Flanagan Kerins finds match in Rathwood

Peter Flanagan comes from a fine furniture pedigree. His father established a furniture business back in 1946 in Derry and Buncrana, Donegal.  Peter’s brother captained the ship and developed an extensive furniture restoration team. He brought it to a new level, incorporating fine furniture, antiques and furniture restoration. Peter was sent at 18 years old to Dublin to develop the then fledging shop in Mount Merrion. He was joined by Damian Kerins five years later and together they grew the business steadily into a furniture empire over the next 25 years.

The last days of expansion included the purchase of the Fruit of the Loom business in Donegal. It cost €1.5 million to purchase and another €1.5 million was ploughed into the business. Sadly this investment coincided with the burst of the Celtic Tiger. The collapse of the business happened in November 2011.

‘The tide went out,’ says Peter. ‘And Damian and I were left looking at each other.’ But being resilient men they decided to start over, after all they had the experience and the training and years of furniture buying behind them.

Four months later, Flanagan Kerins was born boasting the two principals, their wives and one employee. Five years later, March 2017, the number of employees has grown to 13 with showrooms in both Mount Merrion and Bray.

‘I love working with furniture,’ says Peter. ‘It is what gets me out of bed each morning.’

He stresses that their joint backgrounds in antiques and furniture construction enable them to make the best decisions when buying furniture. ‘We understand the difference between solid and veneer. We understand the attributes of different woods, between polished finishes and grains in wood. Understanding the fine art of furniture restoration means we can buy quality products locally and around the world.’

Last year Peter first met with James Keogh from Rathwood, Co Wicklow. Rathwood’s reputation for excellent garden furniture interested the seasoned businessman. As James explains: ‘Nowadays we see the garden flow into the home and likewise the home flow into the garden. We have concentrated on sourcing the best quality garden furniture as we know it has to be the same quality grade as household furniture.’

Rathwood’s business is not limited to just Ireland as it has an extensive network across the UK which accounts for one third of overall furniture sales.

Peter reviewed the range of garden furniture at Rathwood and really enjoyed the variety and quality of the products. ‘We had dabbled in the garden end over the past thirty years but it was nice to see such a complete range at Rathwood. The fact they can also supply product into the UK gets them another gold star as that is a very competitive and demanding marketplace,’ he says.

Rathwood now has its garden furniture in both showrooms and the customers welcome the new range.

October 30, 2023 — Chisom Onwukwe

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.