Originally opened as the Galway Ryan Hotel in 1969 with almost 100 rooms, it was seen as a catalyst to the tourism industry in the city.
Mr Dermot Ryan, the Chairman of Ryan Tourist Holdings in 1969, is quoted as saying: “Our aim is to offer good food and first-class rooms with private bathroom suites at down to earth prices aiming at high occupancy spread over the whole year,” with the average price to stay in the hotel at that time just over a pound in old money.
The hotel itself has undergone many transformations over the past fifty years. 1984 saw the launch of the ‘Friendly Fellows’ kids club, which to this day entertains the little guests of the hotel and boasts the title of ‘the longest serving kids club in the country’. This ensured that The Galway Ryan Hotel led the way in domestic family holidays, and it created a tradition at the hotel where you now we see generations returning with their children and grandchildren as it is part of so many families’ history and traditions.
It holds a place in the hearts of young and old for happy holidays in Galway.
The hotel was became a very attractive and popular venue for various events from the beginning. These included weddings, parties and of course the well-attended social dinner-dances. These ‘Socials’ were hugely popular at that time and were organised by the various businesses in the city and factories that evolved around Mervue and Ballybrit close to the hotel.
The hotel always embraced the local communities and felt that this was an important aspect of the business. The hotel bar became the ‘local’ for many people living in the area. It was convenient and there was always great ‘banter’ between the customers and the bar staff. The bar was in reality a plush lounge with separate tables comfortably laid out to accommodate couples or family groups.
For many people the wonderful and unusual feature of the hotel was the so-called ‘well’ outside the bar area. This was a square section that was constructed at a lower level to the ground floor. It was surrounded by seating and accessed by steps leading down into the well on the four sides.
In March 2013, the hotel was rebranded ‘The Connacht Hotel Galway’ and continues to offer authentic customer service and a “home from home” atmosphere.
And throughout the last few years it has heavily invested in refurbishments, with the addition of almost 300 more rooms including long-stay apartments, a full leisure club and a function suite that caters for up to 180 guests, aptly named ‘The Ryan Room’, a cocktail & lounge bar to the newly renovated Bar Solo and a landscaped garden to enhance the exterior entrance of the hotel.
The 50th Anniversary celebrations promise to be a look back at the past fifty years of hospitality with old photography, the stories from the long-serving team and fond memories from our customers and will celebrate this milestone with several celebrations to be announced throughout the year.
Iconic in the minds of Galway people and a popular holiday favourite for generations. Some of the team members have worked in the hotel since the 1970’s and have seen the hotel through its various evolutions. To help celebrate fifty years the Connacht Hotel are looking for you to share your memories of this iconic venue.
So many people have worked, celebrated, stayed or just visited and The Connacht Hotel are looking for your story.