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'Obviously the brides are very distressed': Hunt on for new wedding venues after hotel closure

The Aherlow House Hotel closed last week, affecting the wedding plans of more than 40 couples.

Image: Twitter

A SPOKESPERSON FOR the Aherlow House Hotel in Tipperary has said it is the job of the receiver to contact customers affected by its immediate closure last week.

They added that online criticism of the hotel in recent days has been “unfair” but acknowledged: “Obviously the brides are very distressed.”

Customers have hit out at the hotel, saying they have be “left in limbo”.

One told us: “It’s causing huge stress to the families involved. Thousands have been given to the hotel. We’ve not been told if it will be reimbursed or if the wedding will go ahead.”

And a representative of the receiver, Grant Thornton, told TheJournal.ie today that the hotel was not instructed to refrain from contacting customers.

“On the contrary, the receiver requested representatives of Auburn Hotel to contact all who had booked weddings,” it said.

Grant Thornton said it has been in touch with the majority of the 40-plus couples who had been planning their weddings at the hotel.

A spokesperson for the receiver noted that voicemails were left for anyone it couldn’t reach.

However, one of the affected customers told us they have still not been contacted and fear they have lost a deposit in the region of €2,000-€3,000.

The deposits, Grant Thornton says, are “entirely a matter for the parties who took the booking and the monies for same”.

Relocating the weddings

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Aherlow House Hotel has said that management are helping a number of couples relocate their wedding receptions.

They said that Kilcoran Lodge Hotel in Cahir and Clonmel Park Hotel have agreed to accommodate couples if their chosen dates are available. They said they will not charge affected couples a deposit.

However, an affected party told us they have contacted these hotels and it’s “completely untrue other hotels are honouring those deposits … you wouldn’t expect them to”.

Another couple impacted by the closure said they received the news through word of mouth on Wednesday, 16 days before their wedding.

Bride-to-be Carol Smyth said she and her fiancée will now have scale back their honeymoon after losing out on their €3,000 deposit.

Aherlow House Hotel encouraged her last week to move their booking to Kilcoran Lodge, she said, but the couple has since agreed a deal at the Anner Hotel.

Case-by-case basis

Laura Jones, sales and marketing manager at Clonmel Park Hotel, told us they are trying to accommodate couples as best they can and are “using their discretion”.

Some couples have paid in excess of €7,000, 8,000 or €9,000. That’s quite a massive task, to ask a hotel to cover that.

She said couples who have paid a nominal fee might not be asked to pay another deposit, but the hotel is dealing with this on case-by-case basis.

It’s a very emotional time for them so they don’t need the added financial worry.

Following a number of requests for comment, the Kilcoran Lodge Hotel said its manager was away for several days and unavailable to discuss the matter.

Additional reporting by Catherine Healy

Read: ‘Deeply upset’ couples have to find new wedding venues after Tipperary hotel closes

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Órla Ryan

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