Tierney’s – Special gifts for life’s most important milestones
Tierney’s Gift Shop is one of Dun Laoghaire Town’s staple businesses. Ever popular with tourists as it is with locals for gifts of all types, Tierney’s has been around since Richard Tierney opened the store in 1951. Today, Tierney’s remains family-owned and run. Richard’s son Michael and his wife Mairéad now run the store with aid from their children during peak Christmas season.
Michael says he was “always destined to be in retail.” So much of his life has revolved around the store. He and his siblings worked in the store on weekends and holidays. Michael went to the College of Marketing and found himself a role at Brown Thomas before returning home to Tierney’s. Michael’s brothers Richie & Johnny joined the company and together, they opened three other gift shops in Dublin.
A trip through Tierney’s Gifts history
A trip through Tierney’s history is a walk through the history of Dun Laoghaire. In the 1950s and 60s Dún Laoghaire was a very busy tourist destination. During that time, Tierney’s did a lot of business with visitors from Britain, who came here for their annual holiday. After the war, there was still a shortage of goods like watches and cigarette lighters in the UK, and Tierney’s was only too happy to help them out.
When chatting with Michael, he told us about his biggest memory of the time: standing outside the shop watching the old St. Michael’s Church go up in flames.
Fast forward to the 1970s and early 80s and Tierney’s was a hit with American tourists on their tours of Ireland.
“We would have shipped about 100 parcels a week and each parcel had to be wrapped and tied with string and then wax-sealed.”
Back then, Tierney’s also sold toys such as Corgi, Cindy Dolls, Scalextric, Dinky, Matchbox, Meccano & Fisher-Price. Toy sales were particularly good at Christmas, but as Michael told us, when Quinnsworth started stocking toys at Christmas, Tierney’s couldn’t compete, so that was the end of that!
Speaking of Christmas, Michael reminded us Tierneys had the first Santa Claus in Dún Laoghaire. Santa Claus arrived at Tierney’s on a horse & cart – the crowds were so large that the Gardaí had to be called to rescue Santa.
Pope John Paul II’s visit to Ireland in 1979 brought financial as well as spiritual rewards, as lots of mementos with his picture were sold to mark the big occasion.
As the 1980s marched on and the recession set in, things became challenging for Tierney’s. During that time, the family opened upstairs as a showroom and sold china and tableware, tea sets, dinner sets and cookware. Thankfully, things wouldn’t be difficult forever.
“The millennium celebration was a godsend for our business as it brought with it a huge demand for limited edition items. We also developed our corporate division at that time which was a great addition to the company. Our biggest sale at that time was one order for over 2,000 hampers, it was a very exciting logistical problem which we thankfully managed to solve.”
Today, Tierneys are about celebrating the beautiful occasions in life – weddings, births, anniversaries, engagements, birthdays and graduations. Product ranges like Waterford Crystal, Lladro figurines, Wedgwood china, and jewellery reflect their ethos.
“The one area of the business that has not changed is that we are still passionate about our customer service. We have many long standing customers who frequently return for the great customer service as well as our free gift-wrapping. We are very lucky with all the fantastic staff we have had down through the years. Some of our loyal staff have been with us since my father ran the business over 40 years ago!”
Although Tierney’s remains closed during lockdown, the online shop means that you can still mark milestones and send gifts to loved ones both at home and abroad. But will the shift to the online market change the way Tierney’s has operated for the past fifty years? Michael says no.
“Although online sales are growing, I believe in the unique value of physical stores. Not only from a commercial perspective, but one of human interaction. In these difficult times bringing people together offline and online has never been so important. We all need to support local businesses – why not support your local bakery, flower shop, jeweller, butcher, bookshop or fashion store?”
What’s on offer during the COVID-19 restrictions
How can you help support Tierney’s Gifts during this time? Tierney’s are offering a free Click & Collect Service. Order online and select “click & collect” option. A member of staff will contact you to confirm your order is ready & to arrange a collection time.
Tierneys Gifts continue to be open online 24/7 with FREE local & national delivery for orders over €25 value, see – https://www.tierneysgifts.com/
Enter the Love Dún Laoghaire Day Competition – May 2020
Tierney’s Gifts 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.