Chairing a historic meeting

 

THE SOCIAL NETWORK:Denis O’Brien, the head concierge of the Shelbourne Hotel, had two important guests – and two exceptionally important chairs – to look after on Thursday evening. Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan and Sen Paul Coghlan arrived at the hotel to celebrate the grand old lady of St Stephen’s Green winning an RLife Discovery Award. The two politicians are Kerry to the core, as is the general manager of the Shelbourne, Stephen Hanley.

The Shelbourne beat 171 other hotels for the award. All the hotels in the Renaissance group were given the task of creating something central to the culture of their hotel, and the Shelbourne won for its new museum of memorabilia.

The museum houses two chairs from the hotel’s Constitution Room. According to O’Brien, who is also the Shelbourne’s resident historian, Michael Collins sat on one, and Darrell Figgis sat on the other. Collins chaired the first meeting to draft the Constitution in the Shelbourne, and then Figgis took over as chairman for the other sessions.

O’Brien gives free lectures and a tour of the hotel on the last Sunday of every month. “The tour is free,” he said, “and is rounded off with tea and homemade biscuits, which are also free.”

All the stops were pulled out on Thursday evening by director of operations Alan Mahoney and food and beverage director Eamonn Casey. O’Brien gave a short lecture on the history of the hotel, from 1824 to the present.

Residents of the hotel were invited to the impromptu party, along with neighbours and regulars from the hotel’s bars. Miriam Campion, who lives across from the hotel on Kildare Street, was highly impressed with O’Brien’s “beautifully spoken fluent Irish” at the beginning of his speech.

What we ateGoat’s cheese tartlet; Carlingford oysters; Lamb kofta and a meringue ice-cream mini-cone

What we drankValdo Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Marca Oro; La Tourelle cabernet sauvignon