Say Yes to #SecondHandSeptember by supporting these niche businesses …
Call it the make do and mend movement, the trend for mid-century modern or the popularity of TV programmes such as Salvage Yard and Bargain Hunt. Most of us are swapping flat packs for flea finds, proudly sharing provenance tales once our treasures are in situ, and for many a browse in an antiques shop is an essential part of any weekend.
The majority of the décor in my house is vintage. As well as being a more ethical way to shop, the pieces I live with have their own stories. My first vintage buy was a rose espresso cup when I was a teenager. Acquired on holiday, it was not the usual seaside souvenir but it still has a place in my cupboard. Since then I’ve been collecting all manner of items – swans, floral paintings, blue and white china and jewellery (not vintage Cartier, sadly, more costume and silver items).
During lockdown I missed my weekly visits to local stores and flea markets, so I decided to ask some friends for their Little Black Book of antiques shops around Ireland. This is our combined directory of over 30 recommendations; not complete by any means, but a good start for any autumnal treasure hunts.
This is an online antiques store specialising in 20th-century design especially Italian, French and Danish designers and makers. Interior architect Roisin Lafferty is a fan, “Donal is amazing to work with. At this stage I am able to tell him what I am looking for and he helps me find it. His appreciation for mid-century Italian design aligns perfectly with mine and I often source accessories for my projects.” www.acquired.ie
Ballinderry Antiques, 2 Lower Ballinderry Road, Ballinderrry, Co Antrim
Did someone say brown furniture was making a comeback? At Ballinderry Antiques it has never been out of fashion. If you are making a special trip, (it’s not far from junction 8 on the M1), this is a one-stop multi store owned by Donald McCluskey. Spread over three floors, with nooks and crannies brimming with furniture and accessories, you’ll either need a stiff drink or coffee after a visit – it can be overwhelming. Head to The Vintage Room in Hillsborough for both; www.antiquesandfinefurniture.com.
Blackwater Antiques, Dromagh, Mallow, Co Cork
Having built up a loyal clientele over its 25 years in business, this is the very definition of a treasure trove – antique garden furniture, architectural salvage and Irish antiques are on offer. Visitors can easily spend a couple of hours browsing without a hovering proprietor – always a bone of contention in many antique stores; www.blackwaterantiques.com.
Blackrock Market, 19 Main Street, Blackrock, Co Dublin
A visit to Blackrock Market is always a good idea, where you may bump into Brian O’Driscoll and wife Amy having a rummage in Mary’s Old Curiosity Shop. There are five antique stalls in the market – Mary’s and French Style Refound being particular favourites. The latter owned by Geraldine turns around stock – such as Art Nouveau lights, pretty china, and mid-century items – quickly. Afterwards, have a cuppa in The Cake Room, toast your success in Ciamei, or pre-order a takeaway curry from 3Leaves. The culinary options are equal to the bric a brac bargains.
Clarenbridge Antiques, Barrack Street, Hillpark, Clarenbridge, Co Galway
Specialising in Irish country furniture, especially pine and oak, this shop is worthy of a detour if you’re staycationing in the west. It also stocks an abundance of Majolica, Belleek and glassware.
Dandy Lion, 118 High Street, Holywood, Co Antrim
Just outside Belfast, in golfer Rory McIroy’s hometown, is the relatively new Dandy Lion. Its tagline is “shop of unexpected things” and true to its word stocks curios, furniture, candles, kimonos and participates in a monthly flea market, held outside the premises. Dandy Lion also provides accessories and furniture to hire for events. After a decko, do have coffee at The Bay Tree next door and also pop into Scarlet and Crimson – a pretty florist-cum-vintage store on Church Road, which will inspire for future flower arrangements using old tureens and vases; www.dandylionshop.co.uk.
David Flynn Antiques, 90 Main Street, Saintfield, Co Down
Possibly the best-loved antiques dealer in the north of Ireland, Flynn has a loyal following having had antiques stores on Lisburn Road and Donegall Pass in Belfast. Now based in Saintfield, his shop has probably increased the amount of visitors to the village. Whether art or objet, Flynn has an eye for detail, and also works as a stylist and interior designer. We love his vast selection of blue and white china and green cabbage plates, enough to make Aerin Lauder swoon. More importantly his prices won’t break the budget, meaning you’ll come back for more (and more).
Dee Brophy Decorative Antiques, W4B1 Tougher Business Park, Newhall, Naas, Co Kildare
If you are missing a browse in a brocante, Dee Brophy will satisfy all Francophiles with her edit of decorative pottery, prints, jardineres, furniture and more; www.deebrophy.com.
Granny’s Attic, 33 North Main Street, Naas, Co Kildare
Owned by Yvonne Connolly’s parents, (they had a second shop in Birr) it’s all in the name. As you would expect, magpies will swoop on the jewellery, while tablescapers will swoon over the china and cutlery; www.grannysattic.ie.
Greyabbey, Co Down
As Ireland’s largest antiques village (with over ten antiques shops), Greyabbey should be on your radar. It’s adjoined to National Trust gem Mount Stewart and its globally recognised gardens. The Old Courthouse, a French and vintage interiors store, also has a quilt room called The Collectable Quilt Company which is Ireland’s only shop specialising in antique and vintage quilts, that are sourced worldwide and date from the early 1800s and 1900s. They are of American, English, Irish, Welsh and French provenance all hand-pieced and hand-quilted. Owner Alison Miley is an artist and her vibrant canvases are on display among the vintage pieces. I also love Eclectic House for its upcycled furniture. Make a beeline for The Courtyard where there are eight antique dealers – after that adrenalin rush I recommend coffee at the Courtyard Café. If staying overnight, try Rose Cottage (featured in House Beautiful) and Lilac Tree Cottage, dating from the 1860s; www.theoldcourthousegreyabbey.com.
Huey’s Antiques, 77 Main Street, Loughgall, Co Armagh
If you are making a trip to “Orchard County” – Armagh’s Food & Cider weekend is officially from September 24-27 – then do check in at Huey’s. A long established business, now in its second generations of owners, Huey’s is known for its furniture, silver and porcelain. Don’t leave the county without some Bramley apples though! www.billhueyantiques.co.uk
Kenmare Antiques & Collectables, 14 Henry Street, Kenmare, Co Kerry
Owner Patsy Healy defines her business as a labour of love which she started in 2001 with Margaret Rogers and which she has run singlehandedly since 2010. “My first love is silver, especially Irish silver. I also have an extensive stock of figurines and other ceramics, which I source at auctions and markets. I also carry a selection of paintings and prints which run from mid 19th-century watercolours and prints to modern paintings by local artists.” www.kenmareantiques.com
Kennedy and Wolfenden, 86 Main Street, Portrush, Co Antrim
Combine a trip to the north coast, and a stay at Bushmills Inn, with a visit to this legendary address which is overseen by the indefatigable Eleanor Wolfenden-Orr and her husband Sam. They have been in business for 40 years, having first set up on Belfast’s Lisburn Road. Such is the esteem in which Eleanor is held in the antiques fraternity, 400 of her contacts raised over £100,000 for cancer research at a black tie event earlier this year. Eleanor has myeloma (an incurable blood cancer) which hasn’t interfered with her passion for collectables or giving back; www.kennedywolfenden.com.
Killarney Art Antiques & Collectables, Cork Road, Killarney, Co Kerry
“Where rare meets the beautiful” is one way to sum up this shop, founded in 2007, which specialises in smaller items including books, art, porcelain, stemware and garden furniture. www.killarneyantiques.com
In search of vintage designer jewellery and bags? Look no further than Lou Slevin’s online store. Regular stock drops every Sunday at 7pm, where you’ll find authenticated accessories including Balenciaga, Celine, Chanel, Dior, Fendi, Gucci and Saint Laurent. Slevin says: “Our designer bags start from €90 upwards. We recently sold a vintage Louis Vuitton pochette from 2005 for €295 which proves that no bag is too old for a new lease of life”. She also reworks pre-loved bag charms and charm bracelets into designer necklaces ranging from €70-€150; www.louslot.com.
Michael Mortell, 53 Francis Street, Dublin 8
A must-visit for antique aficionados, Mortell specialises in French Art Deco and mid-century Italian period i.e. 1920s – 1960s. He was one of the forerunners of introducing mid-century modern to the Irish interiors market. Currently in stock is a gorgeous pair of Maison Jansen 1960s brass end tables and a gorgeous Italian mid-century console. Be prepared to fall in love at this address: www.michaelmortell.com.
Mosa Studio, 326 South Circular Road, Dolphins Barn, Dublin
Former fashion designer Siobhan Burke says “I’m not an antiques dealer rather someone who wants to preserve the story of a piece of furniture and to place it within a new context.” Her passion for reclaiming pieces was ignited when she lived in New York 30 years ago where she shopped at stoop and tag sales. She set up her own studio Mosa within a salvage yard and regularly props for film sets, as well as sourcing interesting accessories for bars, restaurants and her clients as far afield as Berlin, Poland and Holland; www.mosastudio.ie.
Niall Mullen Antiques, 105 Francis Street, The Liberties, Dublin 8
Specialises in an eclectic range of antiques from 1770 – 1970. “Niall has a wealth of knowledge and can also assist in sourcing pieces for projects,” says Roisin Lafferty. “One of the standout pieces I sourced there was a walnut burl dining table from the Sixties with two concrete pedestal bases.” www.niallmullenantiques.com
North Coast Auction Rooms, 222 Kilmoyle Road, Ballymoney, Co Antrim
“NCAR is a fabulous and slightly dangerous addition to the north coast and I’m not sure I even really want to share this information with other vintage lovers,” confesses designer and stylist Sara O’Neill, whose Roisin Dubh, Messenger and Seashell prints are inspired by vintage toile de Jouy, chinoiserie and blue Willow patterns. “I have bagged some incredibly beautiful pieces and real bargains – favourites being a 1970s rattan hanging chair, a stunning black and gold lacquer Victorian cabinet and a gold bust I call Maud (after Ms Gonne). It’s a genuine treasure trove, with everything from Georgian furniture right up to some 90s fashion pieces.” www.northcoastauctionrooms.com
Patrick’s Curiosity Shop, Unit 3, St Helen’s Court, George Street Lower, Dun Laoghaire
Dun Laoghaire is a magnet for charity chic shopping, though I have often wondered if it’s also the place where Aynsley china officially retires as there’s so much of it to be found. Patrick’s Curiosity Shop is a cut above the other preloved shops with a superior edit of clothing (I’ve found Prada, Pucci and Dolce items on the rails). There is a rapid turnover of antique collectables and manager Patrick Mangan ensures all items are quarantined and properly cleaned and steamed before being put on the shop floor, while profits go to different local charities.
Prendergast Antiques, Market Street, Clifden, Connemara
This is a nose-to-the-window job – with an enviable display anytime we visit. Sadly, though, it’s never open unless you ring the number in the window (offputting). Hint!
Straffan Antiques & Design, Barberstown, Straffan, Co Kildare
This is the definition of a good day out with a Victorian tea room on site and a range of good quality furniture and antiques on offer. In addition, a restoration service is available with 18th-and 19th-century furniture a particular forte; www.straffanantiques.com.
Tempo Antiques, 9 Upper Cross Street, Galway
This family-run shop, owned by Frank and Phil Greeley, has just celebrated its 25th anniversary this summer and specialises in rings, jewellery and small collectables; www.tempoantiques.com. Other notable Galway mentions include Talco Antiques (also on Cross Street) and Twice as Nice on Quay Street. Says chef and food writer, Cliodhna Prendergast, “Both have a lot of jewellery and small items rather than paintings and furniture”. www.twiceasniceireland.com
The Vintage Hub, Oberstown, Lusk, Dublin
The owner (Killian McNulty) believes in testing customers’ boundaries in terms of their design aesthetic – think New York Loft meets achingly hip Scandinavian more. The Vintage Hub is another favourite of Roisin Lafferty. “I love the depth and and individuality each piece brings to our interiors, especially love his bold and blocky pieces by Willy Rizzo and Karl Springer.” www.thevintagehub.com
The Vintage Room, Main Street, Schull, Co Cork
Shop salvaged lettering, saucy postcards and accessories with an industrial vibe all reflect Eddie, the owner’s interests and desire to stock the offbeat and unusual. For many, this is antiques heaven, in heaven – West Cork. www.thevintageroom.ie
The Storeyard, Kea-Lew Business Park, Mountrath Road, Portlaise, Co Laois
“This is a real gem which has both large scale salvage pieces as well as delicate and fine antiques. I love to spend hours browsing here,” admits interior designer Suzie McAdam. “I recently sourced a Victorian overmantle mirror in black lacquer and gilt chinoiserie details that had featured in the film Little Women.” www.thestoreyard.ie
Treasure Chest Antiques, 49 Main Street, Blackrock, Co Dublin
AKA Norman’s – a favourite with THE GLOSS team – being just across from head office. Knick knacks, silverware and kilim rugs are on offer. It’s a bit of a squeeze as the shop is crammed, but it’s rare the Glossies don’t spy (or buy) some of Norman’s vintage jewellery.
The Gaiety Antique and Vintage Store, Libree Lower, Islandeady, Co Mayo
Located between Castlebar and Westport, Cliodhna Prendergast often makes the detour to call into The Gaiety. “It has a good mix of high end antiques and beautifully refurbished pieces, plus lots of lamps, and little pieces to pick up including a great selection of candles.” www.gaiety.ie
Wilson’s Yard, 123 Hillsborough Road, Dromore, Co Down
Wilsons Yard should be your first port of call across the border. Half an hour from Newry, this is a magnet for bounty hunters, especially if you are incorporating a raw, industrial vibe to your home. Reclaimed brick and flooring are a forte but so too are garden gems. Wilson’s Yard worked with Diarmuid Gavin on one of his RHS show gardens providing him with Yorkstone paving. Design enthusiasts can ask Nigel Wilson and his team to source items (from whatever era) for projects; much of its success is down to their unflappable and irreproachable customer service. www.wilsonsyard.com
Special thanks to Roisin Lafferty, Rebecca Roe, Suzie McAdam, Cliodna Prendergast, Rebecca Rowe, Sara O’Neill, Maura O’Connell Foley and Tara O’Connor.
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