A couple of weeks ago, The Limerick Leader asked to write up some editorial on O'Donovan's Auctioneers that was finally re-opening after suffering extensive flood damage from the flooding of August 2008. I had no idea what to expect when I got there and had only driven through Newcastle West en route to Kilkenny. I was delighted that this time I could take a bit more time to wander around this charming town. And I was also delighted with what I found at O'Donovan's. In the two years I've been in Ireland I honestly have not found such a wonderful treasure trove of vintage goodies. Spoiled by the flea-markets of New York - it was definitely something I craved.
When the floods came in 2008, the water was eight feet high in this space and it has taken some doing to get it re-opened again. Their first auction was held on 14th November and they will be having regular auctions now that it is officially re-opened.
The main part of the space is choc a block full of furniture - chairs, tables, bureaus - laid out on the floor and even hanging from the walls.
What I love about places is like this is the thrill of the hunt - the prices are very reasonable and it's a great way to add a bit of history into your home. I'm all for mixing old with new.
I came across this hutch in one corner and its shelves were heaving from old marmalade jars - as I child I recall my father had loads of old Dundee jars throughout his studio for keeping his paintbrushes and other tools of his trade. (I'm sure I've mentioned that my father is also an artist - note to self - put some of his work up on my blog!! - he has a very different style from my mother but equally as wonderful and I do consider myself so lucky to have such creative parents) I've always loved these jars - the new ones just aren't the same. I think I'm going to have to sneak back and get a few for my office - perfect for storing my multiple pens and pencils that end up all over the house!
There's an old fireplace set up with all the traditional accessories one might find in an old Irish cottage. For the enthusiast that wants to re-create that look at home - O'Donovan's is the perfect place to shop.
At the entry are shelves groaning under the weight of books ranging in subject from sports to Irish interest and glass cases filled with collectibles such as Bellek, Capo di Monte Italian pieces, Waterford Crystal, Aynsley, Staffordshire along with vintage jewellery and silver pieces. An old fireplace has been outfitted with old cooking pots and accessories so if you wanted to create a traditional setting in your own home, all the elements are here. There are antique oil lamps, coins and bank notes mixed in with old fishing reels.
Throughout the space you’ll find a fantastic range of furniture from a rosewood piano to mahogany dressers and tables. There are brass fire guards and accessories mixed in with swords and bayonets. From floor to ceiling the walls are covered with paintings and the back wall has become a chair display with sets of chairs, including two charming children’s chairs, actually hanging on the walls. There are iron garden furniture pieces along with old bicycles, a vintage plough and even a car.
Antique garden pieces fill the back corner - I'm looking for an arched trellis for our front garden to grow climbing roses for next year - so I'll be back to find something suitable. Love these big iron urns!! They'd certainly make a statement outside our house.
O’Donovan’s & Associates is located at The Key House, Newcastle West. Tel: 069-62713 or at http://www.odonovan.ie/.
The website is really for the house auctioneer side of the business but you can ring them up to find out when their next auction is. They’ll be holding auctions every two months as they are now the only auction house in County Limerick (including the city) so demand is high for quality pieces such as can be found in their premises. Plus, during a recession - this is a great place to shop and it is the ultimate in re-cycling and re-using - most vintage pieces are sturdy and hardy and withstand the test of time.