Plan by new owners to turn well-known Wexford Arms pub into a B&B

The long-established Wexford Arms pub on John Street, one of six landmarks in Wexford town center that have been bought or taken over by an investment company, is applying for planning permission for a change of use to convert the ground floor bar into bed and breakfast accommodation.

A planning application has been submitted to Wexford County Council for a change of use and modifications to the existing internal layout and elevations at 96 to 98 Upper John Street.

The Wexford Arms, one of the city’s oldest pubs, with spacious second-floor accommodation, was auctioned off in May after being listed by Keane Auctioneers with a target price of between €450,000 and €475,000.

The sellers were siblings Chiara and Neil Feeney, whose parents Jacinta and PJ ran the popular hostel in Wexford for 30 years.

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A hospitality investment company is said to be behind the recent purchase, as well as the purchase or acquisition of other well-known Wexford properties including The Centenary Stores, Riverbank House Hotel, Walker’s Mall and Moran’s B&B at the foot of Parnell Street, with additional properties under consideration.

Formerly owned by prominent Wexford businessman Michael Tierney, the Centenary Stores pub and nightclub and Riverbank Hotel have been operated for several months by the Ireland-based company, which subsequently bought the other Wexford properties including the five-store Walker’s Mall and Five Apartments on Selskar Street and Charlotte Street auctioned by Colum Murphy of Kehoe and Associates for €645,000.

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The company took over the leases for the Centenary Stores and the Riverbank Hotel from a group of Chinese investors participating in a bailout after the deals went under review a few years ago.

Discussions are understood to be ongoing between the company and the owners of another well-known pub and accommodation provider in Wexford, with a view to purchasing another property in the town.

The company involved in the Wexford Arms planning application is called Riolaett Limited and the director’s name is Sheila O’Riordan, who is listed in the application as the owner of the pub. The company has a registered address at Suite 234 Blanchardstown Corporate, Park 2, Dublin 15.

The plans and drawings were prepared by Ken Armstrong of Armstrong Reape Architectural Services, acting on behalf of the application.

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In a cover letter, he explained that the applicants have recently purchased this property and intend to change the use, interior layout and front elevation of the existing ground floor Inn to provide B&B accommodation.

Helen O’Riordan is also listed as Corporate Director and principal shareholder of Smor Hotels Ltd, a business entity incorporated on Monday 17 June 2019 with Corporate Secretary listed as Peter Oh Riordan. Ms O’Riordan is described as a hotel consultant.

The principal activity is described as “holding company activities” and may trade as Daybreak Ennistymon, The Centenary Stores or The Stores.

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