Uniquely designed gifts in a unique location
Situated in the historic Moran Park House on Dun Laoghaire’s seafront, the Irish Design Gallery has attracted artists and patrons since it opened its doors in March 2016. A quick peek inside (in normal times), and you’d encounter a vast showcase for over 65 local designers and artists as well
“We are a commission based gallery. For the designers, being able to showcase and sell regularly in such a great venue, and to meet customers while still having time to concentrate on design work and creativity, is a win-win situation. “
The woman behind it all is Sinéad Buckley Quinn. Before setting up shop in one of Dun Laoghaire’s listed buildings, she qualified in hotel management and traveled – New York, Miami, Australia, another stint in Ireland, Singapore, and San Diego – before returning to Ireland for good. With a head for business and an enduring love of Irish art and design, she saw a gap in the market. She knew that expats like herself had wanted reminders of Ireland more sophisticated than “Irish Diddley Eye” items. After curating exhibitions and events across Wicklow, Sinéad established her first design centre above the Powerscourt House Avoca in 2013. Sinéad sold up in 2016 after opening the Irish Design Gallery in Dun Laoghaire earlier in 2016.
“Having grown up in Killiney, and now living back there, it seemed natural to explore possibly opening a gallery in Dun Laoghaire – its location and welcome is paramount and the locals and tourists alike have welcomed this type of shop as a great attraction and amenity to the town. “Although not on the main street it is located in a very scenic seafront with plenty of people passing by and we are open 7 days a week and allow dogs in too!”
The Dun Laoghaire centre isn’t just a design house. It’s an experience.
“We pride ourselves on including small touches like allowing dogs in unless it’s huge like a small donkey, in providing water dog bowls in summer, in being wheelchair and buggy friendly and lastly the newest addition which is providing reading glasses at every corner in the gallery – lest you forget yours!”
Clearly, based on the many positive reviews of Irish Design Gallery on Google Sinéad‘s formula is working well.
Sinéad keeps it local and all handmade. Most artists and designers come from within a 50 mile radius of Dun Laoghaire Town. Some of the most local artists include Thelma Mansfield, Jim Scully, Orla Walsh, and Carl Strickland. Those on the hunt for a gift can pick up some of the ever popular Dalkey Handmade Soap in the shop as well as Shirley Cooperwhite (Print) Designs.
The Irish Design Gallery will open again in Phase 2, but in the meantime, Sinéad’s working to make the space more accessible. You’ll find fewer of the smaller items and more artwork to give everyone a bit more room to move. Everything will still be available online though.
One of Sinéad’s projects has been focusing on her online retail sales. Rather than seeing her web shop as an alternative or an add-on, Sinéad considers it to be essential to the business and a full-time job. Locals enjoy the most benefit as Sinead can deliver locally and save on postage. When safe, it’s also possible to deliver large pieces of art to try them out in the room. If they don’t work, they can be taken away again.
“Growing the online business is a full-time position and not to be dismissed as an add on to a retail business. We are serious about our online market and will endeavour to make it busier than the current successful bricks and mortar business.”
Sinéad has also been busy with the Lockdown Shots Project, and Sinéad and the Irish Design Gallery has helped raise over €6,000 for three charities. You can read more about the initiative in The Irish Times.
What’s on offer during the COVID-19 restrictions
How can you help support the Irish Design Gallery during this time? They are offering a click and collect service online, for more information see – https://irishdesigngallery.ie/
Enter the Love Dún Laoghaire Day Competition – May 2020
Irish Design Gallery are partners in the inaugural Love Dun Laoghaire Day, it’s easy to enter, just click the image below and follow the instructions! We look forward to receiving your entry.