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The story of Rathbornes' candle crate


Author's Note: This is a repost of my article on the history of one of our oldest suppliers, the Rathbornes Candle company. Due to a technical fault (my apologies) this post was re-published here. It was originally published on 21/07/2018. I hope you'll enjoy reading it if you haven't already!

Two summers ago, our shop underwent its first make-over in nearly sixty years. This was badly needed as we did not wish for it to fall into disrepair like many more buildings of its kind. Not an inch of the building went unchecked; especially the attic, which held many family treasures of yesteryear. Amongst the mountains of documents, books, and antiques there was something that caught our eye; a shipping crate from the world's oldest candle company, The Rathbornes Candle Company.

The beginning

If we set the scene, a motivated man named John G Rathborne was eager to start producing candles. To pursue his passion, he moved to Dublin from his home in Chester, England sometime during the 1480s. In 1488, he set up shop on Wynetavern Street where his company, The Rathborne Candle Company perfected the art of candle making over five centuries.

Jeremiah and the Crate

An original shipping label on a crate from Rathborne's Candles to Jeremiah Higgins.

When Jeremiah Higgins took over the business from his father, Patrick Higgins, he explored many new opportunities. One of which was candles, which were big business at the time. Electricity was practically non-existent. Without candles, many rural settlements were simply left in the dark. Jeremiah knew this, and so he decided to capitalise on this need; and who better to do it with than the experienced and high-quality candle maker, Rathbornes.

To order candles, a letter would have been sent to Rathbornes. Rathbornes would have packed the candles into a crate and would have sent it by rail. Then, at the Claremorris train station, the crate would be collected by cart and brought to Jeremiah Higgins on Main Street.

Jeremiah Higgins standing outside his shop in 1940.

Here and now

Now, Rathbornes has been named  "The oldest candle maker in the world". They still operate in Dublin city and continue to produce their candles using the same methods and materials as before. It's their dedication to these tried and tested methods which makes their products truly special. Jeremiah must have recognised this in the 1900s when he ordered a selection of Rathbornes' candles to sell in the shop.

In recent years Rathbornes have continued to innovate. Now, they offer a new collection of scented candles aptly named 'Beyond the Pale' after the historic Pale region of Ireland. These candles come in many scents, from the romantic Dublin Tea Rose to the untamed Wild Mint. If you're interested in getting one of these incredible candles for yourself, you can visit our shop on Main Street, Claremorris.

Thanks for reading! I'll try to answer any questions in the comments.


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