The Victoria Hotel on Cork’s St Patrick’s Street has had Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins and even Winston Churchill among its guests since the building first opened its doors more than two centuries ago.
Also famous for hosting the second ever meeting of the Gaelic Athletic Association, in December 1884, it closed for business a few years ago.
But its recent purchase for a reported €750,000 by retail investor Joe Donnelly, and now the sale of its contents by auction on Saturday, mean the building’s days as a hotel and entertainment venue look to be well and truly consigned to history.
Hugh McPhillips of Marshs auctioneers, who is selling the contents for the new owner, said people of a more recent vintage will remember the Victoria Hotel as home of CoCo’s nightclub.
“The sale will take place right here on the dance floor at what, for those old enough to remember, was the big disco spot in Cork city in the 1980s and early 1990s. We won’t be selling the floorboards, but the lots for sale do include the circular railing on the stairs to the mezzanine looking down on it,” he said.
Also for sale is the solid wood bar, brass railing, and wood panelling from the hotel bar, the Gay Future, named after the horse at the centre of a 1974 betting scam in Britain masterminded by a Corkman.
From its first-floor window, Parnell was drawn for the London Illustrated News giving a speech to his followers in 1890. The building survived the burning of Cork City during the War of Independence in December 1920. But a glass canopy fronting the St Patrick’s Street entrance, of a building opened in 1810, was taken down in the early 20th century.
The contents being sold will be available to view tomorrow afternoon and on Saturday morning in the building itself, where Mr McPhillips will be wielding the gavel from noon.
While bidders are unlikely to scoop themselves prize relics of guests like James Joyce, John Redmond, or Liam Cosgrave, among the furniture and fittings are some old photos of a historic Cork in which the hotel was a landmark institution.