John Kennedy and Michael McSharry both worked together in Arnotts and then set up Kennedy & McSharrry in 1890. Michael Junior and Brendan were the second generation who joined in the early 1920's.
Of the original Kennedy & McSharry founders, McSharry was grandfather to current owners Tony and Neil and he originally worked in Arnotts with John Kennedy. They decided to open shop themselves on Westmoreland Street in 1890.
The shop was originally located in Westmoreland Street. The firm subsequently bought a premises in 3/4 D'olier street and broke through . You could then enter the shop from either Westmoreland or D'olier street.
When John Kennedy eventually retired, and as he didn’t marry, they came to an arrangement in the 1920s that the McSharry family would continue the business but keep the name.
The shop quickly gained a reputation for its attention to detail and quality in the early 1900s and attracted prominent customers like Michael Collins, British Army officers and later Presidents of Ireland.
Wedding 1914, John James Kennedy, (Back row, second left). The male wedding guests were dressed by Kennedy & McSharry
Irish revolutionary, soldier, and politician, Michael Collins was a customer in 1922! He came in for basic shirts, ties and hats. At that time there was a lot of account customers as it was before credit cards. So those customers might buy pieces and pay for it later.
According to current owner Tony Mc Sharry, grandson of the founder of the store, "Back in the troubled times of the 1920s the British officers would buy clothes in the shop while we would deliver trench coats to secret locations and so on. They were on credit, which was common at that time. But everything was always paid up,".
May 1929 – Crampton builders revamp the shop
The shop was originally located in D’Olier Street and was extensively renovated by Crampton builders in 1929.
Politicians and members of high-society continued to buy from the store. The second President Sean T O'Kelly (June 1945 to June 1959) was a customer, as were many other prominent politicians.
Unfortunately, there was a fire in Westmoreland Street in the Regent Hotel above, so when the building had to be restored K&MS had to move and found Nassau Street.
Kennedy & Mc Sharry catalogue
Vintage Hat sizer
Tony and Neil invested in two Lacoste franchises in Dublin and business boomed. Connection with the Irish Rugby team
Kennedy & McSharry have a long association with Irish Rugby. Over many years together with different manufacturers
such as Magee and Eden-Park they have outfitted the Irish rugby team. The shop stocks a selection of rugby ties including IRFU, Leinster and Munster.
Also many horse racing and show jumping enthusiasts have been suitably attired by Kennedy & McSharry.
The firm annually take stands at the Punchestown racing festival and RDS horse show.
Spiralling rents and overheads of the celtic tiger years forced the company to close the Nassau Street shop in 2012.
Tony and Neil then opened the current shop in Powerscourt Townhouse Centre concentrating on the firms long established reputation
in the Hat business together with quality accessories such as silk bow ties Cravats Scarfs etc.
The firm have been honoured to serve many dignataries from both the political and Diplomatic core such as Ambassadors Dan Rooney and Jean Kennedy Smith. Former Taoiseach's include Jack Lynch, Garret Fitzgerald and Liam Cosgrave.
During the 1980s and 90s the shop was an institution on Nassau street. Grafton street performer Dicman can been seen promoting hats in the early 1980s.
The ‘Diceman’ promoting Kennedy McSharry hats circa 1980
However, climbing rents and high overheads of the Celtic Tiger years nearly wiped the company out altogether, and led to the closure of the Nassau Street shop in 2012.
Mc Sharry brothers, tony and Neil now operate the business online and in the Powerscourt Town Centre. Tony says that he believes that family ownership is the key to the resilience of the business.