The town of Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare takes its name from Lisdoonvarna Castle which was reportedly built in 1619 by Denis Cloghessy, and once stood about 1.5 miles outside the present day town. The Ordnance Survey Map of 1840 records 3 houses in the main part of Lisdoonvarna town, with a number of cottages at nearby Rooska. The property deeds of the Royal Spa Hotel date from 1832.
Sourced from the 1876 A Handbook of Lisdoonvarna, Cyril Ó'Céirín's 1998 re-release of this text with a new introduction states: The first recorded analysis of the water was made as early as 1751. A half century later, Hely Dutton in his Statistical Survey of Clare wrote that the Spa had been long celebrated, adding caustically that visitors, who could not avail of the several landlords’ ‘big houses’ in the area, had to do with ‘damp, dirty lodgings in cabins’, most likely in the small baile at Rooska to the west of Rathbawn House. In 1803, the traveller, Woods, recorded that the spa was ‘much frequented’. Yet, despite the fact that by 1837 a few cottages had been built expressly for visitors,... the Ordnance Survey map of 1840 shows only three houses in the area which was to contain the main part of Lisdoonvarna Spa Town. A hotel of sorts had indeed been built before the Great Famine. Enlarged later and known since as the Royal Spa, it is happily still in operation.
In 1950, Ireland's President, Eamon DeValera stopped by for lunch at the Royal Spa Hotel to celebrate the Feast of St. Peter and Paul. Included on the menu that day was:
Roast Chicken and Limerick Bacon
Boiled Cabbage and Mashed Potato.