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Friday, 17th May 2024

The history of the Marcy Hotel, formerly Walkers, Westcourt, White Horse....

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Sabrina (left) and Valerie Sherlock, the proprietors of the Marcy Hotel.

Part 1, 1755 - 1899

There has been a hotel, hostelry or Inn at 31 West Street Drogheda since 1755. That’s 269 years in the very heart of the community playing a huge role in the history of the town, which must be some kind of record.

Today the hotel is called The Marcy and, along with an award-winning restaurant and a bar called Nelly’s it is run by two sisters, Valerie and Sabrina Sherlock both of whom have spent their entire careers working in the Hotel business.

Valerie in particular knows every nook and cranny of the Marcy as she was the manager of the former Westcourt Hotel in the same building since 1993 until it closed during the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020 .

For the past two years the Marcy has been home to up to 50 Ukrainian refugees but that number is reducing quickly and all 27 of the Hotel’s rooms will be available for "normal" business by mid-June.

As one chapter in the history of the hotel closes, so another opens and the legacy of previous incarnations of the building is now safe in the capable hands of the Sherlock sisters.

An old postcard of The White Horse Hotel.

Over the years the hotel has played a major role in the history of the town. On a social level, many people with have happy memories of family events such as weddings and communions in the “White Horse, Walkers or the Westcourt. Others will remember some of the legendary gigs by the likes of Phil Lynott, Mary Coughlan and Johnny Logan. The great Roy Orbison also played there.

The hotel has also played a large role in the political and commercial life of the town and has been the venue for all manner of meetings down the years. Some of the important events at the hotel and the major figures from Irish history to have stayed there are listed below by historian Sean Collins:

1755 - A deed said Dated 1755 records “John Siddells bought a site in West St to build the "White Horse Inn". Now “Marcys”. A hotel has been on this site for 261 years

1792 - Theobald Wolfe Tone, a leading Irish revolutionary figure and one of the founding members of the United Irishmen who is regarded as the father of Irish republicanism stayed in the hotel and said in his diary: "we arrived in Drogheda early and were refreshed with coffee at John Siddells Inn in West Street".

1770 White Horse Inn acquired by George Clegg from John Siddells.

1790. John Booth leased the White Horse Inn at West Street and bought it in 1803.

Daniel O'Connell.

1840 - Daniel O'Connell, often referred to as the Liberator or The Emancipator was an Irish political leader in the first half of the 19th century. He campaigned for Catholic Emancipation and stayed at the hotel on many occasions in the 1830s.

1848 - Anthony Keapock purchases The White Horse Inn on West.St. Drogheda.

1862 - Thomas Clarke Luby  an Irish revolutionary, author, journalist and one of the founding members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

“Inaugurated by Thomas Clarke Luby on a Sunday afternoon in Drogheda at Keapocks Hotel yard, [Marcys] wherein Luby had sworn in six of its citizens who afterwards took an active part in propagating the organization throughout the town and surrounding district.

Charles Stewart Parnell.

1870 - Charles Stewart Parnell was presented with the Freedom of Drogheda by the Mayor in 1884. He addressed a number of meetings at the White Horse Hotel, [Marcys] on his many visits to Drogheda. 

1880 - Artist and Sculptor John Cassidy a farmer’s son from Littlewood, Slane served his apprenticeship as a bar assistant in the White Horse Hotel and is said to have spent most of his time sketching and painting.

The practice stood to him well because today some of his paintings, notably The Bathe House and a Street Scene in Drogheda 1880, hang in Drogheda Corporation Offices. He later studied at the Manchester School of Art and exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Hibernian Academy and in Manchester City Art Gallery.

1893 - Richard McGhee M.P. Richard McGhee, a Protestant Nationalist home rule politician, Land Leaguer and trade union activist, and MP in the House of Commons for the Louth Constituency for more than 20 years had his main office in The White Horse Hotel.

[To be continued

 

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