A Family Affair

Husband and wife Denis and Ailish make a dynamic team running Moriarty’s Irish Gift Store and Heather Restaurant at The Gap of Dunloe.

Working together, they each contribute something different to the business while complimenting each other’s skills. The key to their success is working together effectively.

Moriarty’s opened as a small souvenir shop in 1964 by Michael and Margaret Moriarty; since then, it has evolved to become one of Ireland’s leading gift stores.

Growing up in the family business Denis Moriarty remembers it as very busy. As young children, Denis and his siblings always helped out in the shop for all of their school holidays. 

“Busy busy, busy is what comes to mind, my parents were always busy, as I got older I began to realise how hard both my parents worked. My mother also ran our home and looked after us, five children. The’ season ‘was shorter back then, in that it ran from mid-March to late October.” – Denis Moriarty.

Denis Pio & Margaret Moriarty sporting Irish handknit sweaters, 1979.

Ties to a Local Community

As a business in rural Ireland, much of Moriarty’s value is derived from the knowledge and experience of their staff – all of whom live within a very short radius of the Gap. Building a strong team of staff that are like family has helped Moriarty’s grow.  

“What really works is our strong team of passionate staff who understand our business and customers. They are excellent at customer service and bring so much to our business.” – Ailish Moriarty.

Ailish joined the business in 2013, and while her main focus is always on the food side of things, she contributes to all aspects of the business. Denis manages the business on a day to day level and both he and Ailish own their areas and take responsibility for key decision-making.

“No day is the same and while being a business owner offers good flexibility in terms of our schedules, this also means that you have to roll your sleeves up and get stuck into whatever challenges that day might bring.” – Ailish Moriarty.

While they both agree that working with family can be challenging at times, the positives far outweigh any negatives. 

“Working with family comes with its own unique challenges, especially when you marry into a well-established business. However, the commitment, flexibility and personal satisfaction that working with my family offers is invaluable.” – Ailish Moriarty.

Denis and Ailish have made it their mission to keep this family business thriving and growing with the times.


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