Cliff Townhouse History
Rooted in Georgian History
Cliff Townhouse, Dublin – the only restaurant-with-rooms on St Stephen’s Green – has one of the most prestigious addresses in the capital. It occupies a late 17th-century house on the square’s north side, originally the home of the Earl of Shelburne.
Throughout the 18th century, the house was owned by a number of Ireland’s most prominent families, with John Pratt (Paymaster General), the Ormsbys and St Ledgers among them.
The St Ledgers kept the house until 1790, when it was sold to Thomas Leighton – a modest Ulster trader and shopkeeper who went on to make his fortune with the East India Company. Later knighted, he demolished the existing house and erected two new homes, numbers 22 and 23, selling the latter.
Number 22’s next significant incarnation occurred in 1884, when it became the headquarters of The Friendly Brothers of St Patrick for the county of Dublin Knot, making it the oldest private members club in Ireland. The organisation’s chief concern was to abolish duelling, a grave problem during the Ascendancy period.
DURING THE 20TH CENTURY, MANY INTERESTING PEOPLE STAYED AT NUMBER 22
Samuel Beckett spent some time writing here. In its more recent history, chef Richard Corrigan established Bentley’s restaurant at the townhouse in 2008. The O’Callaghan family took over the entire property in 2010.
Since 2010, Head Chef Sean Smith has been at the restaurant’s helm. The nine individual guestrooms have been renovated to create a modern restaurant-with-rooms within this classically beautiful building. Cliff Townhouse is managed by Orlaith McCann-Fox, who instils the property with warm Irish hospitality.