The Old Bird Of Portobello.
In 1945 the manager of the pawnbroker on charlemount mall retired. He had moved to Dublin from Trim, Co Meath in 1908 to take up his apprenticeship. Having lived in various accommodations within the Charlemount and Portobello area he finally settled in upper Lesson Street, where he lived and raised his family over the next forty years.
He served and survived the 1916 Easter rising and he also was on Hill 16, Croke park when the Black and Tans arrived without tickets on Bloody Sunday. He helped to lay the foundations of this nation.
He was widowed with a young family at the age of 45. No one would begrudge him his retirement. But being the man he was, he took his retirement clock, all his savings and bought a shop on South Richmond Street, Portobello. He put the clock in the window and by selling it, he had set up one of Dublin 's best-known Antique and second hand furniture shops. Being a well know local trader he put his name over the door and it read “CHRISTY BIRD & CO”.
From That day Christy Bird & Co have been recycling Dubliner's furniture, be it household or antique, if it had a resale value they would sell it.
In the early years the bike was the only way to travel the streets of Dublin , the shop had the largest selection of used old black bikes in town. Anybody who moved up to Dublin , would go to Birds for there transport.
With the location of the college of Surgeons on York street , students who where finished with their skeletons (which were real) would sell them to Christy Bird's, we literally had skeletons in the basement. He would then sell them back in the new year or to the first year students (called bare bone recycling).
Times have changed and what was bone is now plastic and the wood in the furniture has changed to chipboard or MDF.
Most of today's furniture is disposable, destined for a landfill site near you soon. Christy Bird & Co offers you quality furniture made when they knew how to make it and at prices we can all live with. They will also buy back the furniture when you are finished with it, now that real recycling.
South Richmond Street was a bustling trading street from the time Christy opened his doors, apart from the three great pubs, which are still trading, there where three butcher shops, a fishmonger, two drapery shops, a shoe maker, fruit and Vegatibles shop, chemist, paint shop, barbers and several restaurants and cafes. All these specialized shops ceased trading due to the expanding suburban hypermarkets, Dublin has sadly got more Americanised with more interest on convince than service.
Christy Bird & Co has long established relationship with the Arts. Many of Dublin's best theatre groups; The Abbey and The Gaiety to name but a couple have hired props from the shop over the years. Films like “Saving Private Ryan”, ‘The Field',‘My Left Foot', ‘Angela Ashes', ‘The Commitments', ‘Cal', ‘Out of Africa' (winner of the Oscar for props), have all used furniture and props supplied from the shop. Customers get a great buzz to know Liam Nelson used the chair they just bough in the film ‘Michael Collins' or the kitchen table they sold to Bird's had a starring role in Mileys house in RTE's Glenrow.
With the advance of the IT and Dublin bursting with entrepreneurs, who can see a saving, Christy Birds have established a large stock of new and nearly new office furniture, ideal for the home office and small business. Sample of which can be found on there web site www.christybird.com .
As they say ‘verity is our specialty', not only do they deal in office furniture, used & new household furniture, classic reproduction garden & home furniture and they make pine furniture to order to any size you require.
They can also source antiques from their many contacts through out Ireland , so if you're looking for specific item, don't hesitate to contact them.
The staff has changed over the year's, Jimmy Kavanagh past away in 1991 having worked in the shop for over forty year's. Jack Bird and Jack Sefton died in the early 1970's and Eddy (Ned) Kenna past away in 1994. Christy Bird himself past away in 1975 at the age of 83. The business was taken over by his daughter Annette (ladybird), who is set to retire, but her son Christy, Paul Boland (19 years served) and Gerry Flanagan will hope to keep the doors open and the name going into the future with your help. So don't forget to support your local trader and recycle and reuse furniture with Christy Bird & Co, It's in all our interest.
From local Newspaper "Village Quarter" 2005