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Thursday, 30th July 2020

Westcourt Hotel closes after 265 years in West Street

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The Westcourt Hotel, formerly the White Horse, has been at the the cente of the commercial and social life of Drogheda for over 260 years.

The Westcourt, formerly the White Horse, Hotel which has been at the centre of the commercial and social life of Drogheda for over 260 years, has become the town's highest profile commercial victim of the Covid – 19 pandemic.

Late last night, 29/07/20, the Hotel’s Manager Valerie Sherlock, who is also one of the directors of the company, issued a statement on the hotel’s Facebook page confirming that the Hotel will not be re-opening "in the foreseeable future" thus confirming weeks of speculation and rumour.

Michael Collins, Wolfe Tone, Daniel O'Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Éamon de Valera, C.S Lewis, Woodrow Wilson, Brendan Behan are just some of the personalities to have stayed in the hotel over the years.

Last night’s statement on behalf of the Directors of the Westcourt Hotel read as follows:  

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“It is with great sadness that we confirm The Westcourt Hotel will not reopen for the foreseeable future.

“Given the current economic and public health situation, the owners and management of the hotel do not believe there is a commercial or safe basis for reopening at this time.

“We take this opportunity to thank our many customers for their valued support over the years and the good wishes we have received in recent days.

“We also want to pay tribute to our amazing team who’s hard work, loyalty and dedication made the hotel such a wonderful & memorable venue in the heart of Drogheda.

“We will continue in our efforts to find a viable operating model that enables us open safely when the pandemic has been brought under control.

“We would like to clarify that the hotel is not being considered as a direct provision centre. The closure of the hotel does not effect Earth Nightclub.”

The Westcourt Hotel had been refurbished and modernised in recent years.

Staff at the Westcourt were told of the closure on Tuesday. A contact told Drogheda Life that the mood among staff members, many of whom had worked at the hotel for upwards of 20 years, was very sombre.

The hotel was struggling with large debts carried on from previous years which were exacerbated by the cost of a bold refurbishment programme carried out prior to the Fleadh Cheoil in 2018 including the Woodrows Bar and the West 29 Restaurant.

The hotel had a very good couple of years and by Christmas last year it seemed to have turned the corner but it needed to be operating at full occupancy, or very close to it, to survive. Covid-19 put an end to those hopes.

The clarification in Ms Sherlock’s statement that the hotel is not being considered as a direct provision centre refers to another rumour that had been circulating and gaining strength in recent weeks.

A senior official at the Department of Justice which is responsible for the direct provision service confirmed to local Deputy Ged Nash that there had been no discussions with them about such a service opening at the  Westcourt and nor was it on their horizon.

The hugely popular Woodrows Bar was part of the recent refurbishment.

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