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The Capel Street Series #4 – Mullen Sports

In this weeks instalment of The Capel Street Series we are looking at Mullens Sports at 1a Mary Street who will be celebrating its centenary year in 2016.

Having been damaged by fire in the 1916 Rising, it still bared battle scars up until 20 years ago when a charred beam was revealed during restoration.  The third generation business is the oldest family-run sports retailer in Ireland, and along with Arnotts it’s one of the last original businesses still remaining in the area.

Proprietor, Alan Mullen, recalls coming home from school to help his father in the shop when he was barely a teenager.  The family lived on the second floor, and were the only residents on the street at that time, “living in the city before it was deemed cool”.  Alan’s own son now likes to help out in the shop, though he’s not quite tall enough yet to work at the counter, perhaps in a few years he’ll be the fourth generation proprietor of a 100+ year old store.

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It’s without surprise that over Alan’s lifetime there, he has seen many changes.  Mullens itself had to adapt to a fast paced, competitive market, and went from basic sports retail to specialist supply, with the widest selection of martial arts stock in Ireland, including: karate belts, boxing gloves, bokken swords and authentic satin kung fu outfits in a variety of colours and sizes.  The shop is always busy and is never short of characters – he’s “amazed that he is still amazed every day!” Of all the changes on the Capel Street, Alan believes the mix of different cultures brings great energy and diversity to the place and hopes more new businesses can strive here.  “Most people used to come to Capel Street for Christmas Shopping, now there are so many different places to try, especially all the Asian and Indian restaurants. Musashi and Madina are always busy; it’s good to see a busy business!”


Visit Mullen’s online store at