The Gresham Hotel on O'Connell Street is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Dublin. The hotel was destroyed in the Civil War in 1922, but was rebuilt and re-opened in 1927.
This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.
The Gresham Hotel, O'Connell Street
One of the oldest and most famous hotels in Dublin is the Gresham Hotel on O’Connell Street. It got its name from Thomas Gresham who started the hotel in the nineteenth century.
Thomas Gresham had a very sad start in life. He was abandoned as a baby on the steps of the Royal Exchange in London, and because no one knew his name, he was called Thomas Gresham after the man who founded the Royal Exchange.
When he grew up, he came to Dublin and became the head butler in the house of a well-off man in Parnell Square. It’s a mystery where he got the money, but in 1817 he bought two large Georgian houses numbers 21 and 22 Sackville Street (which is now called O’Connell Street).
At that time the Irish economy was doing very well and Dublin was the second largest city of the British Empire after London. As Ireland was governed from England, there was a lot of travel between the two countries, so the hotel business was booming, especially in Sackville Street, where people from the country got their coaches to the port to catch their boats.
The hotel was destroyed in the Civil War in 1922. It was rebuilt and opened again in 1927. The building was designed by an English architect, Robert Atkinson, and he built it in line with the other buildings on the street.
The façade of the hotel, that means the main entrance, was always there to welcome the guests. It went through changes with the building, and the latest change was in 1999. New bed rooms and dining areas were added in 2006.
One of the best days at the Gresham was New Year’s Day 1961, when the new Irish television station, RTÉ, was first broadcast from that building.
Many famous people have stayed at The Gresham – perhaps you have heard of the Beatles or Manchester United? Well they stayed at the Gresham like many more celebrities including a real Princess - Princess Grace of Monaco.