bridge st
Bridge St. from St. Mary's Church of Ireland Graveyard Photo: © N&DHS

russell arms hotel
The Russell Arms Hotel
was located at the lower end of Ludlow St. top of Bridge St.
(not Academy St. as indicated in the postcard above)

Sale of the Russell Arms Hotel (Meath Chronicle, 1903)

The sale of the Russell Arms Hotel "The Club" as it is popularly called attracted a large muster of people.  Messrs. Patrick Smyth & Son had carriage of sale.  Earl Russell is landlord of the hotel which is held under lease dated June 1897 for 40 years.  The fine stables sold with the premises are held under lease dated March 1882 from the late R.H. Medge for 31 years.  Mr John Spicer  Blackwater Mills was declared the purchaser, at £1,030. It was built by agents of the Duke of Bedford as a place where gentlemen of the county could meet, and so it  became known as 'The Club'.

The hotel, which was one of the most popular entertainment spots in the town between the 1970s and 1980s, was torn down to make way for the establishment of a similar, modern venture on the site, the Newgrange Hotel.

The Russell Arms Hotel was at the centre of the county’s equestrian fraternity hosting dinner parties and providing a meeting place after the hunts.

The origins of the Russell Arms go back as far as 1842 when the agents of the Duke of Bedford, Lord John Russell, inherited the lands on the Ludlow estate.

club menuLord John Russell, after whom the hotel was named, was the Prime Minister of Britain during the years of the Great Famine. The venture was initiated by his agents who wanted to provide a meeting place “for the gentlemen of the county”.

Although it’s not certain as to when it was actually built, local historians believe it was constructed well in advance of the turn of the century.

As the decades passed, the Russell’s clientele moved gradually away from the horsey set to cater for the entertainment of the general public.

By the 1970s the Russell was a thriving nightclub and music venue and last week, as the historic landmark was pulled down, there was a lot of reminiscing among people in the late thirties age bracket who recalled the good craic they had during the hotel’s glory days.

The infamous Tudor Rooms, a series of atmosphere ridden, oak paneled rooms, was the spot to be on nights out and the running comment was that if the walls in the Tudor Rooms could talk, some strange stories would be told!

Down through the years, the Russell Arms changed hands several times.  Before local property developer John Cusack bought the site for his new hotel venture, the concern was owned by the local Shanley family.

His plans to demolish the building ran into problems when his planning application had to go before An Bord Pleanála after objections were lodged against it.

However, the State planning agency gave it the go-ahead just over a fortnight ago.

The move has paved the way for a new 36-bedroom hotel comprising a theme bar, lounge bar, reception area, dining and function rooms and a basement nightclub.

All going well in fifty years time people will be saying the same things about the new nightclub and bar as they said about the Tudor Rooms so maybe a circle in modern local history can start again!

Bridge Street

At the junction of Bridge Street, Academy Street and Circular Road, there was an under bridge to allow for an extension of the Boyne Navigation to Trim.  This extension never went ahead.  In the 1980s Circular Road was extended to meet the new Inner Relief Road.

At 17 Bridge Street, a local sculptor, Thomas Curry, had his workshop here. He sculpted the Cross on the Trimgate Street side of St. Mary's Church.  On one side is a figure of the Crucifixion and on the other is the Stabat Mater.  The Cross is distinctive because at the bottom are sculpted some of the implements used in the Crucifixion.

SourcesMeath Chronicle Centenary Book, p.51.

Wedding Menu above - an advertisment in the Navan Rugby Club Programme to commemorate the formal opening of the Pavilion  21 Dec 1969