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Since its establishment in 1852, the Railway Hotel - later known as the Great Southern Hotel and in recent years as Hotel Meyrick - 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-nineteenth century and many notable and historic figures have been welcomed across the threshold from heads of state, kings and princes to adventurers, soldiers, writers and actors.

In 1670, a Cromwellian Officer named Edward Eyre acquired by lease a number of properties, among them the area now known as Eyre Square, lease for 99 years at a yearly rent of £3. He also acquired the house of Robert Martin, which was located approximately on the site of the present day hotel. Fast forward to the mid-nineteenth century and a block of tenement houses which occupied the site had to be demolished to make way for the hotel. The build was completed at a cost of £30,000 for the Midland and Great Western Railway Company. The company’s architect, John Skipton Mulvany, designed both the Galway railway station and hotel.

One of the first functions ever held at the ‘Railway Hotel’ was the Galway Subscription Ball organised by Lady Clanmorris and Lady Redington and held just 10 days after opening. It was the event of the year and all acknowledged the hotel as being the lap of luxury!

The first royal visitor arrived in July 1857 when Prince Louis Napoleon of France visited for lunch, shortly after landing in Galway docks on board his steam yacht La Reine Hortense.