Sweet Memories: Urney Chocolates

Urney Chocolate Factory was situated on the Belgard Road in Tallaght (in the old aerodrome buildings) from the 1920s, through its high point in the 1960s when Urney Chocolates was the largest chocolate factory in Europe until it eventually closed in August 1980. It was a household name in Ireland at the time and was a massive employer in the area. An exhibition entitled ‘Sweet Memories’ which tells the story of Urney’s was on show in The Irish Agricultural Museum in Wexford earlier this year, and will be on view in the County Library in Tallaght in May 2010. This delightful exhibition was curated and illustrated by Karen Nolan, whose great grandparents founded the company way back in the early 1900s.

Karen has also has a great blog on her Urney project – Yearning for Urney.

Do you remember Urney Chocolates? Did you work there? If so, we’d love to hear from you, leave us a comment!

*UPDATE* To coincide with the national Heritage Week the exhibition will now run at the County Library from  21st August until 25th September 2010.


32 thoughts on “Sweet Memories: Urney Chocolates

  1. Looking forward to this exhibition, my dad worked there in the early days, and he has very happy memories of that time. Could I suggest that this event be also advertised in the Tallaght Echo, as I am sure there are lots of local people out there with good stories to tell of their time working there – but they may not hear about this exhibition or your call for their input. Thanks.

  2. Ah well I remember Urney Chocks. as a child of eight I was glued to the old Bush Radio on Saturdays to listen to the the Urney Program and Dantro the Planet Man; I was a member of Dantro The Planet Man Urney Club. Sure rip it up Jamser didn’t hold a candle to Dantro as far as I was concerned; sorry Maurene.

  3. My mother worked there in the 1930s or 40s. Her name was Theresa Gilsenan. We came to live in America in 1953. My mother has since passed, I live in upstate New York and would love to find a picture of this Chocolate Factory my mother spoke of so fondly. Does anyone remember my mother or have a picture?

    Many thanks

    • Yvonne
      I’ve been speaking with a lady Pat O’Neill who worked in Urneys. She remembers a Nancy Gilsenan from Bluebell who worked there and who probably cycled to Tallaght every day to work. She cannot remember what part of the Urney operation she worked in.

      • Nancy Gilsenan, that was my mother!! Her given name was Theresa, but everyone called her Nancy. Oh my goodness!! Would your friend happen to have any pictures of her? My mom passed away and we have no pictures of her when she was young. She spoke all the time of loving her job at Urney’s. We came here to America in 1953, but Mom never got over being homesick, she always wanted to go back.

        Thank you so much for writing back.

      • Hello people!!! My mother remembers Nancy Gilsenan who worked in Urney in the ‘packing’ dept. Packing the delicate sweets into boxes………..my mother is Teasie McCann now Redmond who cycled from Terenure to Tallaght everyday, hail, rain or snow. And if they got a puncture on the way, their wages were docked……..no excuses. The memory my mother has is the shock she got when she first saw and had to use a dry-toilet in Urney……….that was so-so-so many years ago!!!!

        Slan go foill. xx

  4. Teri,

    Your mother remembers my mother? (Nancy Gilsenan). Would she have any pictures at all of the time they worked there? Were they friends? My mother always spoke of Urneys and all the people she loved there. She never got over being homesick when we came to America.

  5. My father was the Sales Rep for Urneys out in the Far East in the early 1960s.

    When we were clearing out the attic in my mothers house in Dublin a few years ago, we came across lots of papers of my father’s, including references to sales out in Singapre for example. Interesting stuff.

  6. Hi, I worked in Urney’s, I feel I must correct the date of closure ! I was married in 1972, still worked in Urney’s. I was still there during 72 until I left later in the year. Loved the place by the way, some fun time memories.

  7. Hi, my dad Liam Foran from Bluebell worked for URNEYS as a truck driver for years,we loved it when Easter and Christmas came around,we always got the broken stuff that fell of the back of the truck,!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. What a great find! I’m the granddaughter of Harry & Eileen Gallagher, this has filled me in on what happened after Urney passed out of the family. What became of the site, and Urney House where they used to live? Torn down, I suppose 😦

  9. I remember the Urney’s Radio show with Gay Byrne .He presented some kind of space show called Dantro . I sent for my Dantro package and was enrolled in the group . My uncle Bill Clarke worked at Urney’s in Tallaght for a number of years and I remember he drove a Borgward car .He left Ireland in the early seventies and moved to England with his sons and my favorite cousins Pat and Billy.

  10. My mother worked here and she told me she loved her job. She also said lifting the trays was the hardest part. Anyway! great products.

  11. Looked at this site because I have an amazing Urney marshmallow tin from maybe 50,s 60,s belonging to my family from kimmage, No big inheritance just my lovely Urney tin and fantastic memories of Dublin.

  12. We also have Urney marshmallow tins my Mm used to say they were the most airtight tins. Sadly she passed away she was a great cook and must have used a lot of marshmallows and chocolate for her cakes and biscits she baked We stiil use the tins 1 has gone to Canada ,especially for the Christmas cake. It is lovely to be reading about the factory,the people working there and the connections.I never realized it was in Tallaght. Great blog and very intersting well done.

  13. Anyone remember Jim Kelly who worked on the Weighbridge in Urneys. Jim only had one arm. Also his wife Elsie worked in the Piping Room. I lived in Tallaght in the 60’s and remember the smell of the chocolate wafting down through the village. Also the sound of the factory horn which was a great reminder of the time of the day.

    John Dowling

    • I worked in the piping room and collected the chocolate for the girls and used to wrap the chocolate pieces by hand any remember finulla clarges from drinmagh

  14. I used to work for Urney’s from 1953 – 1958 in the factory during this period all the chocolates were hand-wrapped. In Approximately 1956 or 1957 I was selected to represent the company in an advertising campaign when Urneys’ introduced its first automatic wrapping machine and was asked to stand in a shop window in O’Connell Street while loading candies into the automatic wrapping machine; the owner of the company Mr Gallagher would then hand out free samples to customers. This was my first job out of school; I have lovely memories of this fun experience and am wondering if in your history collection if you may have a copy of the newspaper articles that ran that week or the poster that I was in advertising the machine and Urneys’s candies and if I might obtain a copy? Thank you for your time and assistance. Mary McDermott (née) O’Brien

  15. My mam worked in urneys on the belgard road she had 14 children and loved working ter l have great memories of her coming home on Friday’s with sweets our treat for the week she made lifelong friends ter a lot has since passed

  16. My mother’s sister Kitty Kenny from Peamount worked there in the 1930’s/1940’s. Another sister Margaret(Pidge) might have been there too. Great stories from my childhood days.

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