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Dublin: 15°C Wednesday 18 May 2022

It had everything from 'a needle to an anchor': Shoppers remember Guiney and Co

There was nostalgia aplenty at 79-80 Talbot Street in Dublin’s city centre today as people reminisced about the shop that had everything.

Shoppers outside the closed Guiney and Co. today.
Shoppers outside the closed Guiney and Co. today.
Image: Paul Hyland via TheJournal.ie

THERE WAS A lot of reminiscing about the past on Dublin’s Talbot Street today, as shoppers lamented over the closure of Guiney and Co.

Long known for being one of Dublin’s best known shops, the place which seemed to stock everything was held in high regard by those who knew it best – its shoppers.

Catherine Freer, a native of Kilkenny who now lives in Dublin, had shopped in Guineys for years. Recalling the shop as always being ‘great value’, beach towels for summers past had always been purchased there, not to mention “all the kitchen stuff and the bedroom stuff.”

“From a needle to an anchor is what I’d actually say about Guineys,” she said, describing the wide variety of items that could always be found there.

Having shopped there as recently as last week for a solitary mat, today’s trip was scuppered by the shutters which remained down.

I wanted to get tea towels in there today, good thick ones. They were always very good quality.

Pointing through the gaps in the shutters toward an alarm clock on display, Freer talked of another purchase she had made recently: an alarm clock for an 83-year-old friend.

While he had struggled to hear other alarm clocks, the one from Guineys ‘hopped off the table’ when it went off, solving that particular problem.

The go-to for Freer had always been Guiney and Co:

I hear it every day of the week, with friends and family. ‘You know where you’ll get that? Guineys.’ That’s said at least twice a day in my home.

Today’s closure is just the latest of what Freer has come to notice more and more.

Every time I come through [Dublin city centre], I notice something else gone. Isn’t it terrible. I just can’t believe it.

Catherine Freer (Paul Hyland/TheJournal.ie)

Paddy Kilmurray (Paul Hyland/TheJournal.ie)

Paddy Kilmurray – who grew up on nearby Gardiner Street – had hoped to buy a folding table, only realising when he arrived that the shop had been closed.

While he hopes that somebody will take it over, he still found today’s discovery something of a shock, having ‘come into town to find that what you were used to seeing everyday is gone’.

Looking though the shutters at all the product’s which remained on display, he wondered how suddenly things had changed for the shop.

If they knew they were going to close, they could have sold everything off. People would have bought everything in there. Look at the stuff that’s perfect in the window.

Having purchased his ‘shoes, shirts, blazers and Trilby hats’ in the shop over the years, quality at the right price had kept him coming back.

I got this for a fiver [pointing at this hat]. The same type of hat is €45 in Marks and Spencer. I’m retired now… it was great to find a shop that was decent and never screwed you on price.

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Patricia Murphy (Paul Hyland/TheJournal.ie)

Speaking outside the still-open Michael Guineys on Talbot Street, Patricia Murphy, from Clontarf in Dublin, had always shopped closeby, as that was where her bus stopped. “I was a bit disappointed because I knew it so well,” she said, reacting to news of today’s closure.

Having purchased there as recently as last week, bedclothes, curtains and towels had been the main draw. “It always had what I needed.”

Bridie Lynch (Paul Hyland/TheJournal.ie)

Bridie Lynch, along with her late husband, had gotten to know two employees from the shop over the years – John and Joe.

Trying to put a date on the length of time she had known them, one occasion stood out.

We formed a syndicate when the lotto started. That’s how far back it’s going. We won prizes, no big prizes, just little ones.

Lynch’s purchases over the years had varied, including purchases for both her late father and herself:

I would have bought stuff for my father… warm socks. Real wool knitted socks. I also used to buy little tops, they’d have my size.
I know so much about this street. I don’t waste my life. I don’t waste my time. I talk to people and study the places, thinking ‘I wonder why that’s there?’

Listen to some of today’s shoppers as they talk to TheJournal.ie about the closure.

Read: So exactly WHICH Guineys is closing down? >

Read: Clerys taken over, saving 350 jobs – but Guineys is to close >

About the author:

Paul Hyland

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