Landmark family business, Mullaney's of Robertstown, celebrates 60 years

Milestone

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It was the year the European Economic Community — the forerunner to the EU — was formed and the year Elvis Presley bought a mansion in Tennessee and called it Graceland.

And the year the first nuclear reactor plant opened in the US for the production of electricity.

In November 1957, Thomas Mullaney put his name over the bar and grocery shop in Robertstown that still bears the same name. The shop has previously been owned by the Lambe family.

Thomas Mullaney hailed from Geevagh in County Sligo, leaving in the bleak 1930s for Dublin, where he worked in the retail industry. Later he moved to Rathcoole to work and live.

He was working in Dublin when the Germans bombed the city in 1941, during World War II.

In the 1950s Thomas arrived in Naas to work in Lawlor’s Hotel, then one of the foremost catering, hotel and food enterprises.
He also worked in Slough in England for a time before coming to Robertstown to open the business which looks out on to the Grand Canal, which is itself a feature of Robertstown since for more than two centuries.

Today, six decades on, the business is still run by the family. Michael and Thomas run the recently renovated bar/lounge the supermarket which, unusually in today’s branded retail world, is an independent shop.

“This is an old independent business and we know this is a bit of a rarity. I’d imagine there can only be perhaps three left in county Kildare and I think I would have to go looking to find the others.

Here the counter from one business runs into the other. We have remained as an independent supermarket because I never really liked the idea of taking on a brand or a franchise. Our service is top class, you can just about buy anything you want here, from a needle to an anchor,” said Michael.

The business is open seven days a week between 8am and 10pm and obviously the pub stays open later. It’s a family-run affair with Michael, his wife Rita, Thomas and sometimes Thomas’s wife Deirdre and Katie Donohoe.

Robertstown has changed much. The visitor traffic using the canal has fallen, partly because people prefer to visit shopping centres on Sundays and while there were plans for some 100 additional houses and a refurbished Canal Hotel, these didn’t materialise.

Mullaney's has nevertheless thrived because it offers an excellent service.
“We work hard and provide a good service and we are keenly priced. We thank the community for their support over the last sixty years and we look forward to their support for the next 60 years,” added Michael.