Blackthorne Inn Sets a Goal to Focus on True Irish Hospitality


(Monday, July 9, 2007 11:03 AM EDT)

After more than 20 years as the 1763 Inn and Restaurant, the historic property off Route 50 in Paris, recently changed hands, and has been reinvented as the Blackthorne Inn.

While still providing many of the same amenities as the 1763 Inn, the Blackthorne Inn offers a different kind of experience, with an Irish theme and brand new pub, Wolf Tone's.

The inn's new owner, Shane O'Connor, who worked for about 11 years as assistant manager and executive chef at the Middleburg Tennis Club, looked at the property in spring of last year, and said he was taken by how gorgeous it was - and the amount of potential it had.

The inn, built in 1763 and owned at one point by George Washington, sits on about 45 acres of land, and has 17 rooms and a carriage house.

“I'd been looking for a restaurant, and I never thought I'd get involved in something so big,” O'Connor said in a recent interview. “But I'm attracted to the beauty, the old country theme. It reminds me of Ireland.”

Though running an inn is quite an undertaking, O'Connor has the help and support of his family, with whom he emigrated from Ireland in 1987.

His parents and four sisters all have key positions working at the inn. All of them have worked in the food and beverage industry, and collectively have about 120 years of experience.

“We get along now, but we'll see in two years,” O'Connor joked. “We're a tight family. They are my backbone through the whole operation.”

O'Connor said he appreciates the history of the property and named the pub accordingly. Wolfe Tone's is named after Theobald Wolfe Tone, who is regarded as the father of Irish republicans, and who coincidentally was born in 1763.

The pub offers a more casual dining experience than the restaurant, and will give guests the chance to try pub fare with an Irish twist, like rabbit stews and lamb curries. A full Irish breakfast also will be offered in the pub each morning.

Each of the inn's rooms is named after an Irish county, and is decorated in the artistic style of that area.

O'Connor also has added outdoor seating, a wine room and a tea-service room, and plans on using the pavilion for themed events, such as dinner mysteries.

“Our whole thing will be Irish hospitality,” O'Connor said. “I love dealing with people, and when you have an inn, you get to know them and sit with them.”

The inn and dining room are set to open on July 20.

The Blackthorne Inn (formerly the 1763 Inn) will focus on Irish hospitality - and will provide a place for revelry in its new pub, Wolfe Tone's. The inn, located in Paris, recently was acquired by Shane O'Connor.
(Photo by Kristen Armstrong)

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