The Connaught Buildings in Mainguard Street were established in 1861. The complex formed the business of Bartley Connolly and Sons. He advertised extensively as “By Special Appointment, Purveyor to HRH the Duke of Edinburgh; and to his excellency The Lord Lieutenant, and Chief Executive for Ireland.” They were major wine importers, spirit merchants, family grocers, and Italian warehousemen.
In 1899, they “Begged to return their sincere thanks to their numerous friends and public generally for their kind support …. Their establishment having attained a world-wide reputation. They now beg to direct their attention to their selected stock of choice old wines of the best vintages which have been imported by them directly from the most Eminent Houses in Spain and Portugal, and bottled under their own careful supervision. Their stock of old bottled port and clarets will be found unequalled, hundreds of dozens being in bottle for over 25 years.”
They were agents for the west of Ireland for Geisler’s, Heidsieck’s Dry Monopole, Pommery, and Greno’s champagnes, Johnston’s clarets, Deinhard’s Hocks and Moselles, Ingham’s Marsala, Schweppe’s and other celebrated mineral waters, at prices to suit the most fastidious.
They offered a carefully selected stock of pure Indian and China teas ranging from 1s 4d to 2s 8d per pound. Their Italian Warehouse Department was replete with the most tempting delicacies and boasted the finest Irish hams and bacon cured under their own supervision, collared head, sausages, and lard as well as a wide range of Cross & Blackwell’s preserves. ‘In fair competition we stand supreme for Provision values’. They sold fancy china and glass and claimed to have the largest holding and the most varied assortment of cigars, tobaccos, and pipes in the west of Ireland. Post orders were ‘promptly attended to’ and they made van deliveries several times daily to all parts of the town and suburbs. They had three branch houses: The Castle, Eyre Square, and Forster Street (where Garvey’s is today ); Central Bar, Bridge Street, and Mainguard Street (where Supermac’s is today ); and Salthill House, Salthill.
Our photograph, dated c1900 shows the summer tram stopped outside the front door. Having the tram stop so close must have been good for business, just as it would be in later years when the Salthill bus stopped outside the door of Raftery’s Hardware. Next door to Connollys was O’Neills, ‘The Boot King’.