History - The Club House Hotel Kilkenny
The Club House Hotel is the oldest hotel in Kilkenny. It was also the first establishment of its kind in the city to take the name of 'hotel' in place of the old term 'inn'. The Club House gets its name from the Kilkenny Foxhunters' Club, which was established in 1797 by Sir John Power. This club has its club in Patricks Street, under new management of a Mr. Rice. In 1817, to exploit the opening of the new Cork Road, it was formed into a hotel. Apart from catering for weary travellers, the hotel provided accomodation and sustenence for hunt members who were to exchausted (or not exchausted enough) to go home
John Walsh then entered into partnership with Mr. Rice. They added to the Club House the adjoining premises which had been the residence of Archdeacon Helsham Messrs. Walsh & Rice opened the establishment on 4th August, 1817, calling it the Hibernian Hotel and Foxhunting Club. The excellent management and fare of the hotel became known far and near. In 1834, Henry Inglis, on a tour of Ireland wrote of the Club House:
The Club House or Hibernian Hotel Kilkenny is one of the very best I have ever found in any country, London not excepted. The Wine is better quality than in England and an excellent whiskey punch was to be had for five pence.
Around the year 1859 a Mr. Simon Morris suceeded Messrs. Rice and Walsh proprietor of the hotel. Mr Morris. often told of the great feat performed by Jack Courtanay, from County Cork, who for a wager of £50, rode his famous White Lion from the Club House Stables, up the hotel stairs into the club room (now known as Georgian Dining Room), jumped a fire screnn and rode back again to the stables. Mr Courtney was over sixty years of age at the time. He won the wager
Mr. Thomas F. Murphy purcheased the hotel in 1888. He renovated the premises, employing highly skilled Kilkenny craftsmen, and reopened it in 1889. The Hote continued to flourish until Mr. Murphy's death in 1922, after which his widow Mary ran the hotel. Mrs Florence Lee subsequently took ove the hotel and sold it to Jim Brennan in 1977. The Club Hosue is still a popular meeting place for numerious clubs and socities, and is run by a father and son team Jim & Ian Brennan