How does a company that started out making shoes on the west coast of Ireland distinguish itself from the competition and stimulate some continental appeal? Well, it calls itself after a famous French courtesan, for one.
Dubarry of Ireland’s beginnings were in the design and manufacturing of fine leather shoes and yet it called itself after Madame du Barry, famous as the lover of Louis XV. ‘The previous owners thought that it might help sex up the brand,’ laughs Michael Walsh, the company’s marketing director.
In reality, the business was set up in 1937 in the small town of Ballinasloe in the heart of glorious Galway. It was founded as a co-operative to help create employment in the area and to stem the flow of emigration. The business was able to draw on a local population of hard-working craftsmen and women, and Dubarry soon developed a reputation for excellent workmanship and quality.
Dubarry took design inspiration from the wild west coast and Galway’s great sailing heritage to create superb deck shoes. By using the finest performance materials available, The Shamrock was Dubarry’s first dedicated sailing boot. A member of the firm’s design team was an avid fan of Formula One and saw the opportunity to incorporate performance technology into the sailing footwear, creating The Dubarry NonSlip – NonMarking™ outsole to prevent aquaplaning on wet surfaces. The distinguishing white sole – or Dubes as they are fondly known – quickly became the signature footwear, not just for sailing enthusiasts, but also anyone looking for a casual nautical look.
Dubarry then journeyed from the sea to the country and created the most famous boot of all – The Signature Dubarry Galway boot, the first Gore-Tex®-lined country boot. The leather used for Dubarry’s footwear is specially treated and absorbs less moisture, therefore requiring 70 per cent less time to dry. It also ensures that the leather will stay soft and supple. The leather is the full cowhide with all its naturally occurring imperfections, providing it with that rugged, ‘lived-in’ look. The Galway boot gave the company a prominent presence in the UK; Dubarry may be an Irish-owned heritage brand, but its largest and most important market is still in Britain with retailer partners nationwide, a successful flagship in London and a newly opened store in Cheltenham.
Rigorously tested in a wide variety of outdoor pursuits, Dubarry uniquely combines performance technology with style, making Dubarry boots or deck shoes the choice around town too. True to its country heritage and to foster a direct relationship with its clients, Dubarry sets up its stand at country events such as The Game Fair, the Chelsea Flower Show, Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials, where, over the years, it has become a meeting place.
Dubarry fans include Bruce Springsteen (who discovered Dubarry when he accompanied his daughter to an equestrian event), Jo Malone, Clare Balding and members of the royal family, and the range has been expanded to include clothing and accessories, making it a true lifestyle brand.
Dubarry’s heritage is sewn into the lands it calls home and the roots that stem deep from the heart of tradition. Surrounded by flawless beauty, unblemished by the awe-inspiring contrasts invoked by mother nature, Dubarry endeavours to deliver a collection that brings style, comfort and practicality to each season.
Wherever your next path may lead, Dubarry strives to remain with you, using bespoke skills and knowledge to create a range of footwear and clothing that brings everlasting pleasure to every season. Dubarry designs each garment using the excellent craftsmanship and quality developed when their story first began. Taking its sailing heritage and its appetite for the countryside, the new collection is made using the finest quality materials, combined to give you stylish performance, whatever the elements.
DUBARRY OF IRELAND 34 DUKE OF YORK SQUARE, LONDON SW3 4LY +44 (0)1608 677622