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03rd Jun 2017

These Are The 26 Oldest Businesses In Ireland By County


The list of Ireland’s 26 oldest businesses was just released by the good people at Think Business, and we felt it was something we just had to share with you all. 

The list is fully comprehensive, and goes through each province and county. 

However, they are humble in saying that they are happy to stand corrected – meaning if anyone knows of any older businesses in each county, they’ d be delighted to hear from them.

And now, for the list in its entirety:


Dublin – Rathborne Candles. Date founded: 1488

Now located in Blanchardstown, Rathborne Candles has been in business as candle makers in Dublin since 1488 when the Rathborne family arrived from Chester. Rathborne’s candles were used to light the city’s streets in the 1700s. Today, in the era of electricity, the company produces church candles alongside high-end candles sold through Brown Thomas. 

Meath – O’Connell’s Pub. Date founded: 1845

Located in the historic village of Skryne, O’Connell’s is best known for its appearance in the famous Guinness Christmas TV advert. 

Kildare – Malone Newsagent. Date Founded: 1864

Located in Kildare town, L. Malone Newsagents has remained in the ownership of the same family since opening in 1864. Thought to be one of the oldest newsagents in the county, it celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2014. The “L” in the name dates back to the original proprietor, Brigid Malone, who decided to call the shop after her daughter Lily.

Carlow – Carey’s Pub. Date founded: 1542

Carey’s Pub in Old Leighlin, dates back to 1542. It has been in the same family since opening its doors in the 16th Century. 

Kilkenny – The Kyteler’s Inn. Date founded: 1324

Located on St Kieran’s Street in the medieval city of Kilkenny, the first owner of Kyteler’s Inn is said to have been Dame Alice Kyteler, who was accused of witchcraft in the early 14th century.

Laois – Morrissey’s Bar. Date founded: 1775

Like many of the old pubs on this list, Morrisey’s in Abbeyleix began life as a grocery store that also served alcohol. To this day, it retains its “traditional” pub feel, containing many kinds of Irish memorabilia from days of yore.

Longford – Quinn’s Supply Store. Date founded: 1875

Located in Edgeworthstown, Quinn’s Supply Store has been serving the community of Edgeworthstown and the surrounding areas for 140 years. The business is currently in the hands of the fifth generation of the family.

Louth – The Argus. Date founded: 1835

The Dundalk-based Argus began publication as The Drogheda Argus and Leinster Journal. The weekly newspaper is fourteen years older than its rival in Co. Louth, the Dundalk Democrat, which was established in 1849.

Offaly – Thrace Synthetic Packaging. Date founded: 1865

Located in Clara, Thrace Synthetic Packaging was founded in 1865. The company manufactures woven technical fabrics from jute and produced packaging products from jute and cotton. 150 years later, Thrace Synthetic Packaging is still one of the leading producers and suppliers of technical fabrics and industrial packaging products.

Westmeath – Canton Casey’s. Date founded: 1825

Located in Mullingar, Canton Casey’s bar has been at the heart of business in the town since 1825. The business is located adjacent to the statue of local legend Joe Dolan in the town centre.

Wexford – GH Letts. Date founded: 1810

Located in Enniscorthy, Lett’s is one of the leading drinks wholesale and distribution organisations in the country. Today, seven generations later, the business is still in the hands of the Lett family.

Wicklow – Avoca. Date founded: 1723

With headquarters located in Kilmacanogue, Avoca is an Irish family-run business that is one of the world’s oldest surviving clothing manufacturing companies. Today Avoca has nearly a dozen stores and cafés across the country.


Galway – Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Gold. Date founded: 1750

Located at the heart of Galway city, Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Gold claims to be the original maker of the Claddagh Ring and the oldest jewellers in Ireland.

Leitrim – The Bush Hotel. Date founded: 1793

Located in Carrick-on-Shannon, The Bush Hotel opened its doors in 1793. Now in its fourth century, the Bush Hotel has maintained the Irish tradition of the Teach Aiochta, the ‘house of hospitality’. The Bush Hotel is currently run by the Dolan family.

Mayo – Mellett’s Emporium. Date founded: 1797

Currently run by the seventh generation of the Mellett family, this Swinford pub has been operation since 1797. It originally consisted of a grocery store at the front of the premises with a bar at the rear with Mellett’s also operating a funeral director service for many years but today only the pub remains.

Roscommon – Morahan’s Bar. Date founded: 1641

Located in Ballinagare, the bar has been in the same family since 1641. Currently, Morahan’s is run by the eighth generation of the Morahan family. An interesting side note is that each generation of the family has had a Bernard Morahan, with the name being passed on from generation to generation.

Sligo – The Sligo Champion. Date founded: 1836

The Sligo Champion is one of the oldest regional newspapers in the country. It began publication before Daniel O’Connell achieved Catholic Emancipation and survived the Famine, the War of Independence and many a recession to celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2011. It has been part of Independent News & Media since 2008.


Donegal – Coyle’s Bar. Date founded: 1845

Located in Newtowncunningham, Coyle’s Bar was previously known as McDaid’s and before that it was run by the Gallagher’s. The current owners have records dating back to 1845. 

Cavan – Carton Bros. Date founded: 1775

Located in Shercock, Carton Brothers is the company behind Manor Farm chickens. The business is one of the oldest family companies in the country and dates back to 1775 when it opened in the Dublin markets.

Monaghan – Northern Standard. Date founded: 1839

Located in Monaghan town, The Northern Standard is the longest established newspaper circulating in Co. Monaghan and it has been telling Monaghan’s story every week since the first issue was published on 10 January 1839.


Clare – Ennis Cash Company. Date founded: 1880

Located on O’Connell Street in the town centre, Ennis Cash Company is one of the oldest houses in Ireland selling Irish linens.

Cork – The Old Thatch. Date founded: 1667

Located in Killeagh in East Cork, The Old Thatch is one of the oldest licensed premises in Ireland. The present owners, the Sweeneys, can trace ownership as far back as the mid-1700s.

Kerry – Ashes Pub. Date founded: 1849

Located in Dingle, Ashes was founded by John O’Connor in 1849 as a licensed grocery store. The name was changed to Ashes in 1926, but the family connection has remained since the day of John O’Connor.

Limerick – The Locke Bar. Date founded: 1724

Located on King’s Island in the historic centre of Limerick City, The Locke Bar dates all the way back to 1724.

Tipperary – Nenagh Guardian. Date founded: 1838

The first edition of the Nenagh Guardian was published on 21 January 1838. The newspaper was originally titled the Nenagh Guardian or Tipperary (North Riding) and Ormond Advertiser but the bulk of this lengthy title was dropped in 1936.

Waterford – Flahavan’s Oats. Date founded: 1785

Flahavan’s can trace its history back to 1785 when Thomas Dunn took over a mill in Kilmacthomas on the banks of the River Mahon. Dunn was the great-great-great-grandfather of John Flahavan, the managing director of the company today. Hot on the heels of Flahavan’s is Robert Thompson Funeral Directors in Waterford city which was established a year later in 1786.


Us too. 

Lovely piece of Irish history to glance upon. 

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