LIMERICK CHRONICLE, SATURDAY, MARCH 1, 1962
HISTORIC PASSAGEWAY DISCOVERED IN CRUISE’S HOTEL
INTERNAL structural alterations at present being carried out in Cruise’s Hotel have brought to light interesting associations with the stage coach era, going back even before the time of Bianconi, where the hotel was a halting and departing point for the coaches.
Reconstruction work on the ground floor and entrance hall of the hotel has led this week to the discovery of the original flagstones where the coach offices were situated, and on which walked many of Europe’s Royalty, brilliant stage personalities, eminent barristers and patriots.
Proprietor of the hotel in 1791 was George Russell a member of a famous Limerick family of industrialists and philanthropists. He retired in 1806, and was followed in their time by Samuel Dickson, William Collopy and Eliza Moriarty. Then came Daniel Cruise, one of the greatest hoteliers of his day and it was he who made Cruise’s Hotel world famous. After him came John Joseph Clery, who later became Mayor of Limerick. The Flynn family next took over the proprietorship and when it passed from them extensive reconstruction work was begun which resulted in the Cruise’s Hotel that we know today.
The 170 years of history laid bare this week brings us back to some of the great figures who choose Cruise’s as their hotel.
It was the temporary home of visiting actors to the theatre Royal, then situated where the present Augustinian Church now stands. It was the home and mess of the Barristers of the Munster Circuit. From the beginning of the 19th century Daniel O’Connell stayed there. He was a personal friend of at least two of the proprietors and the hotel saw him rise from the lowly, ill-briefed barrister to the greatest personality in Ireland’s legal history.
It saw, too, that great day which led later to Catholic Emancipation, when in 1828 O’Connell won the Clare election and so became the first Catholic to be elected to Par