Daly's Club

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Daly's Club, with premises known as Daly's Club House, was a gentlemen's club in Dublin, Ireland, a centre of social and political life between its origins in about 1750 and its end in 1823.

History[edit]

Daly's had its origins in a Chocolate House, established in about 1750 at numbers 1–3 Dame Street, Dublin, later described as "the only society, in the nature of club, then existing in the Irish metropolis".[1] The establishment was much frequented by members of the Parliament of Ireland. In the 1760s, a group of gentlemen who met there constituted themselves as a club,[2] which was said to be named after Henry Grattan's friend Denis Daly (1748–1791). In some ways this came to resemble White's in St James's Street, London, both in importance and exclusivity.[3]

In 1787, the blackballing of William Burton Conyngham from political motives led to an exodus of members from Daly's, who in the shape of the Kildare Street Club formed a new club which soon rivalled Daly's as a fashionable haunt.[4]

In 1790 a number of members of Daly's who were also members of the Irish Parliament paid for a new club house at number 3, College Green, close to the Irish Houses of Parliament.[3] The new premises, designed by Francis Johnston, stretched from Anglesey Street to Foster Place and were opened with a grand dinner on 16 February 1791. With marble chimneypieces, white and gold chairs and sofas covered with aurora silk, the new club house was superbly furnished.[5]

Daly's Club reached the height of its notability after its arrival at College Green.[3] It was one of the venues for meetings of the Irish Hell Fire Club, which met variously at Montpelier Lodge on Montpelier Hill, at the Eagle Tavern on Cork Hill near Dublin Castle, or at Daly's on College Green.[6]

In 1794, The European Magazine and London Review declared:

The God of Cards and Dice has a Temple, called Daly's, dedicated to his honour in Dublin, much more magnificent than any Temple to be found in that City dedicated to the God of the Universe.[7]

However, after the Union with Great Britain of 1800 put an end to the Irish Parliament by creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Club fell into a decline and was eclipsed by the Kildare Street Club.[3] Daly was followed as manager of the Club by Peter Depoe, who continued in office until 1823,[5] when the Club was closed.[8] By 1841, the Club was described in the Edinburgh magazine as "the once-celebrated, and still well-remembered, "Daly's Club" ".[1]

After the Club's demise, the novels of Charles Lever, such as Charles O'Malley: The Irish Dragoon and The Knight of Gwynne: a Tale of the Time of the Union, gave it a reputation for melodramatic romance.[3]

In Charles O'Malley, Lever gives an impression of the impact of the Club's closure:

To describe the consternation the intelligence caused on every side is impossible; nothing in history equals it – except, perhaps, the entrance of the French army into Moscow, deserted and forsaken by its former inhabitants.[9]

In 1866, Charles Dickens alluded to the fate of the Club in his All the Year Round:

Even now, next to the old Parliament House stands a stately building, cut up into half-a-dozen houses of business. This was once "Daly's Club-house," where all the noblemen and gentlemen of both Houses would adjourn to dine and drink; where were seen Mr. Grattan, and Mr. Flood with "his broken beak," and Mr. Curran, and those brilliant but guerilla debaters, whose encounters both of wit and logic make our modern parliamentary contests sound tame and languid.[10]

Notable members[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Edinburgh magazine, vol. 8 (1841), p. 319
  2. ^ Fergus J. M. Campbell, The Irish establishment, 1879–1914 (2009), p. 32: "Early in George III's reign, a group of gentlemen who met in Daly's coffee house constituted themselves Daly's club..."
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Thomas Hay Sweet Escott, Club Makers and Club Members (1913), pp. 329–333
  4. ^ The Irish quarterly review (1853), pp. 295–296
  5. ^ a b John Thomas Gilbert, A History of the City of Dublin, vol. 3, pp. 39–40
  6. ^ Geoffrey Ashe, The Hell-Fire Clubs: Sex, Rakes and Libertines (London: Sutton Publishing, 2nd edition, 2005), p. 63; ISBN 0-7509-3835-8
  7. ^ The European magazine, and London review, vol. 25 (Philological Society, 1794), p. 442
  8. ^ Don Gifford, Robert J. Seidman, Ulysses annotated: notes for James Joyce's Ulysses (2008), p. 274: "Gaming at Daly's – Daly's Club was located on what is now College Green, just southeast of the center of modern Dublin. It was founded in 1750, magnificently housed in 1790, and closed, thanks to competition from the Kildare Street Club, in 1823."
  9. ^ Charles Lever, O'Malley, the Irish Dragoon, vol. 1 (2008 edition), p. 8
  10. ^ Charles Dickens, All the year round, vol. 15 (1866), p. 496

Bibliography[edit]

  • R. E. Brooke, Daly's Club and Kildare Street Club (Dublin: 1930)

See also[edit]