Sudden Deaths at the Angel Hotel, Inns Quay, 1852-1882

he Angel Hotel at 11 Inns Quay, which supplied refreshment and accommodation to lawyers throughout the second half of the 19th century, was located in the block shown above adjacent to the west wing of the Four Courts.
Ruth Cannon BL barrister advert for Angel Hotel
The Angel as advertised on its opening in 1850. But was it as healthy as stated?

From the Dublin Weekly Nation, 17 July 1869:


On Monday Mr. John McNally, solicitor, had an awfully sudden death in the coffee room of the Angel Hotel, Inns Quay, Dublin. He went in to have some refreshment, and almost immediately after having ordered it dropped dead on the floor. Mr. McNally was a son of Counsellor Leonard McNally, who ‘defended’ the State informers of 1798, and at the same time betrayed their secrets to the Government, whose pensioner agent he was all the time. The son was not accountable for the misdeeds of his father, but this startling occurrence has for a moment brought the odious memory of the traitor prominent before the public mind.”

Mr. McNally, unfortunate son of the infamous Leonard, was not the only person with legal associations to die suddenly at the Angel Hotel. In 1852, the Weekly Freeman’s Journal reported the demise of Thomas Budds, Esq, the coroner for the Queen’s County, who died suddenly of disease of the heart in his room in the hotel the previous evening.

The Freeman’s Journal of 1 June 1882 reports a further sudden death, of Captain Wilcox, JP, Chapelizod, who having driven to town from his residence, and got down, as he was in the habit of doing, at the Angel, failed to return to his coachman at the appointed time and was found in a fit in its lavatory.  According to the report, Dr Willis, Ormond Quay, was at once sent for, and did all that medical skill could do, but Captain Wilcox never recovered consciousness and expired in about 20 minutes after the doctor’s arrival.

Something to do with the menu?

Tripe and Cowheel at the Table d’Hote at the Angel Hotel, along with Mock Turtle Soup, as advertised in Saunders’s News-Letter of 1866
A description from the Freeman’s Journal of a banquet which took place at the Angel in the 1880s.

The Angel Hotel was established at 11 Inns Quay, Dublin in 1850 by William Browne, and advertised by him in the newspapers of the time as healthily and conveniently situated for gentlemen and families visiting Dublin on business or pleasure.

Beds were available for one shilling per night, and it was suggested that professional gentlemen and others attending the Law Courts during term would find it to their advantage to take up their residence at the above establishment.

Many of them did. Due to proximity to cattle markets, the hotel was also reputed to be popular with graziers.

A later owner of the hotel was John Bergin, who died in May 1861. Some years later, the Bergin family left the Angel for another hotel in the vicinity, the Provincial, at 6 and 7 Usher’s Quay.

The Angel Hotel subsequently became the Four Courts Hotel, which survived into the late 20th century until it was in turn replaced by Áras Uí Dhálaigh.

More about the Four Courts Hotel here.

Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

2 thoughts on “Sudden Deaths at the Angel Hotel, Inns Quay, 1852-1882”

  1. Thank you Ruth for another gem. You should publish all your stories for they sure delight the mind and recreate the Dublin of long ago.

  2. Wonderful story. Those were dangerous times. How well you bring to light the topsy turvy world of victorian.

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