I am proud to be the third generation in our family run business that was founded 75 years ago. The company was the brainchild of my grandfather Thomas, when he and some of his oldest friends formed The Irish Consolidated Bead Company on the 28th November 1945. The aim of that company was to produce Rosary beads for the Irish and overseas market, and was based in a small workshop in Terenure Place, Dublin. Some of the earliest products produced were rosaries made of horn, wood and Connemara marble and in 1947 he supplied rosaries to the world’s first duty-free shop in Shannon Airport.
My father, John, joined the company in November 1954 and under his management the business flourished. In 1962 he embarked on a building project to move the premises to a purpose built factory in Rathfarnham Village and at that time the company employed over 70 workers in-house and a further 150 home workers. In March of that year he changed the name of the company to JC Walsh & Sons Ltd.
My father recognised the importance of the export market, and most especially the American market as an outlet for Irish rosaries. He participated on a government sponsored trade mission to the USA in October 1963 and the highlight of that trip was meeting President John F. Kennedy in person in the Rose garden of the White House.
Changes in church practice in the 1960’s led to a decline in sales of traditional rosaries, but at the same time the tourism market was opening up in Ireland and the company switched focus to producing gifts and jewellery made from Connemara marble.
I joined the company in 1975, right after leaving school, and quickly learnt the business. As demand for marble products increased I was tasked with securing a permanent source of the raw material, and in 1983 I succeeded in purchasing our own quarry located in Lissoughter, County Galway.
The quarry was originally opened in the 1820’s and is the oldest working marble quarry – marble from this historic site has been used in some of the world’s finest buildings, and today we can still find the most beautiful marble that has lain hidden in the ground for over 900 million years. Under my management the company has grown and expanded. We have invested in modern stone working equipment and I take an active part in the design, development and production of the wide range that we produce.
I am immensely proud of the long tradition and wonderful products that my family has brought to you over three generations.
Myself and all my team take immense pride in what we do here in our workshop, and this will be reflected in every piece that you will see on our website.
I do hope that you will enjoy shopping with us.