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Rich history of Clerys goes on show

LANDMARK department store Clerys has opened a Heritage Gallery to display its wealth of artifacts from its long history.

The gallery, located on the second floor of the iconic shop, was officially launched by historian Pat Liddy and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan and features a 130 year old top hat, pneumatic cash systems, account books and weighted ledgers.

Mr Deenihan described the 'Grand Old Dame of O'Connell Street' as the "newest old department store in the world" and an "Irish institution".

The 160 year old store has had a varied and volatile past; the shop has been declared bankrupt numerous times, was demolished during the 1916 rising and was the site of Jim Larkin's arrest.

Most recently it was forced to close when 500 gallons of water poured through the building following a 16 minute flash flood last July.

Shoppers can look at old posters, handwritten customers' letters, receipts and yellowing photographs as part of the new exhibition which celebrates the history and heritage of the building.

"Clerys is more than a shop it's a living history," Minister Deenihan said.

"And I am delighted they have decided to commemorate that rich history by opening this exhibition."

With the 1916 centenary in sight, Deenihan believes the new gallery is of particular relevance.


Senator David Norris also attended the launch and praised the facade of the building, saying: "There are very few truly beautiful buildings left on O'Connell Street, but there is something palatial about Clerys."

"It is a landmark that has continued to rise from the ashes over the years. I am delighted the wonderful history of the building is being remembered and celebrated."

The shop was bought by Denis Guiney in 1941 for £230,000.

After 71 years in the Guiney family, Clerys went into receivership last year.

It was bought by Boston-based private equity group Gordan Brothers and re-opened, following reconstruction and redevelopment, in November 2013.