History of The Hardiman
Since 1852, this grand hotel has been a by-word for exquisite luxury and excellence in Galway. It has been intrinsically tied in to the history of Galway since the mid-19th century. Many notable and historic figures have been welcomed across the threshold from heads of state, kings and princes to adventurers, soldiers, writers and actors. The Railway Hotel was opened to the public on the 16th of August 1852. The first royal visitor arrived in July 1857, Prince Louis Napoleon of France.
Hotel in Wartime
In 1918, the hotel was requisitioned by the British Army and was later handed over to the Irish National Army after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1922. Following the Civil War, normality returned to the hotel and business continued as usual.
On June 15th 1919, Galway got its first glimpse of air travel when the first non-stop transatlantic flight landed at Derrygimla Bog near Clifden. Aviators John Alcock and Arthur Brown made the first non-stop transatlantic flight when they flew a modified First World War Vickers Vimy bomber for over 16 hours from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Clifden in Connemara. Both men stayed in the Hotel that night and the festivities carried on into the early hours of the morning.
In 1925, the hotel was renamed the Great Southern Hotel following the merger of the various railway companies in southern Ireland into the Great Southern Railway Company.
On Monday, October 23rd 1933, Charles and Annie Lindbergh arrived in Galway after landing his seaplane near Mutton Island. They stayed in the Great Southern Hotel, where they met with some local dignitaries.
The business was excellent prior to World War II, but when war broke out, people stopped travelling. During the war years, the staff received rations of butter, tea and sugar from the hotel. Although business suffered during the war, the following year, 1946, proved excellent with the hotel over-run with tourists, so much so, that they had to be accommodated in the lobby and any section where people could manage a nights sleep.
In June 1952, Brian Collins became General Manager. Brian Collins’ legacy in the city is the Galway International Oyster Festival. Brian Collins and Brendan Allen a prominent local businessman approached Paddy Burke of Clarinbridge and suggested the idea of holding an oyster festival to celebrate the opening of the oyster season. A year later, September 1954, the first Galway International Oyster Festival was held at Paddy Burke’s Pub in Clarinbridge and it has continued to present times.
In 2006 the Great Southern Hotels group was sold and the Galway Hotel was proudly bought by the rapidly growing Monogram Hotels group. The Monogram Hotel group portfolio consisted of the g hotel in Galway, a five-star property which was designed by Philip Treacy, and the d hotel in Drogheda and five stars Ashford Castle in Cong, Co. Mayo. Monogram Hotels re-named the Galway hotel ‘Hotel Meyrick’ in order to maintain a link to its historical background. Eyre Square was once named Meyrick...
In 2019 under new ownership the refurbishment of the Hotel began again and The Next Chapter began... The Hardiman Hotel.