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The Leader-Post
Published: Saturday, June 02, 2007
DUBLIN (Reuters) -- Visitors to one of Dublin's most famous hotels will be offered the chance to trace their Irish roots over a cup of tea with a 'genealogy butler'.

Dublin's Shelbourne hotel, which reopened in March after closing for renovations in 2005, will offer guests from Friday the chance to find out about ancestors with the help of a professional genealogist.

"We have been here since 1824 and we are the perfect hotel to really come up with this idea," said Anne Marie Whelan, director of sales and marketing at the Shelbourne.

Whelan said it was the first hotel to offer such a service, which comes at a cost of 140 euros ($188) for an hour's consultation.

"You can go into a national library and ... they have a small team to assist you," she said.

"But to have such a service in a hotel where you can relax over tea and someone can talk to you about where you came from, that is a first in Ireland which is exciting."

Those keen on kick-starting their search before arriving in Ireland can email details of their ancestors to the hotel so that their in-house genealogist can begin the search.

"Irish people have gone all over the world and some would have no idea how they would have got a last name like Kelly," Whelan said.

Around 7.7 million people visited Ireland in 2006, generating around 4.7 billion euros ($6.31 billion) in revenue, official figures showed.

Many travellers come from Britain, the U.S., Canada and Australia -- countries which saw waves of Irish immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Located in the heart of historical Dublin, the Shelbourne is itself part of the itinerary for many tourists.

The Irish Free State's constitution was drafted in the hotel in 1922 by nationalist revolutionary Michael Collins. Other guests have included Peter O'Toole and John F. Kennedy.

?The Leader-Post (Regina) 2007

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