KenmareSepia

The first recording of 25 Main Street is in 1819 when it is listed in the town map as being leased to Samuel Kingston for the princely sum of 2s 6d a year! A visit to his shop to pawn items of clothing and bedding was the final stop-gap action of those about to enter the workhouse...

In order to service the new market town Munster Bank was pursuaded to open a branch in the town in return for receiving premises rent free for 5 years. As an added incentive the accounts of Kenmare Union were transferred from the National Bank in Killarney to the new Kenmare Bank. It was soon "fitted out in superior style" at Lord Lansdowne’s expense. In 1870 the bank seemed to be doing well and farmers were encouraged to lodge/invest their money instead of leaving it at home in danger. In 1885 the bank collapsed during an agricultural crisis.

After the Bank, Dr. Horgan bought the building. It then passed to Masie Murphy, she had a boarding house there. A short spell as a school followed and there was a reunion of one of these classes recently held in the existing restaurant.


In 1992 Matthew D'Arcy a Dubliner and his wife Aileen (nee O’Brien from Tralee) bought 25 Main Street and opened up d’Arcy’s Restaurant and B & B. Their two sons - Cian was three years and Morgan three months. A lot of Morgan’s formative years were spent in a linen basket or a deep sink as the daily rituals attached to running such a business were carried out. (I’m sure he has volumes for a shrink to deal with.)

Matt previously head chef of the Park Hotel Kenmare, held the Michelin Star for a number of years. Aileen also a chef there, worked in pastry, starters and fish. A recipe for romance indeed and the two were married in 1988.

Not long established in d’Arcy’s Restaurant and Matt’s culinary skills ensured their reputation went from strength to strength and the accolades appeared. They held the Michelin Red M for a number of years and many other prestigious awards and enjoyed fantastic local trade plus regulars stretching as far as Killarney, Tralee and Cork complimented with seasonal tourists.

Unfortunatley, due to Matt’s untimely death Aileen ran the restaurant for a couple of months and then leased it to her good pal Pat Gath, who enlisted chef extradonaire James Mulchrone, now famous for his very successful 'Jam' enterprises. They ran a great show for years. Aileen then renovated the building dividing it into two units, to increase the restaurant and bedroom capacity. She leased it out and it was opened as an Oyster Bar and Grill. Due to current economic climate the keys were returned to her on Sat. 29th August 2009. So with the help of a few great friends and her sons, they worked like trojans and re-opened on Fri. 4th September, to the great delight of the people of Kenmare who are happy to see a the d'Arcy family back in the Old Bank House.

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