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In Search of Salvation

I still remember my reaction the first time I went to The Store Yard. "Here?", "are you sure that Sat Nav is right?". I'd heard about this amazing architectural salvage and antiques place in Portlaoise, County Laois and couldn't wait to go there, and though I didn't really know what to expect, it wasn't what I'd expected. 

At the back of a small industrial estate, tucked away in the middle of Portlaoise town we arrived at a modest looking corner industrial unit. But once I passed through the doors I realised we'd just entered a Tardis. A vast antiques Tardis. Lesson learned, never judge a salvage place by its exterior. I felt like Alice in Vintage Wonderland. It was just a total feast for the eyes. Instead of the usual jumble I've seen at other salvage and antiques places, it was beautifully curated and laid out in manner that seamlessly flows from one section to the next peppered with interesting details and objet d'art to keep your senses ticking over - like Ikea for antiques. 

Millinery's block (far left) and fire extinguisher converted into a table lamp (far right)

At times, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd stepped onto the set of Downton Abbey or were in an old stately home. It even smells like an old stately home - not in a bad way but in that cosy tobacco-infused old library way - the fragrances and smells of times past infused in all the items giving them a unique aged scent. Laid out over two vast floors, you will find everything from old bathroom sinks to wild boar skulls, fantastically ornate fire surrounds to fabulous vintage furs, preacher's pulpits to old french plant pots, Chinois lacquered cabinets to cosy old chesterfields with a lovely eatery called Tynan's Restaurant set right bang in the middle of it all giving a lively buzz to this deadly cool place.

So last weekend, I went there with my sister who's been dying to see this place she's heard me talk so much about. I've usually gone on a weekday when it's fairly quiet, and instantly noticed there was more of an atmosphere there on Saturdays. With relaxing lounge music playing in the background (someone obviously tapped into Don Draper's personal Spotify playlist) we thoroughly enjoyed ambling around taking in everything around us. 

The key to unlocking one's heart - beautiful brass door lock with heart detail

Old wild boar skulls

Having both spent our formative years growing up in our family's pub, we really enjoyed the Bar annex, which housed lots of salvage items from pubs far and wide now long gone and we were both reminded of our childhood growing up with similar items and memorabilia in our old place. From Player's Please mirrors, to frosted glass partitions of old snugs where local gossip was shared as pints were sipped, to old advertising signs from beers now sadly gone and those still going strong, the eclectic mix is fantastic. 

This 'Bar' door leads to an annex full of old pub related salvage items, memorabilia,vintage maps and other curios.

I completely fell in love with these vintage french Chatneuf du Pape grapepickers' hods or baskets. They're quite big and would make amazing statement plant holders.

Vintage french Chatneuf du Pape grapepickers' hods

There were a few people browsing through the selection of vintage fashion and accessories. From old mink coats to the occasional Classic Chanel bag and Herm├ęs scarves it is a treasure trove of unique pieces. They have beautiful vintage eveningwear and upstairs we even came across a selection of vintage wedding dresses in a little alcove, with one in particular that reminded me of Princess Diana's fairytale Emmanuel dress albeit with a lot less of the giant meringue effect.

Across the store there are amazing unique items of objet d'art and old taxidermy pieces from a bygone era, like this exotic birds piece and the mounted antlers below.

They also have a large room with a huge collection of old shop fittings and signage that are often used in film and TV show sets  like 'Ripper Street' and 'Penny Dreadful'. I really liked the old apothecary cabinet adorned with a bundle of old dockets hung on a wire - exactly how I remember my mother used to hang brewery dockets in our old pub many years ago.

There's an entire section of textiles on the second floor perfect for upholstering any pieces you may have already, as well as a nice array of old lampshades and the most amazing wall of old drapes and curtains from stately homes around Ireland and the UK.

A real treat not to be missed, is the entire oak panelled room on the second floor with the most exquisite antiques in the whole building within its walls.

Entire salvaged panelled room at the Store Yard.

Back on the ground floor, they've a small collection on display from who sell mostly mid-century and more contemporary items. They had the most fantastic gold drinks trolley that I could've happily wheeled home with me.

I mean, who doesn't need a golden hen in their home?

Gorgeous gold drinks trolley
The centre of The Store Yard houses the majority of salvaged items such as old doors and windows, fittings, long farmhouse tables and dressers, old chairs, kitchenalia and large outdoor pieces. 

Out through the back door, you will find a little lean-to glasshouse made from old window panes filled with vintage garden items like old watering cans, troughs, butter boxes and wicker baskets. 

So after a few of hours (that simply flew past!) perusing the entire place we stepped into Tynan's restaurant for a bite to eat. They've a nice selection of soups, salads and quiches along with nice selection of hot dinner options, or if you just fancy a coffee and a snack, they have a tempting offering of cakes and other baked goodies.

Voted as one of the Best Shops in Ireland by The Irish Times in 2015,  The Store Yard is a must visit for the vintage and eclectic interiors lover and makes for a lovely afternoon's antiquing topped off with a spot of lunch at Tynan's. Many items are very expensive and outwith the average person's budget, and there were some items where I would perhaps question the validity of the high asking price (you can imagine similar have been thrown out of houses all over the country by the non-vintage lover!) but I guess everything there is wholly unique and the genuine patina a piece acquires over time cannot be replicated. So, the price is set to reflect this and depends onhow much the Beholder is willing to pay for a rare, often one-off piece. There are some more than affordable gems too, and I have picked up some lovely items there previously, but whether the asking price is high or low I believe it's always worth seeing if you can haggle - that's the fun bit!

The Store Yard is open Monday to Saturday until 6pm (worth double checking opening times with them as not stated on their site), but worth noting Tynan's Restaurant is closed on a Monday  -  a little advanced warning in case you arrived there famished! 


  1. Delighted you enjoyed your visit to The Store Yard, we look forward to seeing you soon again.

    1. Thanks Store Yard Team! Always a great time there asalways something different to catch one's magpie attention!

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