Deputy General Manager Jan Mitchell; General Manager Roger Russell; and Corporate Sales & MICE Manager Kylie Basnett celebrating the Metropole Hotel’s 125th birthday. Photo: Colm Lougheed

The Metropole Hotel celebrates 125 years

One of Cork city’s most iconic hotels is celebrating 125 years of business this week.

Since opening its doors on MacCurtain Street in 1897, the Metropole Hotel has been at the epicentre of life on Leeside, counting Walt Disney, John Steinbeck, and even King Edward VII amongst its famous guests.

The building was designed by architect Arthur Hill and built to the highest standards and opulence of the day by John Delaney and Co Builders. First owned by the Musgrave family of merchants until 1977, the Metropole was then sold to a consortium of local businessmen. Today it is part of Trigon Hotels and employs more than 100 people.

The Metropole made headlines around the world in the 1950s when British actress Dawn Addams stayed there. She visited the city in 1957 for the Cork Film Festival which was screening her film ‘A King in New York’. Her requests for a bath of milk were refused by the hotel manager Douglas Vance as the people of Cork were finding it hard to make ends meet at the time.

Other notable guests include actors Gregory Peck and James Mason, directors Vittoria de Sica and John Huston, and writer Frank O’Connor, as well as legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.

The Metropole is also responsible for the Cork Jazz Festival which has grown into a world-renowned annual event after being founded by Sales and Marketing Manager Jim Mountjoy in 1978. Commenting on the 125th anniversary, Managing Director of Trigon Hotels Aaron Mansworth called it a huge milestone and said the achievement is largely due to the thousands of people who have worked at the hotel over the


He said: “People like Douglas Vance who was General Manager for 38 years from 1944 until he retired in 1982. He transformed the hotel into the top class venue it is today, introducing the highest standards of service and cleanliness. We count ourselves incredibly lucky to have such dedicated and loyal team members working with us today, many of whom have been at the Metropole for decades.”

To mark the 125th birthday, the hotel has launched a new cocktail menu giving a nod to the history and nostalgia of the hotel. It is also showcasing the history of the hotel with new displays and will be running tours for guests throughout the summer.

General Manager Roger Russell said: “Cork city has vastly changed over the years, but the Metropole remains a constant. It is wonderful to see generations of families return year after year celebrating the important milestones like christenings, weddings and anniversaries and I hope it will continue for another 125 years more.”