About six weeks before the Lyrath Estate hotel in Kilkenny was due to reopen in June, the tiles in the main foyer started popping off the floor, probably caused by changes in temperature during the hotel’s closure.

What followed was a scramble by the management team and Xavier McAuliffe, Lyrath’s owner. They had to choose and order new tiles, ship them from Italy — there were delays — and then find tilers who could lay them.

With the job nearing completion — the tilers spent nearly three weeks on site — McAuliffe decided he wasn’t happy, so he had some of the tiles lifted and refitted.

“It was a nighmare — we just finished three to four days before opening,” McAuliffe says.

It is the

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