The Gresham Hotel, O'Connell Street

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.


I have published an ebook on Amazon under the title "The Voyeur of O'Connell Street". It is a historical fiction (mainly factual) written from the perspective of the Hotel telling the history of its neighborhood, the city of Dublin and Ireland. The story begins in the 1600's and works its way to 2014. It contains revelations about the original owner,Thomas Gresham, that has been pieced together from various journals to provide a more robust portrayal of his life. This great Hotel has served Kings and Princesses as well as famous entertainers who have left behind stories that are only known by the Gresham (and Hugh Callaghan, the doorman). From W.B. Yeats taking the oath of the Irish Republican Brotherhood to Bob Marley's confession that he was dying. After surviving one hundred and ninety seven years (or maybe 196), the Gresham should not only be viewed as a Hotel in Dublin but also as the connection between the Dublin of old and the modern Dublin. It reveals the Irish spirit of the Rising Phoenix that raises itself from the rubble (the famine, the civil war and the Celtic Tiger) and is reborn.

Add new comment