Findlaters or Tallons

Findlaters or Tallons

In Brief

The "Adam Findlaters or Dan Tallons" that Bloom imagines his country curates blossoming into were purveyors of alcohol whose considerable business success prompted aspirations to join the ruling class. But Findlater's was certainly not a rags-to-riches story, and there is no evidence that Tallon's was either.

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Adam S. Findlater (1855-1911) managed Alexander Findlater & Co., Ltd., a booming business in tea, wine, and spirits that was founded in 1823 by his uncle Alexander, an enterprising Scotsman. The main store was on Sackville (now O'Connell) Street, but there were branch offices scattered throughout the city and the surrounding county. The excellent family website at devotes a chapter to Adam, who was educated at Trinity College (B.A. 1876, M.A. 1889) while working in the family business. As managing director he brought considerable learning and skill to the management of the firm, overseeing steady growth. He also had ownership stakes and management responsibilities in Dublin hotels, theaters, and distilleries.

In addition to some notable charitable enterprises, Findlater was deeply involved in local politics. He served on the Dublin Port and Docks Board and the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, and chaired the town commission of Kingstown at a time when that rich suburb undertook many civic improvements. When the gathering strength of the Home Rule movement in the 1880s prompted conservative business people to organize politically as unionists, Findlater became an articulate proponent of liberal unionist causes, advocating reforms that moderate nationalists might agree upon. Thornton notes that the United Irishman, Arthur Griffith's newspaper, characterized Findlater as "kowtowing to the English in hope of some preferment," encouraging "foreign manufacture in Ireland," and "begging for a knighthood."

Daniel Tallon was a man of more pronounced nationalist sympathies, and probably of somewhat humbler origins. Gifford identifies him as "A successful publican" and as a "grocer and wine merchant" at 46 George's Street South and 57 Stephen Street. Tallon became High Sheriff of Dublin in 1895 and was the Lord Mayor from 1898 to 1900. He too was involved in significant charitable and philanthropic enterprises. Bloom thinks of his lord-mayorship in Ithaca.

JH 2017
The Findlater storefront at 29-32 Sackville Street Upper, next to the Parnell monument erected in 1911. Source:
Photographic portrait of Adam Findlater, date unknown. Source:
1899 photographic portrait of Daniel Tallon by Sir (John) Benjamin Stone, held in the Photographs Collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London. Source: