Friday 20 September 2019

I'll meet you under Clerys clock no more

Staff leaving Clerys on O'Connell street
Staff leaving Clerys on O'Connell street


In 1916 when the GPO was pounded, and in 1966 when poor old Admiral Nelson took to the sky and the pillar was no more, across the street Clerys stood imperious, looking on disapprovingly.

It has been an institution in Dublin city since its first incarnation in 1853 as 'The New or Palatial Mart'.

It would be another 43 years before it came under the name of Clerys and was the go-to place for everything from the Christening robe to the Confirmation suit.

Expensive goods were laid out in glass cabinets as if they were Egyptian artefacts. No matter how exotic, they might be made one's own through down-payments and the 'never never'. But, just like Hector Grey's and the last of the 'cheeky Charlies', another Dublin institution is to shut its doors. The generations who shifted uneasily under its clock, waiting for that someone special to materialise out of the evening, will also have fond memories.

If ever there was a relic of old decency, then Clerys surely was it. But as the ballad says, nothing stays the same.

For the staff, there is the very real loss of their jobs.

For the rest of us, we have lost another part of what was Dublin in the rare old times.

Irish Independent

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