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Pier Hotel, Rathmullan: A lasting legacy

The Pier Hotel in Rathmullan, Co. Donegal was a historic hotel that was a staple of the local community for over a century. Located on the pier in the heart of the village, the hotel has played an important role in the history of Rathmullan and the surrounding area.

Early History of Rathmullan

Rathmullan has a rich history dating back to the 16th century when it was an important port town. During this time, it served as a transport hub for goods and people traveling to and from the area. It was also an important location during the Flight of the Earls in 1607 when the last of the Gaelic aristocracy fled Ireland.

Founding of the Pier Hotel

The Pier Hotel was built on the site of a small inn and guesthouse with just a few rooms. In 1874 the inn was bought by Mr. Deeney, who ran it for 20 years before developing it into a larger hotel using the skills of an English architecht who happened to be in the area developing the Rossapenna Hotel for Lord Leitrim. The new hotel grew in popularity and became a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The hotel’s location on the pier was a major selling point, offering guests stunning views of Lough Swilly and the surrounding area.

Expansion and Renovations

Over the years, the Pier Hotel underwent several expansions and renovations to meet the growing demand from visitors. In the early 1900s, the hotel was significantly expanded, adding new rooms, a dining room, and a lounge. In the 1960s, the hotel was renovated again, with upgrades to the rooms and facilities. A function room was added when the local ballroom closed; this served many parties and celebrations during its years of existence.

Notable Guests and Events

Throughout its history, the Pier Hotel has welcomed many notable guests, including politicians, musicians, and writers. One of its most famous guests was Seamus Heaney, the Nobel Prize-winning poet, who stayed at the hotel in the 1980s. The hotel has also been the location for many important events, including weddings, conferences, and business meetings.

Admiral Jellicoe kept a room at the hotel to get rest during World War I when the British fleet were anchored in Lough Swilly. One of the most notorious guests was Oswold Moseley who drew attention to himself for his red sportscar.

Challenges and Changes

The Pier Hotel has faced many challenges over the years, including economic downturns and changing tourism trends. In the early 2000s, Jim Deeney, the grandson of the original founder retired; the hotel was purchased by new owners but saldy burned down in the early 2000s. Today, the site of hotel remains a potential development site for any keen property developer.

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