Kitty O’Sheas Pub plays a key role in the Grand Canal Hotel history as the Hotel was built on the original site of the pub. The pub was opened in 1981 until 2005 when the bar was then rebranded and named as the Gasworks Bar.
The pub was originally named after Katharine Parnell known before her second marriage as Katharine O’Shea and usually called by friends Katie O’Shea and by enemies by Kitty O’Shea. She was an English woman of aristocratic background, whose decade-long secret adultery with Charles Stewart Parnell led to a widely publicized divorce in 1890 and his political downfall. Katharine was married to Captain William O’Shea from whom she separated around 1875. Katharine first met Parnell in 1880 and began a relationship with him. Three of Katharine's children were fathered by Parnell; Captain O'Shea knew about the relationship. He challenged Parnell to a duel in 1881 and initially forbade his estranged wife to see him, although she said that he encouraged her in the relationship. However, he kept publicly quiet for several years. Although their relationship was a subject of gossip in London political circles from 1881, later public knowledge of the affair in an England governed by "Victorian morality" with a "nonconformist conscience" created a huge scandal, as adultery was prohibited by the Ten Commandments.
Katharine's divorce proceedings from Captain O'Shea, in which Parnell was named as co-respondent, led to Parnell's being deserted by a majority of his own Irish Parliamentary Party and to his downfall as its leader in December 1890. Catholic Ireland felt a profound sense of shock when Katharine broke the vows of her previous Catholic marriage by marrying Parnell on 25 June 1891. With Parnell's political life and his health essentially ruined, he died at the age of 45 in Hove on 6 October 1891 in her arms, less than four months after their marriage.
Though to her friends she was known as Katie O'Shea, Parnell's enemies, in order to damage him personally, called her "Kitty O'Shea" because at that time "kitty", as well as being a Hiberno-English version of Catherine/Katherine/Katharine, was also a slang term for a prostitute. She lived the rest of her life in relative obscurity, and is buried in Littlehampton, Sussex, England.