In Brief

In Penelope Molly thinks of buying flowers the next morning from "Lambes there beside Findlaters." Miss Alicia Lambe ran a florist's shop at 33 Upper O'Connell Street, next to the massive Findlater's business at numbers 29-32, which sold Irish and English whiskeys and ales, French and German wines, Spanish ports, dry grains, boxed and bottled fruits, baked goods, spices, teas, cocoas, roasted coffee beans, oils, honeys and syrups, jams and jellies, pickles, anchovies, smoked bacon, eggs, butter, produce, and much more. Earlier, in Calypso, Bloom thinks of one of the prominent family owners of the company when he imagines poor pub servers from the country blossoming into "Adam Findlaters or Dan Tallons." Far from starting poor, Adam Findlater was born into a long-established and thriving company, and he capably contributed to its continuing expansion.

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Founded in 1823 by Alexander Findlater, an enterprising Scotsman, the business's main premises were on Upper Sackville (now O'Connell) Street, but by 1904 there were branch offices scattered throughout the city and its suburbs: Leinster Street, South Great George's Street, Upper Baggott Street, Thomas Street, Blackrock, Foxrock, Sandymount, Kingstown, Howth, Rathmines, Dalkey, Bray. The voluminous family website at devotes a chapter to Adam S. Findlater (1855-1911), who was educated at Trinity College (B.A. 1876, M.A. 1889) while working in the family business. As managing director (his elderly father John was still the Chairman in 1904), Adam brought considerable learning and also hard-nosed financial instincts to the running 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 Dublin Chamber of Commerce, and he 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 with which moderate nationalists might agree. 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."

Although the store on Upper O'Connell Streets is mentioned only once in the novel, its branded products would have been all over Dublin in 1904. The port and sherry wines recalled in Lestrygonians and the Bass Ale consumed in Oxen of the Sun seem especially likely to have a Findlater's connection.

JH 2022
The Findlater storefront at 29-32 Sackville Street Upper, next to the Parnell monument erected in 1911. Source:
Photographic portrait of Adam S. Findlater, date unknown. Source:
The grocery department at Findlater's Sackville Street store, date unknown. Source:
The beer bottling room at Findlater's Sackville Street store, date unknown. Source:
The whiskey house at Findlater's Sackville Street store, date unknown. Source:
Ad for Spanish ports, date unknown. Source:
1902 ad listing prices for several of the Findlater's ports. Source: