Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 March 2018

From selling turkeys and building RAF planes to selling tractors

The story behind Kelly's of Borris

Picture: Roger Jones
Picture: Roger Jones

This week well-known Irish machinery dealers, Kelly's of Borris celebrated 60 years in business.

Maurice Kelly, grand father to Maurice and Terry Kelly established a business going from farm to farm, buying and selling turkeys, eggs and chickens and general farm produce for the Dublin markets.

Picture: Roger Jones
Picture: Roger Jones

This week, the company that grew out of that small business, Kelly's of Borris, celebrated 60 years in operation.

The current business was established in 1957 by the late Terry Kelly Senior, when he started out assembling planes in RAF, before returning to Ireland.

Once home, Kelly set about working as an agricultural contractor in the early 1950s and built the business up while also farming with is brother Paddy.

His father was still buying and selling, now agricultural machinery and by the 1960s he was importing second hand steel and machinery from the UK.

Picture: Roger Jones
Picture: Roger Jones

That business, in Borris, Carlow, was taken over by Maurice and Terry in the late 1970s and they continued to import machinery from the UK, with up to 300 used tractors being sold through the business annually.

While they lost their successful Fiatagri franchise, Kelly's brought in the Valmet tractor range and acquired the CLaas machinery franchise.

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By the 1990s they were selling 20 forage harvesters a year and 20 combine harvesters a year towards the end of the 2000s.

A large fire in 1997 didn't destroy the business spirit, but a new site was acquired for the business and the company expanded to Abbeyleix in 2014, where the Claas franchise is head quartered.

Picture: Roger Jones
Picture: Roger Jones

Our photographer captured some of the events of its recently 60th celebrations.

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