Putting Dunhill on the map

Jackie Kennedy in Dunhill

In 1967, Dunhill village was the focus of the international media when Jacqueline Kennedy came to see a play at the parish hall of Many Young Men of Twenty by John B. Keane, performed by the Dunhill Players and produced by Paddy Barron. Jackie had been widowed four years previously and was holidaying in Woodstown with her children. She declared the entertainment in Dunhill as “better than a night out in Broadway”.

What is less well known is that a few years earlier, Sir Alfred Dunhill, the founder of the luxury menswear brand, with shops in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai, had been to Ireland to investigate his heritage. Unfortunately he had been told in Dublin that neither the family name nor the place name, “Dunhill” existed in Ireland. It was only when the former First Lady visited the village and Sir Alfred saw all the media coverage that he realised he’d been misinformed. As a result he decided to give his namesake’s village a visit including of course, Harney’s Pub, where he met the owner, Jim Harney.

A friendship was struck up between the two men and Sir Alfred visited again the following year, bringing with him cartons of Dunhill cigarettes as well as bottles of the branded whiskey. Jim also later visited the Dunhill shop in London where he met with Sir Alfred’s nephew. He was taken up to the store archives to be shown some letters sent from Dunhill NS to London a few years previously. A circle completed!

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