THE GREAT AND THE GOOD WHO GRACED THE HOTEL WITH THEIR PRESENCE:
The Huggard Family and staff have been welcoming guests to the Butler Arms Hotel for over 100 years. The hotel is especially well known for its association with famous people from the world of acting, sport, politics and literature.
In 2014 and 2015 the Butler Arms welcomed the cast and crew of Stars Wars "The Force Awakens". They came to the area to shoot scenes on the UNSECO site Skelligs Michael. The crew of Star Wars Episode VII booked the whole hotel out in September 2014 and again in September 2015 for Episode VIII. The ensemble included Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, JJ Abrams as well as Kathleen Lucas.
In more recent years Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas, stayed in the hotel whilst on a golfing holiday with their young family. American Football player Dan Marino, Ice Hockey player Wayne Gretzy, Cricketer Sir Ian Botham all stayed while taking part in the Annual Carr Golf Father & Son Competition which takes place every August.
Probably the most famous guest to have stayed in the Butler Arms, Charlie Chaplin was one of Hollywood’s first true movie stars. He, along with his family holidayed at the hotel for many years. What was exceptional about Charlie Chaplin was that his everyday look was as pedestrian as the local men who mingled with him and who treated him like one of their own. This gave him the kind of anonymity that he craved and was one of the reasons why he returned year after year. He sought no special treatment and quite often went on fishing expeditions with his fellow hotel guests.
In 1946 Walt Disney, the very famous Hollywood star of that time, came to stay at the Butler Arms. He was in Ireland at the time on a two-week research assignment for a movie he was planning to base on Irish folklore. The reason for Disney's 1946 trip recently came to light with the resurgence of a letter written by Matthew Murphy, The Irish Console in San Francisco, to the Department of Foreign Affairs seeking to set up a meeting between Disney and the then Taoiseach, Eamon de Valera, to discuss a film with the working name Darby O 'Gill and the Little People. During his time in Waterville in November 1946, Mary Huggard proprietor of the hotel sent her staff out with bowls of Leprechaun Trifle and Puce Pudding with Slainte Sauce. Disney was invited to sit around the turf fire as local Seanchai Tadhg Murphy unleashed his arsenal of folk tales translated from Irish.
One of the world's most well-known bankers and Financier JP Morgan stayed in the Butler Arms in the early 1900s. Morgan was so impressed by the quality of the food in the Hotel that he immediately sought a new acquisition for the hotel's Head Chef Kathy Buckley. Morgan after delicate negotiations with Buckley convinced her to come to the US and become cook at his mansion in his native Hartford Connecticut. Early in 1923 a very special guest was invited to dinner at Morgan's mansion. A close friend of Morgan, Calvin Coolidge was just weeks away from taking the oath of Office as President of the United States. Coolidge was also very impressed by Kathy Buckley and invited her to become head of the White House kitchens, a job she retained under subsequent presidents, Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt.