This drawing of the facade of John J Donnellan’s business on Shop Street appeared in the Connacht Tribune of April 9, 1910. The accompanying text said: “Ladies and Gentlemen, I say you cannot do better than call at Donnellan’s, the popular Drapery House for your millinery, your mantles, your blouses, your dresses. Men, for your suitings, your outfittings etc. All goods marked one price – The Lowest. All departments crammed full with the latest novelties”.
He was a major advertiser in local newspapers, and constantly varied his advertisements. At one stage, he was heavily promoting the “Celebrated H. S. Corsets, thoroughly stylish, most serviceably constructed, most reasonably priced”.
It was an impressive building, whose proprietor, John J Donnellan, was described as ‘genial’ and whose motto was “Buy the products of your own Country”. This was no vain invitation to intending customers, for in all classes of drapery goods — in all requirements for ladies or gentlemen, from footwear to headgear, the “Products of your own country” were kept well and honestly to the front.
Donnellan’s seemed to have changed business depending on who was in charge. In 1902 it was MT Donnellan (presumably John J’s father ) and he claimed to be “The Leading House for Stationery, Toys and Fancy Goods, Jewellery, Cutlery, Electro-plated ware and Musical instruments. Portmanteaus, Travellings and Trunks, Perambulators, mail Cars, Fishing Tackle”. Later, he opened a new “Furniture Emporium with the best and most modern descriptions of household furniture, suitable for the Mansion or the Cottage, where you can save the carriage of similar goods from Dublin or elsewhere”.
In later years it evolved into a hardware shop.
The nature of the business may have changed, and indeed the whole character of the street did change, but the Donnellan name was part of Shop Street for about 100 years.
George eventually sold out to Anthony Ryan’s, and while the upper floor facade remains the same, they have in recent years modernised the ground floor frontage.