One of the best known figures in the Munster hotel industry, Dick Fizgerald, of The Woodlands House Hotel in Adare, has died after a short illness.
Mr Fitzgerald, 70, a native of Castleisland, opened a B&B at Knockanes, Adare, with his wife Mary in 1977.
What started out as a four-bedroom enterprise over the years grew to a 94-bedroom complex with its own health centre, employing over 200 people.
Mary Fitzgerald has been to the fore in promoting Mid-West tourism and is a former president of the Irish Hotels Federation.
The Woodlands House, now managed by the couple’s son, David, is one of the country’s busiest wedding venues and a successful conference centre.
When the JP McManus international pro-am was played at the Adare Manor Hotel golf resort, Tiger Woods visited the hotel every morning to avail of the hotel’s health centre and swimming pool facilities.
He and Mr Fitzgerald became good friends and Tiger got to learn about hurling from his host — one of Mr Fitzgerald’s sons, Conor, played for Limerick.
Mr Fitzgerald battled back from a serious illness which incapacitated him for a number of years and travelled to his beloved Ballybunion regularly this summer. After attending the Kerry v Mayo All-Ireland football semi-final at the Gaelic grounds, Mr Fitzgerald was back at the hotel to welcome the Kerry team for a post-game workout in the hotel’s health centre.
Mr Fitzgerald will lie in repose at the family home in Adare from 2pm today and the funeral Mass will be celebrated in Adare tomorrow.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved