independent

Sunday 22 July 2018

Docks Hotel to create up to 20 jobs

Owner John Murphy in the bar area
Owner John Murphy in the bar area
The under construction hotel on John Street

David Looby

Work is progressing on a new hotel in New Ross which, when opened, will provide up to 20 jobs in the town.

The Docks Hotel was bought by Drummond businessman John Murphy following an auction in mid-2017. The reserve price for the hotel (formerly Portovino) bar and restaurant overlooking the River Barrow was slashed by almost half to €275,000, a fraction of what its previous owners had paid for it.

Located in a historic part of New Ross, the hotel, which had a popular nightclub, restaurant and bar, is a mill conversion on the approach to New Ross town adjoining a local authority car park.

Work began on the site late last year, with local man Tom Kavanagh leading the project.

Speaking from South Africa where he was on a business trip, Mr Murphy said: 'I enquired about the hotel several years ago. It didn't and it couldn't happen so when it came up for auction Tom let me know.'

An initial bid was refused but after negotiations it was accepted.

Closed in 2013, it is hoped the hotel will reopen later this year.

Mr Murphy said extensive work is being carried out both inside and outside the hotel to improve access and the layout of the premises.

The owners plan to have a feature bar in the centre of the ground floor, with stunning views of the Barrow.

There will be ten bedrooms located on the bottom floor.

Mr Murphy said the hotel's proximity to the river will be a major feature and with the 'Red Bridge Greenway' due to run along the north quays and a river cruise planned, the owner is hopeful that the hotel's location will attract many customers.

'It has fantastic views on both sides, left towards the bridge and right twards the ferry. It is half the length of a football field pitch.

'We have taken out the bar and furniture so it's a blank canvas now.'

Disabled access will now be through the car park side of the hotel and not the Craywell side. New steps are being laid and a low wall was removed improving sight lines.

Combined with New Ross Municipal District's plan to underground high cables and improve the street's footpath, the aesthetic appeal of the once run down street is due to be improved.

Mr Murphy said: 'I couldn't emphasise how supportive and helpful (District Director) Eamonn Hore and Executive Engineer Abraham Dunne have been. I did the groundwork the same way as the street so it blends in well.'

Mr Murphy said there will be a 'wow factor' to the hotel which people look forward to enjoying food and drinks in.

'People will be pleasantly surprised if all the plans work out.'

He said the hotel rooms were in good order and will be refurbished by a family team running the operation.

'We are hoping to open as soon as everything is sorted. There will be decent job creation there with up to 15 and 20 part and full time jobs being created.'

Large sliding doors are being installed at the rear of the hotel affording sweeping views of the river.

Mr Murphy, who runs a plant hire company in the UK employing just under 500 people, also runs a bar in Essex and is, through the acquisition of Docks Hotel, planning to develop business interests closer to his Drummond roots, which he left many years ago.

New Ross Standard

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