Cliff at Lyons History
Contemporary luxury in a lovingly restored Georgian setting.
Cliff at Lyons hotel near Dublin, occupies a collection of historic village houses, a barracks, forge and mill situated on the Grand Canal in Kildare.
They originally formed a lockyard, flanking the southernmost of two waterways connecting Dublin in the east of Ireland with the River Shannon in the west.
The big house nearby was an important Irish estate, Lyons Demesne, belonging to an old Kildare dynasty.
The first Lord of Cloncurry, Nicholas Lawless, built the main Georgian mansion here in 1797.
His son, Valentine, the second Lord of Cloncurry, was a champion of the Irish cause who was twice imprisoned in the Tower of London for his sympathies towards the 1798 Irish Rebellion. Known as ‘the Irish Patriot’, Valentine, who dressed in green, was a passionate advocate of Irish culture.
The buildings that form today’s 16-acre Cliff at Lyons evolved into a village in the 1820s, which had a mill, the Jolly Angler’s Inn – which became a police barracks in the mid-19th century – a hotel and even a Church of Ireland boarding school.
The flourmill, damaged in a fire in 1903, was run by Joseph P Shackleton, a relative of the famous Antarctic explorer. Horses would be changed here, beside the double lock on the canal.
In 1962, the entire estate, including the lockyard buildings, were bought by University College Dublin. Although the farmland was being used for student education, the main house and lockyard buildings fell into disrepair.
The renovation of the property did not begin until 1996, when Tony Ryan, co-founder of Ryanair, bought Lyons Demesne, including ‘The Village’, as the lockyard buildings became known.
On Ryan’s death in 2007, he was interred in the chapel at Lyons. The main house was kept on by his sons. The Village — which Ryan had developed into a venue for private events — was sold to Cliff Collection in January 2016. In July it reopened as a hotel.