Martin McGowen - Faces of Fairview

Dublin is such a small city! After researching this project I realised Martin is the father of a dear friend and has also been John’s mechanic for over 10 years! Martin has been associated with Fairview and Marino ever since he was 9 years old when he used to play football in Fairview Park. In his early 20’s he joined the CY Football Club in Fairview and played with them for 10 years until his knees started to give him trouble. He then got married and started a family. During that time he partnered up with one of his friends and they worked together in his garage for just over 7 years. Since then, Martin has run the garage by himself and this year celebrates having his own successful business in Fairview for 35 years.

Martin has made many great friends whilst working and playing football in Fairview. He states that Fairview has always been a fantastic community and the people have always had a friendly nature, throughout generations. ‘Fairview really is a jewel!’. All his customers are regulars who have been coming to him year after year. He has never had to advertise for his business, everyone who has walked into his garage has come from word of mouth. His choice to keep his business in Fairview was a no brainer.  He loves the customers he has and ‘You can’t beat walking onto Fairview Strand and always getting at least 6 or 7 hellos!’

Martin is a big believer that one must keep at their hobbies and passions aside from work. When he stopped playing football, he took to marathon running, then golfing and then fell in love with deep-sea diving. He travels all over Ireland and the world to dive. He and his wife love to travel the world together. (I can see so much of Denise in him as he speaks!) They have raised 4 incredible women who have all gone on to succeed in their lives but still have a seriously close bond with their parents. Martin is a true gent who is totally in love with his family and has a genuine zest for life.

Victor Edge - Faces of Fairview

Victor Edge from Edge Hardware Store in Fairview needs no introduction to most of you. His store has been in Fairview for over 100 years and runs through 3 generations‼️

Aside from being the local celeb, Victor is well known for his kind heart and warm demeanour. He is always smiling and willing to help wherever he can. His store is a wonderland of knick-knacks. If you need anything at all, Victor will have it.

Victor’s grandfather Elias came to Dublin in the early 1900s. He worked as a stock-keeper in Hampton Leedom up until the Rebellion in 1916 when it was burned down. On the 19th March 1917, Elias opened 2 Fairview Corner where he had his hardware store, Elias Edge Hardware, and China Merchants downstairs with the family home on the 2nd floor. The store became very successful and Elias managed to install one of the first petrol pumps in the area and then purchased the land behind the store (which is now the Euro Spar) to create a garage.

Elias ran the store up until 3 months before he died at 93 years of age. Unfortunately, Victor’s father died not long after so Elias Junior’s wife Chrissie took over the running of the store. She was very much adored by the local community and came in every day until she died at the age of 92 in 2016. Victor, having grown up in the shop, started working there when he was 15 years old and has worked there ever since.

The Edge Hardware store has seen many events in history and has stood through some terrible disasters over the course of 100 years. From World War II to rebellion bombings, an escapee Lion to massive snowstorms - to name but a few. There is an excellent write up about The Edge family in a book called History On Your Doorstep, Six stories of Dublin history100 years of Edge Hardware: 1917-2017 by Dublin City Council Historian, Cormac Moore.

The store is decorated with photographs dating right back to when it first opened. There is a real sense of melancholy when looking through them all and getting a glimpse of how much history one building has stood through. For an independent store to last over 20 years is a great achievement these days, let alone 100 years. Edge Hardware has remained a faithful constant in the community of Fairview and is continually supported by not only people in Fairview and Marino but those from Clontarf, Raheny and Ballybough.

Where we sat chatting and eating scones in Victor’s office, the walls are filled with photographs of Victor’s family. It is wonderful to see so many printed photographs, a rarity sadly in this day and age. He is immensely proud of his wife and two daughters, speaking very fondly about their achievements. Victor being quite a shy man by nature didn’t want to make too much of a fuss about the 100-year mark, yet his daughter Beverly and the locals who love him to bits had other ideas. Beverly created a mini-exhibition of photographs and memorabilia of the store, they threw a big party for him and treated him and his wife to a luxurious weekend away.

As Damian Duggan from Duggan Jelewers said to the Dublin Enquirer, Edge Hardware store is ‘.. the anchor for the whole village.’ I for one, could definitely not done this exhibition without him in it. Thank you, Victor.

Damian Duggan - Faces of Fairview

I remember when John and I walked into Duggan Jewellers Ltd to speak with Damian about my project. I was blown away by his genuine interest and excitement for what I was doing. Naturally, when you start a project like this there are moments when you think, ‘Will people like this? Is this actually going to work??’. After speaking with Damian I felt as if all my worries just dissipated as we chatted. He is so proud of Fairview and the people in it. He loves his fellow shop keepers in the area and absolutely adores his customers that walk through his door.

Damian’s father was a watchmaker who had a business in the city center. Unfortunately, his store was robbed one day and he was badly beaten up during the robbery. His father moved his business and worked from home for a couple of years and then in 1980 took the store right next door to where Duggan Jewellers Ltd is at the moment. Damian followed in his father’s footsteps and studied as a watchmaker. He started working with his father and then took over the business in his early twenties. He rented the store for 21 years under the address next door and then decided to buy the shop that he is in today. So, on April Fool’s day, Damian packed up his shop and moved to his new store next door.

Like any small business, Duggan Jewellers has had its ups and downs and Damian has seen it all. The recession however brought more customers to the small businesses in Fairview including Duggan Jewellers Ltd - showing the true village nature of the people in the area. Damian believes one of the reasons his business is still going from strength to strength is because he has always worked very hard at maintaining a personal touch. He also knows that a business has to move with the times and taught himself how to market his business with the powers of social media and updating his web presence. I have to say, he really does have a natural flair for it!

Whilst we chatted in his store, he set up his jewellery in their perfect position. The Beatles played in the background and he spoke fondly of the many regulars that have been coming into him for many years. Many of his customers don’t just pop in for his services, they pop in for tea and a chinwag too. No matter how busy he his, Damian is always willing to spend that important time with his customers. There is a true sense that this man is not only passionate about his trade but equally passionate about making people feel important and happy.

In 1999, a young Italian student, Guido Nasi, was attacked in Fairview Park and left paraplegic after the assailants smashed a bottle over his head. Damian felt that Guido was not getting the support he deserved and decided to seek out sponsors from his local suppliers to raise funds for him. The locals of Fairview got involved and managed to raise a considerable fund for Guido. This then spurred many other people in Dublin to reach out and help him. This story is yet another testament to the beautiful community that is in Fairview and its surrounding areas and of course what an absolute gem Damian is!

Damian’s love of Fairview boils down to the incredible people he has met walking through his door and the long-lasting friendships he has made with them as well as the local store owners around him. In particular, is his friendship with Victor Edge from Edge Hardware who he drops in for tea and banter every morning.

I truly believe that some people are given a natural ability to warm the hearts of those around them. They genuinely love to talk to people and look after them. Damian is one of those people, a true gentleman!

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