If the walls of The Hardiman Hotel could talk, we’re sure they would have many’s the fable for us. Looking out onto Eyre Square since 1852, the building has taken on its fair share of different monikers over the years. From The Railway Hotel to Hotel Meyrick and now The Hardiman, this imposing building has remained a constant amidst an ever-changing city.
Let’s take a look back at the century and a half of history that has brought this elegant, luxurious hotel to where it is today…
Way back in 1670, a Cromwellian Officer by the name of Edward Eyre held the lease of a number of properties, including what we now know to be Eyre Square and the then home of Robert Martin which sat where The Hardiman proudly sits today. Believe it or not, the lease was for 99 years, costing just £3 per year - simpler time, ay?
Jump forward to August 16, 1852, when The Railway Hotel opened its doors to the public and began the tradition of high-class hotels that would occupy this site for generations. Many’s the function was held within The Railway Hotel, with the event of the year - the Galway Subscription Ball - taking place just ten days after its opening.
Over the years, the hotel welcomed a number of note-worthy guests including Prince Louis Napoleon of France but in 1918 - during wartime - the building was seized by the British Army and later handed over to the Irish National Army. Once the Civil War came to an end, business resumed as usual and continued to operate at The Railway Hotel until 1925, when it became the Great Southern Hotel, following the merger of southern Ireland railway companies.
With the 1940s came the torment of World War II, during which people stopped travelling and staff received rations of butter, tea and sugar from the hotel. While the business suffered amid the global chaos, 1946 - the year following the war’s end - certainly made up for lost time. The Great Southern was so overrun with visitors that some guests were accommodated in the lobby and just about any other area they could get a good night’s sleep!
Many years of successful business later, in 2006, the hotel was bought by the fast-growing Monogram Hotels group and Hotel Meyrick was born. Maintaining the link to the area’s historical location - Eyre Square was once known as Meyrick Square - Hotel Meyrick was the perfect fit. Completing refurbishments in April 2009, many people have passed through the doors for an opulent night’s stay or an elegant afternoon tea on a Sunday.
Opening up a new chapter in 2019, The Hardiman Hotel took the reins of this iconic landmark. The name is a nod to James Hardiman, a well respected gentleman with a grá for history, culture and the arts who remains to this day a fine example of Galway’s passionate community. Offering generous hospitality and charming service, The Hardiman Hotel opens its doors once again on July 17. The building has welcomed a number of presidents, politicians, musicians and writers over the years and the feeling of historical significance is palpable as soon as you step inside the lobby.
Find out more or book your stay right HERE.
Hardiman Hotel photos via | © Hardiman Hotel