Bonavox Celebrate 50 Years in DublinTown
Tell us a little bit about Bonavox (and how you’re connected to Bono!)
Bonavox is 50 years old this year and was founded in October 1967. We originally opened on Camden Street, and moved down to North Earl Street about 30 years ago. The most famous thing about us is that Bono got his name from here!
We often have tour groups outside the front and they even come in to us for a souvenir. They often want pens, compliment slips and to take pictures inside! I think they get a bit disappointed when they realise it’s a hearing aid shop as they always think Bono would of got his name from a music shop. We’ve had everyone from MTV Italy to the BBC coming in to us to film as well!
There’s a lot of urban legend behind how he got his name from us. One version is that he was passing by with a friend and they spotted the name. The other story is that he had a friend named Guggi (a well known artist today) who used to work as a van driver and deliver to Bonavox who suggested the name to him.
Do you have any other celebrity connections in Bonavox?!
Well we may have fitted one of the other band members parents with hearing aids! We also used to do them for Charlie Haughey. Additionally we make broadcasting moulds. We’ve had every Irish broadcaster come in and have their ear piece fitted for them. I remember Daithi O’Shea came in and we all thought he was so handsome! It’s the only bit of glamour that we get! Everyone has always been lovely to us.
You’re celebrating 50 years in business. What is the community like around North Earl Street?
We have Guiney’s across the way and Madigan’s down the road who have been here longer than us. There’s a real sense of community on the street. The girls from Dunnes Stores know us from coming over and back.
Bill Hennessey, who owned Bonavox, was really into the horses. We, as an office, are quite horsey people now because of him. We always follow the races. We pop around the corner to Marlborough street and place our bets in Paddy Power. We used to frequent the Sackville Lounge which has since closed. The guys that sell the papers on O’Connell Street as well as the girls from The Earl (now Anne’s Bakery) always used to be in there. We all knew each other. I’ve some funny memories from going into The Earl for my lunch!
Who would be your typical customer?
We have customers coming from all over the country to us. One older lady takes a 2am bus from Donegal to Derry, then down to Dublin to come and see us. We have a lot of customers like that.
It tends to be the family members that encourage someone to go get their hearing checked, for example a child asking their parent. It can take people a good few years before they actually go and do something about it.
We also have young people coming into us. A young person who needs a hearing aid may need something more technologically advanced than your standard one. Hearing aids these days can be connected to your i-phone and are capable of doing all kinds of amazing things! You can follow us on Facebook and get in touch for more information.
Where are your favourite spots to socialise in DublinTown?
For food we like to walk down to Talbot 101. It’s gorgeous. They change their menu every six weeks and they have a really good early bird. I believe he farms his own vegetables. I think it’s probably the nicest food in the city centre, actually in the whole of Dublin. One of the girls here is vegetarian, and he does a really amazing vegetarian menu. He has unusual options. Chopped is another place we frequented when it first opened on O’Connell Street!