There was however a single objection from a couple – Eugene and Anne McMahon – who are resident in Canada but who have a holiday home in the area. An Bord Pleanála upheld the objection. That objection was in turn overturned by An Bord Pleanála at the end of 2007 and the green light was given for the development to go ahead.  However, the economic climate had changed dramatically in the meantime and nothing happened. The planning permission has since expired and the site is now for sale with an asking price of €150,000.

I had never heard of the place until I read Susan Cloonan’s blogpost:  http://queenofpots.com/blog/2013/08/25/abandoned-waterville-beach-reenroe-hotel/

My interest piqued, I travelled to West Kerry yesterday to photograph the ruin. There is easy access to the hotel. I didn’t see any signs saying “Keep Out” or “No Trespassers”. I ventured inside with some trepidation in case a slab of masonry or something might fall on me but I emerged unscathed.

I’m not a huge fan of HDR but I decided to use the technique to give the interior shots a hyperreal effect which I think the grotesqueness of the place demanded.

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12 thoughts on “Waterville Beach Hotel

  1. I remember being in a band with some friends from school and we used to play gigs in the dance hall there – 27 years ago, seems like yesterday. It closed down shortly after that – maybe our music put a hex on the place.

    Great photos

  2. Looking out at these ruins every day. Our family worked there when it was up and running in the “80 It closed late “80 or early ’90. Many a good night was there!

  3. I was the first person to ever use the indoor pool at the hotel. It wasn’t even heated when I jumped in then out in record time! My aunt and uncle managed it in the early 80s if my memory serves me. Stunning location but a long drive from pretty much anywhere as I recall. Though perhaps a child’s memory adds distance. Many, many happy times in the hotel.

  4. We went there when I was about 7. I remember driving for a long time in the wild country side and my dad pretending that every little ramshackle but on the horizon was THE hotel. We were all so wound up when we came over the last hill and saw the big building we were screaming with delight and relief. We had an absolute ball there. That gorgeous beach with all the rocks provided hours of fun and the sun was splitting the stones the whole week we were there. So sad to see this site left to ruin. Such a beautiful part of the world. Shame.

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