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Dublin's doll hospital and teddy bear clinic to get a new home

The owners of The Dollstore have been inundated with offers of alternative locations since announcing the shop’s closure last week – including one in the new National Children’s Hospital.

Owner Melissa Nolan has been overwhelmed by the public response to the closure of her store.
Owner Melissa Nolan has been overwhelmed by the public response to the closure of her store.
Image: Andy Delaney/Photocall Ireland

THE NATIONAL CHILDREN’S Hospital will be brightened by the presence of a doll and teddy bear museum after the board’s chairman rallied to save one of Ireland’s favourite stores.

On Saturday, Ireland’s only doll hospital and teddy bear clinic closed its doors on Georges Street for the last time but The Dollstore now looks set for a reincarnation in the new hospital.

Owner Melissa Nolan had no intention of setting up shop again until she saw the response from the public.

“The whole thing snowballed since we announced we were closing,” she told TheJournal.ie today.

Hundreds of people visited the cosy Georges Street shop on Saturday with queues out the door for most of the day.

Absolutely everything was sold,” said Nolan. “We ran out of change, bags and, eventually, stock.”

Not only did The Dollstore have an unprecedented success during the weekend sale, it was also flooded with serious offers of alternative locations.

“We have had several offers of premises around the country so at the moment we are looking to see where is best suited to turn into a doll hospital and museum,” added Nolan.

Nolan, who has ran the store with her husband for the past 28 years, is keen to open a museum in the new space – wherever that will be.

“We’ve been collecting for more than 30 years and all of our cabinets and showcases are from the 1940s and museum-worthy,” she said. “I always had it in mind to open a museum but Georges Street was too small.”

Asked if there is now a definite plan to reopen in some guise, she said “Absolutely, and it will be in the very near future. Hopefully we will be able to announce something by the end of the week.”

Regardless of any new city centre location, Nolan said it will definitely be “a runner” to open something up in the new National Children’s Hospital when it is built.

“We would love to do that. Harry Crosbie, chairman of the hospital, contacted the store on news that it was shutting down. He said he could see a doll hospital and teddy bear clinic being set up within the new building.

“That will be something very special,” concluded Nolan.

Dublin's doll hospital and teddy bear clinic to get a new home
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Despite business still being strong, the Nolans had decided to shut the shop because of the accumulation of overheads, including rent, rates and insurance. Melissa previously told TheJournal.ie that the decision was taken purely for business reasons as they had “tightened our belts as much as possible”.

The doll hospital was first established on Mary Street in 1938 and moved to its current George’s Street location in 1982. As one of the last remaining doll hospitals in the world, The Dollstore receives items for repair and restoration from other countries, particularly the US and Italy.

Until a new space is finalised, The Dollstore continues to trade online.

More: Dublin’s 74-year-old doll hospital and teddy bear clinic closes today>

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