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5 Family Businesses That Survived 1916

  • Wed, 6 Apr 2016
For these establishments it was business as usual on Easter Monday 1916. Little did they know the turmoil the city would face later that day.

Across Dublin Town, several business owners tried to protect their premises for as long as possible. Unfortunately, for many, it became too dangerous and they ultimately had to flee. Find out which 5 Dublin city centre family businesses survived the battle zone of 1916 and continued their legacy.


McDowell’s Jewellers, O’Connell Street


Founded in 1870 by William McDowell, it was originally opened on Mary Street. The business moved to Sackville Street in 1902 making it the longest established business on what is now called O’Connell Street. The premises was completely destroyed and looted during 1916 but was rebuilt in 1917 using some of the original girders for the GPO.


John Brereton Jewellers, Capel Street


This business first opened its doors during Easter week of 1916 but closed very quickly due to the Rising. It was open again the week after the turmoil. Moving on with the city, from poverty to prosperity, the family now runs three stores on O’Connell Street, Grafton Street and the original business on Capel Street is still open today.


Mullen Sport, Mary Street


The oldest family run sports retailer in Ireland, Mullen Sport has been serving customers for over 90 years. Joseph Mullen had been a successful businessman making bespoke leather shoes in 1916. After the Rising was over, and had destroyed many buildings, he bought a discounted site on the corner of Mary Street and Capel Street. Remaining a family business through the decades, it moved on from leather goods to sports apparel in the 1930’s.


Wynn’s Hotel, Lower Abbey Street


Wynn’s Hotel was destroyed in 1916 by Brisitsh artillery. It was to be 10 years before the building would be rebuilt again using concrete, the first building to do so in Dublin. This business is famed for being the scene where Cumann na mBan was formed and where the first meeting of the Irish Volunteer Force was held.


Barnardo Furriers, Grafton Street


Barnardo’s has been creating high quality furs for nearly 200 years. The business originally opened in 1812 beside Dublin Castle. The shop later moved to Grafton Street where it is based today. In 1916 it branded the royal crest as furriers to the British Court. Currently being run by the fifth generation of the family, Bernardo’s is the oldest furriers in the world.