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Killiney History | April 17, 2024

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Victoria Arms Hotel

Victoria Arms Hotel
NameVictoria Arms Hotel
Previous NamesPost Office
AddressKilliney Village
On 1888 mapYes
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2022 | author

The Victoria Arms Hotel was located in the heart of Killiney Village on the site which now hosts the Killiney Plaza apartment development. An advertisement for the hotel, dated c.1926, indicates the type of business catered for by the proprietor, John Clancy. We know from Thom’s directory that John Clancy ran the business during the period 1926-1937. The hotel not only offered accommodation but also ‘First class groceries and provisions. The best brands of wines and spirits. Guinness Stout on bottle and draught. Luncheons, Dinners, Teas and Refreshments.’ The family with the longest standing connection to the hotel is the McKeever/Maxwell family whose affiliation began around 1878 and continued up until 1920 and possibly later.

The 1888 map shows that the local Post Office operated from the premises at that time. From Thom’s Directory 1880-1894 Peter McKeever was the proprietor of Killiney Post Office and this service along with the grocery store and hotel all appeared to operate from this location. The lease to Peter McKeever from Edward Lister K. Talbot is dated November 1888. Peter McKeever is mentioned as the proprietor of Victoria Hotel and Restaurant in a newspaper advert of 1895, he died in July 1897. The report of his funeral mentions the chief mourners, his sons Masters Ernest James and Louis. The advertisement dated 1911 from Porter’s Directory states that the hotel was ‘Established Upwards of Half a Century’

Advert for Victoria Hotel from Porter’s Directory of 1911. Courtesy of Anna Scudds.

Peter McKeever ran the post office and continued in this role until his death in 1897. His widow, Mary McKeever, took over the role as sub-postmistress from 1898 and her daughter Hilda ran the business until at least 1950. In the Thom’s listing of 1898 she is identified as Mary Maxwell having married William Maxwell, an Apothecary. She is listed as the proprietor of the hotel in 1898 and is further described as grocer and wine merchant. In the 1901 census Mary Maxwell who was Peter McKeever’s widow, had seven children, all McKeevers, living with her. Thom’s Directory records her involvement with Plasnewyd (aka Rock Lodge) from 1912 (which she was also running as a hotel around this time) until at least 1930.

A Thomas Shine is named as proprietor of the hotel in January 1923 when he was summoned for a breach of the licensing laws which was alleged to have taken place on Christmas Eve the previous year. The case was dismissed. In the same newspaper article a case against a Mr. Barre, Killiney, for opening his licensed premises on Christmas day was also dismissed. It is possible that Barre’s premises may be the pub which now houses The Druid’s Chair public house. In November 1924 reports of a court case mention the defendant, Mrs. Catherine McGeown as having purchased Victoria Arms Hotel , ‘which was since sold.’ Thom’s 1924 lists her as proprietress of the hotel. An advert for the sale of the property along with the adjoining residence ‘Hillview’ (now St. Abbey’s) appeared in The Irish Times on 30th June 1924.

Photograph from advertisement dated c.1924 when the proprietor of the hotel was J. Clancy. Photo courtesy of Ronnie Haughton

It is likely that John Clancy acquired the property in 1924 as we have come across evidence of a counterpart lease dated April 1925 John Clancy to Nora O’Callaghan Duff. John Clancy is named as the hotel proprietor from 1926 to 1937 in Thom’s Directory and he appears in the photo taken outside the premises c.1924.

In 1943 the sub-postmistress for Killiney village is Miss H. McKeever, this is Hilda who was the daughter of Mary Maxwell, and it is not clear if the post office was still operating from the hotel building at this stage. John Rush is named as the hotel proprietor in 1940, 1943 and 1947 and was living in Bayview (now Killiney Stores) at this time. This is the last Thom’s Directory record of The Victoria Arms Hotel. A lease associated with the property states that it was previously known as ‘The Balcony’ and there is mention of ‘The Balcony of St. Martin’s Cottages’ in the deeds. Thom’s 1950-54 lists a Mrs. Murray at ‘The Balcony Cafe.’ In 1960 Elizabeth Moffatt is running the establishment. A William Doyle is listed as occupier of St. Martin’s Cottage in 1975. The deeds of the property mention a Copy Assignment March 1970 Diana Muriel Kellock to Killiney Inns Ltd. The property is leased in 1972 to Henri Rolland when it became Restaurant Rolland. The lease was later assigned to Henri and Helena Rolland in 1978. In 1987 it was acquired by Catherine and Spencer Wong and opened as Jades Chinese Restaurant which was run by the Wongs until it closed down in 1995. This property was demolished a few years later, c.1998, to make way for the Killiney Hill Plaza apartment development.

You can read about the buildings which immediately adjoin the hotel here.

Death notice of Peter McKeever who died in July 1897 aged 44.

This notice appeared in The Wicklow News-Letter and County Advertiser on 24 July 1897

The quite unexpected death of Mr Peter McKeever, Killiney, was received with the greatest regret in Wicklow when it became known on Saturday evening. Mr McKeever was taken ill in the train when travelling to Dublin on Saturday morning, and died shortly afterwards in Westland-row station. The deceased gentleman and the late Mr Coffey, of Bray, had been prominent amongst the buyers at Wicklow Market since its re-establishment about 14 years ago, and the gentleman, whose death we now refer to, formerly held land at Blackditches and Three-mile-water, now in the occupation of Mr Loftus. He was an exacting man of business, but hospitable and generous in disposition. Thoroughly practical in all his transactions in life, he became extremely popular amongst those who had dealings with him. He was the principal means of carrying out what later results have proved to be a most popular undertaking-that of the laying out of the Victoria Park, Killiney, close to which his residence is situated. He owned a vintner’s license and ran an hotel up to the time of his death, and in this connection Mr McKeever occupied an unique position, inasmuch as he was one of the now very few in Ireland, but still not the only one, who was a postmaster and publican carrying on the double business as one concern. Apart from this he carried on an extensive business as a buyer and seller, and his sound and copious knowledge of the Stock Exchange Markets and current quotations of stocks and shares necessarily distinguished him as one to be looked up to for sound advice in all kinds of business transactions. Unfortunately for county Wicklow, bis untimely death has cut short a scheme which he was formulating with the help of a gentleman who is a member of one of the best known families in the county. This scheme was to purchase all the hay grown in East Wicklow, and to export it under such conditions as would benefit the two gentlemen concerned, and give the farmers who sold also a decided advantage by increasing the demand for their produce, it being taken for granted that the producers would not dispose of their hay at a sacrifice. The death of Mr McKeever has cut short a most useful career. He was, to all appearances, only in the prime of life, being but 44 years of age. With the widow and family there is wide spread sympathy, all the more that the bereavement was so sudden. The funeral took place at Dean’s Grange Cemetery on Monday.

Lease of 1888

Map of property c. 1889 indicating neighbours


YearNameName of premisesSource of information
1847-68John ClarkePost Office/Grocer, Tea, Wine and Spirit DealerThom’s Directory
c.1877-97Peter McKeeverPost Office/Victoria HotelThom’s
1877Peter McKeeverPost OfficeThom’s
1878McKeeverPost OfficeAdvert. Reply ‘care of Mr, McKeever, Post-office, Killiney’.
1882McKeeverPost OfficeAdvert. Reply ‘care of Mr, McKeever, Post-office, Killiney’.
1884Mrs. McKeeverPost Office
1887-92Peter McKeeverKilliney Post OfficeThom’s. McKeever is listed as receiver in the Post Office which was located on the premises at this time.
1888Peter McKeeverLease of 1888. Edward Lister K. Talbot to Peter McKeever
1891Peter McKeeverPublicanNewspaper report. The DuBedat Bankruptcy. Peter McKeever nominated as Trade Assignee.
1895Peter McKeeverVictoria Hotel & RestaurantAdvert. ‘A Charabanc attends the trains every hour at Dalkey station.’
1895Peter McKeeverMcKeever’s HotelNewspaper report. ‘Mr. P. McKeever must be enrolled amongst the pioneers of the revival of Irish tourist traffic etc…’
1897Peter McKeeverVictoria Hotel, Grocer and wine merchantThom’s.
1897Peter McKeeverNewspaper report. Funeral of Peter McKeever. Attendees listed. Chief mourners listed as Ernest James and Louis, sons.
1898McKeever, MrsVictoria Hotel, Grocer and wine merchantThom’s
1898McKeever’s HotelAdvert. ‘The Irish Palermo.’ ‘Well appointed Char-a-Banc.’
1900Mrs. Mary MaxwellVictoria HotelNewspaper report. Application for change of her maiden name of Mary McKeever on drink’s licence to her present name of Maxwell having remarried.
1900Mrs. McKeeverVictoria HotelThom’s. Listed as grocer and wine merchant. Also listed as postmistress.
1902Mr. MaxwellKilliney HotelNewspaper report. Mr. Maxwell purchased a well known public house in Townsend Street from Joseph Ward, chairman of Killiney Urban District Council.
1905-07Mrs. MaxwellVictoria HotelThom’s. Also listed as grocer and wine merchant. Also listed as postmistress and living in Bellair House.
1912-17Mrs. MaxwellVictoria HotelThom’s. Also listed as grocer and wine merchant. Also listed as sub-postmistress and living in Plasnewyd.
1915Mrs. MaxwellMcKeever’s ‘Victoria Hotel’Advert. (Per instructions of Mrs. Maxwell who is retiring from business). Auction notice for the sale of McKeever’s ‘Victoria Hotel’ & Killiney Bar together with ‘Bayview’, ‘Hillview’ and 5 adjoining cottages. The sale also included the 7 day licensed premises at 110 and 111 Townsend Street.
1917Victoria Hotel and Killiney BarAdvert. For Immediate Letting. It appears the auction of 1915 was not successful and Mrs. Maxwell sought to let the premises as a going concern.
1922-23Thomas ShineShine’s HotelNewspaper reports
1924Catherine McGeown, proprietressVictoria Arms HotelThom’s.
1925John ClancyCounterpart Lease John Clancy to Nora O’Callaghan Duff.
1926-36J. Clancy, proprietorVictoria Arms HotelThom’s.
1937-c.1945John Rush, proprietorVictoria Arms HotelThom’s. Also listed at Killiney Hotel and Bayview.
1950-54Mrs. MurrayThe Balcony CafeThom’s.
1960Elizabeth MoffattThe Balcony CafeThom’s.
1970Diana Muriel KellockLease to Killiney Inns Ltd.
1970-87Henri & Helena RollandRestaurant RollandLease
1987-95Catherine & Spencer WongJades RestaurantBuilding demolished c.1998 to make way for the Killiney Hill Plaza apartment development.

Stagecoach stop

The hotel was a popular destination for visitors to the area and place for taking refreshments for the various coach services which passed through the village. This is recalled by Arthur Haughton who was born in 1903. This is an extract from an article which appears in Holy Trinity Church 1858-1996, A Parish History:

The Druid’s Chair which is still there and beside it was Victoria Hotel, later known as Jades restaurant. In earlier times this had been a stage for the stagecoach which travelled up from Wexford to Dun Laoghaire. As Killiney Hill Road was so steep, the stagecoach stopped at Killiney House to change horses; the passengers alighted and walked up the hill to the hotel for refreshments, while the stagecoach came up empty and met them again at the hotel. It was then a downhill run through Dalkey to Dun Laoghaire.

Advertisement for the hotel from c.1924. Photo courtesy of Ronnie Haughton.

More recent occupants

Many will remember the well loved Jade’s Chinese restaurant which occupied the premises in the 1980’s. This was run by Catherine and Spencer Wong. Prior to this it was Restaurant Rolland and had a popular following. Before that again in the 1950’s the premises was known as The Balcony Cafe and was run by a Mrs. Murray. Over the years as the commercial premises in the village closed up shop small infill housing schemes replaced the original buildings and now The Druid’s Chair pub and Killiney Stores Deli are the only remaining commercial uses serving the locals and visitors alike.

Jades Chinese restaurant c. 1996. Photo by M.McShane
A view into the yard behind the hotel before demolition and a view of St. Abbey’s which was previously called Hillview. Photo by M.McShane

Newspaper cuttings from over the years

11th October 1866 The Irish Times
March 1900
March 1912
September 1922
January 1923