Oriel House Hotel
Main Road, Ballincollig
Charles Henry Leslie, a cork banker, built Ballincollig gunpowder mills in 1794. Oriel House was Built shortly after this. It was not known as Oriel House until later. In 1834 the mills were bought by Thomas Tobin of Liverpool. He married Catherine Ellis in 1835 and they moved into the house. Catherine was a keen painter so Thomas built an ‘Oriel’ so that she could paint from the inside the house with sufficient natural light. An Oriel is a bay window that protrudes from an upper floor of a building and is braced by a corbel or bracket.
The Oriel had a glass roof and was 20 feet long by 10 feet wide. It wasn’t until after this it was called Oriel House. Sir Thomas Tobin was knighted in 1855 and was at that time employing about 500 people in the mills. During his years in the Oriel House, Sir Thomas Tobin Always wore a velvet silk oat and a silk hat of bowler form. He died in 1881 and is buried in Inniscarra graveyard. After his death Lady Catherine moved to London. The house passed through a series of owners after this, until a hotel opened there in 1983 by Bill Shanbahan. For a time, it was known as Oriel Court. Nowadays, the hotel is much larger and is owned by the Talbot hotel group.
The Oriel window still exists to this day, to the left of the main entrance. The Talbot group have rebranded some of their rooms as the Ellis Collection and The Tobin Collection in honour of Thomas Tobin and Catherin Ellis. The Original ‘Oriel’ room has now been converted into a luxurious Bridal Suite.
Text reprinted from an original article by Donagh McCarthy 1988-89 journal of the Ballincollig Community School Local History Society Volume 5.
Oriel House Hotel will host an exhibition of the old photos, articles and include an information history handout. The exhibition will take place in the Innishkenny (Old House), at Oriel House Hotel, Ballincollig between 10am to 5pm.