Our Story

What’s in a name

Hennessy & Furlong is named after our founding director’s godparents: Mary Hennessy & Patrick Furlong. Both were renowned for their sense of hospitality, in particular Mary Hennessy who always made time for people. Patrick Furlong likewise had a warm welcome for every visitor; even more so, he had a great sense of history and heritage. Not taking life too seriously was important for him too, injecting humour into everyday. It is these values: hospitality, history, heritage and humour that underpin all that we do at Hennessy & Furlong.

Our Curiosity

What’s inside that high wall? What’s beyond the iron gates? Who lives inside that castle that peaks above the trees? Hennessy & Furlong was born from a delight in answers to those questions.

For years, we have been privileged to be invited inside these private historic homes. Like you, we are curious. Our senses were heightened as we journeyed inside the estate walls. We were captivated by our hosts as they shared their family heritage and stories. Homely hospitality created a relaxed ambience for more conversations. Today, we share these unique and authentic experiences with our guests giving them exclusive access to these homes of history, heritage and hospitality.

Our Philosophy – Preserving the Magic

1. PRIVATE VENUES

Our tours are through residential homes, very special ancestral homes where a warm welcome awaits you. The venues are private and often not marked on the map. We offer unique opportunities to be invited inside.

2. INTIMATE & UNSCRIPTED

Hosts and guest get to know one another. Stories and conversations flow naturally. The pace is unhurried.

3. BY INVITATION

Our hosts value their privacy and we value the quality of our guest experience. Our tours are limited to small groups as that is what our guests tell us they enjoy.

Be invited to a hidden Ireland

View 2016 Tours

The ‘We’ Behind Hennessy & Furlong

Frank Kelly

Frank Kelly

Frank has been in the travel business most of his life. When he was ten years old, his first solo trip was an adventure that brought him to the English midlands. Shakespeare country and the stately homes were part of that epic trip. Most of his professional career was spent in London which was the ideal basecamp for travel adventures in Europe, Africa and Asia. Returning to Ireland, he established Hennessy & Furlong (named after his godparents) to delight guests with invitations inside Ireland’s private historic homes and castles.

Ursula Furlong

Ursula Furlong

Movies! Golden Globes! Oscars! Mention movies to Ursula and you have a friend for life. Her other passion is, of course, travel. While she worked in the health service for many years, it really was a decoy to fund her overseas reconnaissances. Well before we ever hear of Perestroika or Glasnost, Ursula was travelling behind the Iron Curtain peering over Lenin’s body and counting the Faberge eggs in the Hermitage. Today, like us all, she enjoys researching the private venues and delights in sharing her finds with our guests.

Maureen Hennessy

Maureen Hennessy

As well as being our accountant and a passionate Irish rugby fan, Maureen is an avid traveller. Her adventures have included a volunteer trip to work in a children’s refuge in Nicaragua. Her career as an accountant gave her the opportunity to work in Australia, Switzerland and the UK which were all basecamps for travel adventures. All her travel experiences enable Maureen to step into the shoes of our guests knowing the types of experiences that leave them with special memories to cherish and share with family and friends.

Kees Van Seventer

Kees Van Seventer

Kees was originally one of our guests. He so enjoyed the experiences of being invited inside, coupled with his passion for photography, that he joined our creative team. Before Hennessy & Furlong, his first career was with Philips Semiconductors in Eindhoven. These days, Kees and his wife Angela divide their time between The Netherlands and Ireland. While in Ireland, he is busy behind the lens capturing the spirit of our experiences to share with our guests. Many of the images you see here are as captured by Kees; the stunning homes, warm welcomes and stimulating stories.

Jason Cooke

Jason Cooke

Jason is our creative director and passionate about design:  it’s in his genes coming from a family of creatives. Indeed, his father is a master engraver at Waterford Crystal. Travel is also very much part of Jason’s lifestyle where destinations inspire his creativity. Not surprisingly, favourite destinations are design hotspots: Sweden for its fascinating design culture, Italy for the perfect mix of design and culture, though it is Japan that really impresses him with what he describes as the ‘purity of design’.

David Keane

David Keane

Not only is David our online technical expert, he is also a keen traveller and polyglot. After graduating in English and Classics, he added a masters in Chinese business and culture to his armoury of skills. Living in Taiwan and China, he became fluent in Chinese. He also gets by in German and French. Living in Asia, he travelled extensively, especially to Thailand and The Philippines to enjoy his passion for scuba diving. After satisfying his wanderlust, David is back home in Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city.