The Kilmorey Arms Hotel

The Kilmorey Arms Hotel was the main hotel of Kilkeel Town and has provided lodgings since it was built in 1843. An advert promoting the new hotel captures the excitement and expectations that came along with it, people were obviously very proud of it. It was opened and owned by John Shannon;

   ”Kilmorey Arms Hotel Kilkeel: John Shannon, truly grateful to his friends and the public for the very liberal support he has heretofore received, as an innkeeper in Kilkeel, respectfully begs to announce that he has opened the above splendid establishment, which has been recently built and fitted up by the trustees of the Earl of Kilmorey, under the immediate patronage of Viscount, Newry and Mourne M.P.’

The larder of the hotel is described as being ‘well supplied’. It boasts a cellar with the ‘choicest wines, spirits, ales, ports etc. etc.’.  There is a coach house and stables on the premises with an ‘ample supply of carriages, together with post as well as car horses… The mail car leaves Kilkeel every evening at half past six o’clock and arrives in Newry at fifteen minutes before ten. It leaves Newry every morning at five o’clock and returns to Kilkeel fifteen minutes past eight in the morning.’ [1]It has been estimated that the total cost of the building was £2000.[2]

Market Square, above, the Kilmorey ran along the right of here.

By 1899 the hotel was still in fulll swing, undergoing renovations and becoming one of the main lodgings for any visitors. In 1899 a Bazaar and Fete took place in Mourne Park and below is an advertisement for the Kilmorey Arms Hotel which was in the programme for the event;

‘This old established family and commercial hotel and been considerably enlarged and redecorated and entirely refurbished…with every accommodation and comfort for the convenience of guests.

Private rooms, ladies drawing room, spacious coffee room, commercial room and comfortable bedrooms.

The above is the principal hotel in the neighbourhood and the only one in the town fitted up with hot, cold and shower baths and electric bells.

The house is well situated in the centre of the town within ten minutes walk of the sea where there is a good bathing beach and private dressing boxes.

The terminus of Norton and Co.’s Tourist car service immediately adjoins the hotel and public cars are continually running from hence to and from  Greencastle, Rostrevor, Warrenpoint, Newry, Newcastle etc.

Charges moderate: special terms per week for boarding, and for gentlemen from Saturday to Monday.

Arthur Crory, Proprietor.’

561(A) kilmorey arms

[1] From accounts of the Kilmorey Family with Hotel, Nov. 1883 – March 1884, from NIPRO D/2638/1/23. From the rent book of Mourne Estate 1883.

[2] Quote from Dorothea Nicholson in the Hugh Irvine Collection.