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27/09/2021

HOSPITALITY HEROES: Legendary Kilkenny hotel better than ever as doors reopen

Eddie Langton of Langtons Hotel Kilkenny is one of our Hospitality Heroes, awarded by the Kilkenny People and Iconic Newspapers. Eddie and his family are true heroes in their field, with three generations of Langtons serving the people of Kilkenny for over 70 years.

Langtons Hotel Kilkenny is an award winning four star city centre hotel in one of Ireland’s oldest medieval cities. Originally Langtons Bar, it has grown throughout the years to become a Restaurant, Hotel, Music Venue/Theatre, Wedding Venue, Shop/Bakery and a Tea Rooms.

In my interview with Eddie Langton last week, he took me on an unexpected journey down memory lane, while letting a few cats out of the bag!

Eddie recalls “the bar started under my grandmother’s family – the O'Connors from Bagenalstown. It was originally known as O’Connors 1938. Bridie O’Connor was my grandmother and she married Ned Langton, and it became known as Langtons Bar.”

What started off as a bar, soon turned into a boarding house, with Bridie feeding the Kilkenny hurlers for decades. Ned’s bother Jim Langton played for Kilkenny Senior Hurling team and to this day the Langton family are huge GAA supporters, along with other sports and Clubs.

Following in his grandmother's footsteps, Eddie tells me “unfortunately we are not allowed to feed the hurling team in our restaurant at the moment, due to Covid restrictions. So instead we drop up food training boxes to them, but we can’t wait to have them back in with us again.”

When Eddie’s grandfather Ned died in 1975, Eamon his son took over the family business. Eamon was always very involved in music and brought that element and new look to the family establishment, along with extensive developments.

“When we were kids, our massive back garden was developed into the restaurant. The building continued to grow into our neighbours plots, to what we know as Langtons today. Bridie's Bar & General Store was opened in 2010 and that’s the story up to now.”

So if Bridies was called after Eddie’s grandmother, I wondered who Harry’s Bar was called after. Eddie gave a little chuckle before answering this one! “There’s two reasons, it’s called after Harrys in Venice, which is one of Eamon’s favourite bars. He (Eamon) is going to kill me for telling you the other reason, but it’s also called after his nickname Flash Harry!”

Music has always been at the heart of the Langtons culminating in the development of their very own SET Theatre. Unfortunately like every music venue, this has remained closed and empty since March 2020. Eddie is hopeful that music and entertainment can return to venues by this autumn.

Langtons is also a very popular wedding destination and Eddie really feels for the brides and grooms during this pandemic “we can move a concert date, refund a ticket or change the band, it’s pretty straight forward. Personally I think it’s tougher on brides and grooms with all the continuous movements on numbers and restrictions.”   

 However he does think there’s a small positive about the lockdown for the family business.

“One for us was taking the opportunity the redevelop our gardens properly. When the outdoor dining seizes, we will still have beautiful gardens left for our guests.”

He isn’t wrong there as the City Centre hotel boasts several outside dining areas, all beautifully and tastefully decorated.

So how did Eddie and his family get through the lockdowns while Langtons was closed for business? “Lots of river walks with the kids. We live near the Bennettsbridge Loop and know that we are so lucky to have this facility. Also running around the Clara GAA Pitch has kept me sane!”

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