Ireland’s Last Wind-Up Merchant Closes Its Doors After 140 Years

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IRELAND’S last remaining wind-up merchants has today closed its doors after being in business for over 140 years, owner Dermot Thompson has confirmed to WWN.

Thompson’s wind-up merchants in Waterford city was first established in 1876 by Patrick Thompson, and went on to be the south east’s number one port-of-call for winding people up.

“Growing up, my great great grandfather always had a name as a chancer,” Dermot explains, “by the time he was 20, he had already set up shop here on O’Connell street, and people from all around the country would come and avail of his services”.

In fact, Thompson’s were the first wind-up merchants in the world to cause a war, after staging a rising against the British in 1916, which later saw dozens dead and many more injured.

“The story goes that Damien, my great grandfather, son of Patrick, decided it would be gas craic altogether to stage an uprising in Dublin as part of April fools day, just to annoy the Brits,” added the son of two, “but somehow it fooled a few people into thinking it was real, and things kind of got out of hand real quick”.

Following the unexpected success of 1916 rising prank, Thompson’s went on to become the country’s top wind-up merchants, growing the business from strength to strength.

“At one stage we had a shop in every city on the island,” he went on, “but then the internet came and changed the way people wound each other up – it’s all video prank this and scary clown that. It’s a shame really as the old way of winding people up is slowly disappearing”.

By 2008, all but one wind-up merchant store was left, leaving the struggling family business to scrape by during the recession, before then finally having to close this week.

“We’re a dying breed” Dermot concluded.

UPDATE: Mr. Thompson has since confirmed that he ‘was only messing’ and that the store will stay open for the time being.

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