The Magnificent Shamrock Hotel

The Magnificent Shamrock Hotel

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Texan millionaire Glenn McCarthy opened the world-famous Shamrock Hotel on St. Patrick’s Day, 1949, writes John McHugh

It was St. Patrick’s Day, in 1946, that Glenn McCarthy announced in Houston, Texas, that he was going to build one of the biggest hotels in the United States right in Houston, Texas. Called The Shamrock, the hotel was to be so big it would dwarf anything built outside of New York or Los Angeles.


On St. Patrick’s Day, 1949, the opening day of the hotel became a national event with newspaper coverage from around the world and full radio broadcasting coverage.


Gold Filigree invitations were sent out to 2,000 guests, including dignitaries from 24 foreign countries.
Glenn even rented a 14-car train which he called the Shamrock Special; this brought 150 of the top named people from Hollywood to the grand opening. The people in Houston knew who Glenn McCarthy was, but outside of Houston he was unknown. To Texans he was big, bold and brash, he was everything non-Texans romanticised about Texas.


He was probably the richest man in Texas and one of the wealthiest in the country, but who was he?
Glenn was several generations removed from his early ancestors who came over from Co. Cork.
He was called the ‘King of the Wildcatters’; the term itself came into use with the early Irish in the oil fields of Pennsylvania. A wildcatter is a person that finds oil in places not proven to have oil.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own

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