The Story of Clár Ellagh

Photo from the Laurence Collection late 19th century showing, in the top righthand corner, the terrace of houses in Seapoint as Clifton Terrace was then known.
Desmond Hotel from 1923 to 1943
Kitt Desmond and nephew
Clár Ellagh today
Clar Ellagh

A brief history of Clár Ellagh

by Yvonne McGann

In the early 1850’s Edward Cruise built two lodges at Seapoint and sold one of them on his retirement from his Limerick hotel business in 1862.The other lodge was rented out and held in trust for his daughter Annie Cruise Cox.

After changing hands a few times Kitt Desmond bought one of the lodges in 1920 and in 1923 bought the second lodge and traded very successfully as the Desmond hotel until 1943.
It was bought in 1944 by a group of Methodists from the midlands led by Rev.Samuel Crawford and under the auspices of the Christian Endeavour movement for the sum of £1,625.The money was raised by the selling of shares, voluntary contributions and a bank loan. The idea behind it was to offer people an affordable holiday in a christian environment and more importantly that people would forge new friendships and broaden their social groups.

A company called Christian Endeavour Guest House, Kilkee Limited was set up and a committee was formed under the chairmanship of Mr. Gerald Armitage, a position he held until his resignation in 1974.The official opening was held on the 21st of July 1944 and it could cater for 50 guests. In 1964 a 2nd storey was added increasing the capacity to 100 guests.

A competition was held to name the building using the initial letters C.E.and a Mr. Parkhill from Northern Ireland (who hadn’t a word of Irish) suggested Clar Ellagh. From researching it seems there’s no explanation for the name.

Clár Ellagh traded as a guest house until it closed its doors for the last time in 2006
In 2007 the property was purchased by the late Martin Cullinan just before the recession hit. It was purchased again in 2014 and turned into 3 houses.


Comments about this page

  • Thanks for the comments, Harty, and the fond reminiscences of your time in Kilkee. John Williams

    By John Williams (21/06/2022)
  • I came down from Armagh City to stay there in 1965 and 1966- it was a wonderful holiday where the people of Kilkee made us all welcome. We and they discovered that we were just ordinary people. It did more dispel -‘myths’ about each group. Alas cheap package holidays were the death knell to it. Miss Payne was in charge and a superb croquet player. We went on ‘trips’ from Clarellagh and the cliffs of Monr, the Bridges of Ross and the Burren were introduced to us and led to many and their families coming again to the area.

    By Harty Ervine (10/06/2022)

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