Imperial Hotel changes hands as local firm swoops in for property


Imperial Hotel changes hands as local firm swoops in for property
By Ian Cameron

The landmark Imperial Hotel in Dundalk has been bought by local accountancy firm Frank Lynch and Company.

The 50 bedroom hotel is being sold by receivers Deloitte. The last of Dundalk's town centre hotels, the Imperial houses both the popular Parkes Bar and Silence niteclub.

Frank Lynch & Co have a pedigree when it comes to hotel management having been involved in the refurbishment of The Four Seasons Hotel in Carlingford recently.

According to Frank Lynch the hotel will run as normal for a period of time with significant refurbishment planned for the near future.

“There's no hotel within Dundalk itself and for a population of 40,000 people that's quite unique. Anybody looking to stay in a hotel in the area has to go out to Ballymac”, stated Mr Lynch when he spoke to the Democrat on Monday.

“It's a 50 bedroom hotel which we believe is a viable business and we feel there is a need for it.”

The possibility of hosting conferences and other events at the hotel in the future is something the company are keen to explore.

The Imperial Hotel, Park Street, Dundalk, stands on the site of three old premises at 96, 97 and 98 Park Street, the original hotel on the corner of Rampart Lane, was at No. 96.

According to the Irish Historic Towns Atlas (No. 16 Dundalk), written and edited by Harold O’Sullivan; the premises was first used as an hotel in 1856 but may have existed as an inn before that date.

Mentioned in Bassett's Guide to Louth (1886) but no name given. Tempest's Annual of 1897 says that the proprietor then as a Patrick O'Toole.

According to Victor Whitmarsh in his 'Old Dundalk' pictorial book, (1988) the Imperial was owned 'at the turn of the century' by a Mr. Connolly whose family came from Clanbrassil Street and owned the Lorne Hotel (No. 15).

He purchased the Imperial from Felix P. Campbell who became the fist Honourary Secretary of the Emmet Band when it was established in 1863 by Peter and Tom McEvoy. A Hugh O'Hare had owned a furniture and cabinet making shop at 97 and, when he died in 1917, his premises was purchased. By 1918, the hotel had doubled in size and was advertising as 'the largest hotel between Dublin and Belfast.'

No. 98 was owned by a Bernard Hamill who ran an extensive grocery business and was an early member of the Dundalk Urban District Council. After Hamill's death in the 1960s, his premises was sold to the Quinn family and all three old premises were demolished and the present structure completed in about 1970.

The Imperial (including O'Hare's) had been bought in about 1940 by Mrs. Irene Quinn who owned the Ballymascanlon Hotel and for many years was managed by her son Peter Quinn. The hotel was one of the Quinn Group hotels which included the Ballymascanlon, The Fairways, Haggardstown and another hotel near Dungannon in county Tyrone.