POSTED BY: Sofie Rooney

Brand Ireland born in Rathmines

21st Jun, 2018

Brand Ireland born in Rathmines

Back in 2010 I wrote a blog post on Ireland Inc about Eataly, the largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in the world. On discovering its existence, I pondered on the opportunity this little gem could hold for Brand Italy. From the awareness and purchase of Italian brands to in-store booking of flights to the homeland, I couldn’t help but wonder, why on earth haven’t we thought of this yet? With so much to offer (and so many Irish occupying New York as well as all corners of the globe), could Brand Ireland not jump on board with a similar kind of venture and grab a piece of the action?

Fast-forward eight years and this same lightbulb moment hit me as I found myself wandering through the Swan Centre in Rathmines last weekend. Rathmines and I go way back to my earliest days of migrating to Ireland. While it was the location I initially put down my own roots in the city, I know it’s got a similar meaning for so many others – “flatland” (as we called it back then!) made a welcoming first home in the big smoke for students, artists and young professionals alike. Ever since then I’ve never lived too far from Rathmines. It’s always had a special place in my mind – it’s been such a catalyst for change and a foundation for new beginnings.

So I guess that’s why the Swan Centre’s recently opened Fallon & Byrne food hall struck such a chord with me. I know the brand has been in business for a number of years in the city centre, yet in Rathmines it has been fundamental in the rejuvenation and repositioning of the shopping centre – a place which I personally believe has risen quite like a Phoenix.

Scanning the shelves of fresh produce and artisan foods I couldn’t help but wonder if Fallon & Byrne could be the birthplace of a global Irish food emporium. And then wouldn’t that bring about an evolution of Brand Ireland, reintroducing our nation to consumers across the world. Could this be the concept that takes Ireland from being a brand of binge drinkers to an epicentre of grounded individuals that socialise and come together to enjoy hand-crafted cheese, organic chicken and craft beers? And why couldn’t Fallon & Byrne be the platform to introduce the modern Irish sandwich to a global audience? And no, I’m not talking about the chicken roll!

As a nation we have got a global reputation for quality meat and dairy produce that precedes us. So why not elevate this even more so? I personally see the makings of a modern Brand Ireland ambassador, now testing its wings before taking to an international stage…and I’m sure Bord Bia would be just as delighted if what I predict turns out to be true!


One of the original Brand Thinkers on this Island, Pat has spent the last 33 years extolling the virtues of branding as an essential commercial device that improves every company’s bottom-line. A native of New York City, he brought this passion to Dublin City and now it travels with him wherever he goes!