Wednesday 21 August 2019

About the little known dining club..

Elaine Mahon

The Civil Service Dining Club catered for the state reception for the American president on June 27, 1963. Not many seem to know a great deal about it, even though the club was in existence for over 30 years.

It also catered for the garden party for JFK at Aras an Uachtarain and many other state functions such as the visit of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco to Ireland in 1961.

Its location was unique: 30 Earlsfort Terrace, around the corner from the Department of External Affairs. It had an advantage over other caterers – its kitchen connected directly to Iveagh House and a food lift gave access to the ballroom landing.

This wasn't without the occasional challenge, however.

The club was to provide a fork supper on the night of June 27 and was very nearly prevented from getting back into the building in time to do so as someone had locked the door. Special Branch managed to open it and the reception went ahead as planned.

No one was any the wiser, but this gives a small indication of the myriad things that go on behind the scenes and that staff must contend with in order for an event to go off without a hitch.

Imagine if they hadn't been able to open that door!

The club might not feature on the list of Dublin's 20th-century dining establishments, but from its creation in 1950 to when it was wound down in the late 80s, it played a role in the lives of Irish civil servants, providing meals and a venue for social functions.

Irish Independent

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