Dublin publicans to buy Cork’s historic Imperial Hotel

The Imperial Hotel's Michael Collins Suite

Donal O'Donovan

Publicans Louis Fitzgerald and Helen Fitzgerald have agreed a deal to buy Cork’s historic Imperial Hotel which celebrating its 200th anniversary a decade ago,

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commissionsaid it had been notified of a proposal by Belbyford, a company owned by the Fitzgeralds, for acquisition of sole control of The Imperial Hotel (Cork) Limited by Belbyford Limited on Monday May 15. It has allowed until May 29 for any third party submissions in relation to the proposal.

The Imperial Hotel is currently part of the family-owned Flynn Hotels Collection, along with Dungarvan’s Park Hotel, The Old Ground Hotel in Ennis and the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny.

The Louis Fitzgerald group owns and operates some of Dublin’s best-known pubs including The Stags Head, Kehoes and Bruxelles as well as two hotels – The Louis Fitzgerald Hotel and The Arlington Hotel which are also both in Dublin.

The Flynn Group invested almost €1m in a renovation of the four-star Imperial Hotel completed in 2016.

The city centre property has 125 bedrooms and has long served as a hub for Cork’s merchant and professional classes as well as tourists.

Guests have included Charles Dickens, Daniel O’Connell and Franz Liszt.

Most famously, Michael Collins spent his last night in Room 115, before meeting his fate at Béal na Bláth on August 22, 1922.

The Flynn family bought Cork’s ‘Grand Dame’ in 1998, investing €10m in a redevelopment that included the addition of its Escape Spa in 2006, before the 2016 refresh.

​The expansion into Cork comes as the Louis Fitzgerald pub group moves ahead with plans for a new Dublin hospitality venue on the site of the famous Baggot Inn in the capital’s city centre.

In March this year, the group was granted permission to open a venue on the site subject to conditions. The unit on Baggot Street is currently occupied by a KBC Bank branch, which is set to close this year. Before it was pulled down, the original pub and music venue hosted top artists including Thin Lizzy, David Bowie and U2.