IT WAS A SAD DAY FOR CLERYS AND SISTER BUSINESS GUINEYS
Photographed 18 September 2012 and much has happened since then.
I actually knew a few people who worked in Clerys and they all thought that their jobs were for life and the failure of the business really did come as a surprise.
Note: Michael Guineys (also trading as ‘Guineys’) is not to be confused with the firm of the similar name ‘Denis Guineys’ which was affiliated with Clery’s department store.
[Update Clerys Quarter https://clerysquarter.ie]
[Update: In October 2018 Real estate investment manager Europa Capital announced that it has agreed to purchase the building with local partners Core Capital and Oakmount. According to local media Europa Capital paid in excess of €60m. Currently former department store building is being transformed into a major new retail, restaurant and office destination. Also there is planning permission to extend the building by more than 40,000 square feet.]
[Update: Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson were appointed joint provisional liquidators to OSC Operations Limited (the “Company”) trading as Clerys, on 12 June 2015. The company ceased to trade with immediate effect. Staff were given 30 minutes notice to pack up and leave, some had worked there for over 40 years. Clerys sold for €1.00, the building itself sold for €29 million to the Natrium Investment Group.]
Clerys opened in 1853 as one of the world’s first purpose-built department stores. On Monday Clerys was put into receivership. Two stores in the group, Guiney of Talbot Street and Denis Guiney Furnishings, which operates two Clerys Home Furnishing stores in Leopardstown and Naas, are to be liquidated. Receivers Paul McCann and Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton said they were in advanced talks to secure the store’s future with a potential buyer with strong retail credentials.
In a statement Grant Thornton said: “The joint receivers hope to be in a position to make an announcement regarding new ownership shortly.”
The history of Clerys began in May 1853 when Mc Swiney, Delany and Co. opened ‘The New or Palatial Mart’ on the site of the present store in what was then Sackville Street. In 1883, the premises was taken over and renamed by M. J. Clery (d.1896), a native of Bulgaden, Co. Limerick. William Martin Murphy was also involved in the business.
Clerys was bought out of receivership in 1941 by Denis Guiney (1893-1967) for £250,000. The receivers were Craig Gardner & Co. Denis Guiney died in 1967 and his widow, née Mary Leahy, continued to be Chairperson until her death on 23 August 2004 at the age of 103 years.
A large clock with two faces hangs above Clerys’ central doors on O’Connell Street (opposite the statue of Jim Larkin). “Under Clerys’ clock” is a well-known rendez-vous, both for Dubliners, and visitors from the countryside, and is famous in the city’s culture as a place where many romances begin. In 1990, on the fiftieth anniversary of Denis Guiney taking over the store, a new clock was installed.