“You’re not just some fly by night operation are ya?”
Biddy Murphy Celtic Goods has been in continuous operation since 2004.
We completely refurbished an abandoned building on the corner of the main business district in South Haven, Michigan (except for occasional raccoon and starlings ) Gutting it started in February 2004 and were open for business that July. The two storey brick was built originally in 1904 by the Tri-County Telephone company and we’ve had many people stop in who have worked in it over the years. They still remember the sound of the walk-in safe that was used to store records and money from the coin boxes. Before restoring the gorgeous old building, I had initially planned on doing a web-only business so we worked very hard to launch BiddyMurphy.com soon after opening the doors of the Bricks and Mortar store. The shop is named after my mother Bridget (Biddy) Murphy, who was from Killbready, Killenaule, Co. Tipperary.
“Are you from Ireland or do you just put on that accent?”
I was born in Clonmel, Co. Tipperay (yes, it is a long way). I went to college in Ireland and worked in Dundalk and Naas. This would be the Genesis of my love of Irish culture, the craic, sports, language, music and of course dancing. Yes, as a youngfellow in Tipperary I did a bit of dancing, and about 15,323 years ago I qualified for the World Championships twice with a certain Michael Flatley. I didn’t think he’d amount to much either.....did he win All-Ireland set dancing championships with the Leixlip Comhaltas Ceoilteoiri, not a’ tall boy....
“Do you go back much......?”
Yes my siblings are all living in Ireland. So I travel quite often to stay with them and visit friends and relatives in Co. Kildare, about an hour west of Dublin, and down the country to Tipperary. We attend exhibitions and product fairs in Ireland throughout the year.
"How did you get into this and how on earth did you end up in South Haven.....?"
Well, there I was back in Naas in 1985, thinking to meself that the Celtic Tiger was at least 10 years away, Tipperary hurlers were in the middle of their own personal famine and the Holy Statues around the country were movin’ to beat the band. Well says I, I’ll move too...so off on a plane to Chicargo (as that was how we pronounced the name of the ”Second City” in Ireland ). “Go West young man” so I got in a rental car and didn’t we run out of petrol on US-31 at Exit 20......South Haven, Mitchigan (that’s how we say that in Ireland too....) I know, it’s East but you know, what with the steering wheel on the wrong side and driving on the other side of the road we were a bit confused. By the way, if you go to Ireland don’t drive on the “Wrong Side”. You may find yourself on the “Other Side” but no matter where in the world you go it’s highly inadvisable to drive on the “wrong side”.
We are very knowledgeable about what we sell:
We deal with Irish companies and their distributors in north America. We’ve visited their factories and facilities in Ireland and these are people that we know personally.
On tours to Ireland with our customers we have met some of the suppliers and watched them as they made the product.
I have been a member of the North America Celtic Traders Association and have been elected by the membership to serve terms on the board of directors.
A couple of years ago I studied for and sat the exam at the Royal Dublin Society in Dublin run by the Federated Jewellery Manufacturers of Ireland. I have been one of a select few in North America certified by this group of prestigious & prominent Irish artisans as having proficient knowledge in the design, construction and sale of Irish made, gold, silver and diamond jewelry.
What does that all mean? Being from Ireland we can offer you the inside track to the authentic Irish products at prices better than most and service that will keep you coming back aris is aris, (ah-reesh is ah-reesh), again and again.
Go raibh maith agat (thank you)
Eamon O’Gaoithin (Edward or Ward Gahan)
Address: 610 Phoenix St.,
South Haven, MI 49090