The business roots of John O’Reilly (1886-1952), founder of O’Reilly’s Auction Rooms, go back to 1903 – when he apprenticed at a Dublin pawnbroking office. By 1914, he had opened his own office in Dundalk; business continued to grow through both the Easter Rising and World War I, and nine years later he opened a Dublin branch. In 1936, O’Reilly became President of the Irish Pawnbroker’s Association. In 1948, a year before that The Irish Free State officially became the Republic, O’Reilly’s Auction Rooms was officially formed; its first home was on Winetavern Street. In that time, there were 4 auctions per week, with everything from household goods to jewellery and silverware for sale.


Upon John O’Reilly’s death, his daughter Kathleen Jordan took over the firm. She was an incredible businesswoman, especially considering her status as a married woman – there certainly wouldn’t have been many in her position at that time! She navigated the auction rooms through many changes, including a big move of premises. Under compulsory purchase order, Dublin Corporation took ownership of the original Winetavern Street building, to make way for the Civic Offices, and so under her guidance the Auction Rooms were moved firstly to Merchants Quay and on to Upper Exchange St.


At the start of her tenure, there would have been one, sometimes two auctions per day, and upon this move, business began to expand further. Her son Michael Jordan joined the team; they added private and house property to their sales. In 1981, Jordan commented that “ we made front page headlines when we sold a semi-detached house in Rathgar for €125,000” – a huge sum at the time. She also described further headlines with what she believed to be the first Coin Auction in the country, in 1969: “I remember with wry amusement the deluge of letters we received from all over the country for weeks after the press announced ‘Penny sells for £13’”. In tandem with an increased national affluence, Jordan’s time at the auction saw everyday items replaced by cameras, jewellery and silver, as the public’s awareness of the value to be had at auction increased. Michael took over the running of the firm, once called 'the King of bling' by the Sunday Times overseeing the move to our current location in Dublin's antique Quarter on Francis Street retiring in 2016. 

Today, O’Reilly’s is run by Martin Bernon, who joined the firm in 2000. His team includes a group of very experienced specialists; O’Reilly’s now has two gemmologists, an art historian, a watch, fine art and silver consultant, and a numismatist on staff, on hand to appraise and advise those who wish to buy – or sell. We hold monthly auctions with a number of specialists auction, including the popular Design Sales. Selling for estate, unredeemed pledges from the pawn brokers, solicitors, private clients collectors and the trade to an international audience. We are a leading family owned independent Irish Auction House still located in the same district of central Dublin for nearly a century.