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History


   
Jeremiah Higgins circa 1930s

 

Jeremiah Higgins is Ireland's oldest shop. The shop has been passed from generation to generation. Started by Patrick Higgins in 1820, who passed it to his son Thomas, who then left it to his son Jeremiah. When Jeremiah passed it to his daughters, they left his name over the door. The shop has witnessed many important events, such as the Irish Famine in the 1840s, the 1916 Easter Rising and the first and second World Wars.

We were lucky to be able to protect such a landmark of family and local history. While many old businesses lost their heritage in favour of the modern, stubborn minds and busy hands placed a veil of protection over the history, charm and antiquity of the shop. In the year 2016 the present generation took over; bringing their family shop, Jeremiah Higgins, back to life as a tasteful preservation of the past in modern Ireland.

Old Aligns with New

The shop now is quite similar to the shop then. Upon walking through the heavy wooden door, you are greeted by the chime of the antique brass bell and hum of vinyl on the gramophone. Originally, there were two counters on either side of the shop; one selling suits, and the other selling materials for making garments. This layout has been retained, but our stock has changed. When, at one time, we were in the business of general drapery and leather crafting, we now specialise in Irish gifts, leather goods and high quality apparel. The shop has evolved into new trades frequently throughout the generations; selling everything from detachable shirt collars to haberdashery products. Jeremiah Higgins is now a destination for those seeking hat special gift. 
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Eileen and Delia

The previous keepers of the shop were the Higgins sisters Eileen and Delia They ran the shop from the end of World War II to 2015; Leaving an incredible legacy of loyalty, love and persistence. From birth, they lived above the shop with their father Jeremiah and their mother Elizabeth and their brothers and sisters. They were the inspiration for the shop today and the protectors of it's history for nearly half a century.
Elizabeth Higgins Claremorris with daughter Lily in 1922
Elizabeth Higgins with her daughter Lily  1922

The Suppliers

These days we stock high-quality gifts, leather goods, accessories, crafts and more. Some of our well-known brands include Rathbornes, Foxford Woollen Mills, and Aran Woollen Mills. Many of these brands have been with us since the beginning; as proven by the discovery of a worn rail-crate from Rathbornes and several antiquated invoices from Foxford. We have, infact, been working with Foxford Woollen Mills for so long that our business is still listed as a general draper in their records.

The Documents

We have worked hard to retain the shops features, yet we have worked even harder to preserve our collection of historic documents. When you approach the counter, be sure to take a look at what's hiding under the glass. You should see layers of documents, with some dating back as far as 1899. We have everything from birth certificates to shop day books. As you read, you may find yourself lost in the stories that emerge from the pages and letters. Some people have been lucky enough to find their relatives in our books. It is truly unique and comical experience to find your grandmother described vividly in a shop journal, so we're told.

       Shop book from 1900

Come for a visit!

You are guaranteed to find something interesting when you visit us. We welcome you to bring your loved ones, friends and family to explore the incredible heritage of the Higgins family on Main Street. Who knows, you might even find one of your relatives in our archives! Thanks for Reading, we hope to see you soon!