I was born in London in 1959 but came to Ireland three months later to live with my maternal grandparents in Co.Wicklow. Both of my grandparents were inveterate collectors/hoarders – my grandmother could never throw anything away and my grandfather could never pass by anything that he saw lying on the street no matter big or small. Born as long ago as 1881, he had haunted the once plentiful auction rooms on Dublin’s quays during the 1920′s, and as a consequence the “bungalow” that I grew up in was stuffed with Jacobean, Victorian & Edwardian furniture. My grandmother also collected everything but pride of place went to her wonderful collection of Clarice Cliff ceramics – more of which later.

Growing up in this environment I fell into the collecting habit at an early age, beginning with things that cost nothing such as cigarette packets, beer bottle tops, stamps, beer mats, sea shells and this was before I had started at primary school. I moved on rapidly once I started at school and, along with several friends, was the scourge of the wild bird population of my hometown and much of the adjoining county. Thankfully this short destructive period of egg collecting led me to an appreciation of birds and the need to protect them. After birds came trains; by far my most crazy and expensive foray into collecting, and at its peak included a 25% stake in an operating steam railway and a vast collection of railwayana, locomotives, carriages, wagons and buses.


That’s me in the green jacket with my pride and joy – a Wickham railcar from Scotland – after its arrival on the railway.

The railway adventure ended very badly and I recently disposed of my interest in the concern for about 1% of its estimated value – truly a case of ‘a fool and his money’!

During the railway madness I had also become interested in phoneboxes – caused by my childhood love of the BBC Dr.Who TV series – and this led to the purchase of two full size British red phoneboxes. I have since replaced them with a 1950s Meccano one which takes up considerably less space.

A temporary lapse of reason?

Sanity prevails!

A related interest in post boxes led to the acquisition of several full size examples, but these too are now long gone and I have downsized to some very attractive miniature versions (made in China!) which fit nicely on the bookcase. I now collect 00 gauge model railways for my children and SM32 (Garden Railway gauge) for myself – still expensive but manageable and a fraction of the price of the real thing.

This one fits on my bookcase!

My latest acquistion, a garden railway, battery powered Wickham railcar –  pictured above – identical to the full size one but a lot more manageable!

While I have continued to downsize massively I still collect a diverse range of things including stoneware ginger beer bottles, hotel crockery, breweriana, Isle of Man travel posters and kitchenalia – more of which later.

So, that’s more than enough about me. The main purpose of this blog is to promote my “Collect Ireland” guide and to provide a regularly updated information service to What’s on and Where to go to find Antiques & Collectables in Ireland. I hope that you will find it useful. Do sign up to receive emails whenever there’s a new post – it’s FREE – and please leave comments as there’s a prize on offer for the most helpful one.

David Parks

19 responses

  1. Hi David
    our next fair at Windsor Presbyterian Church ,Lisburn Road is on 7th September. Would be grateful if you put us on our page as we find it helps. We had a large number of stamp collectors up from Dublin today (3rd August) in Belfast for the first time
    and they found us through your website,cheers
    Bobby Holden
    Keep up the good work

    1. Hi Bobby,

      Thanks for the latest info and I now have your Fair listed. Nice to have some positive feedback!

      Best wishes,


  2. hi David
    just thought I would thank you for the superb advert you put on for our fair in December. It looks great. can you not get up to see us sometime/ we can promise a nice cup of tea/coffee and maybe a bit of gossip
    Bobby Holden
    and John Bradley

  3. I live in the United States and found your site as I was looking for items to buy from Ireland. My family is originally from Dublin. Your site has a wonderful collection of sites, however, there are no links that I could find to actually buy anything. ???? I believe it would be beneficial to have some direct links so that people could buy things if they wish. It would also boost your site. Thanks and Merry Christmas! Tammy

  4. Hi David
    sorry I missed your call-again! Can you list us for our next fair on Feb 1st please? cheers
    P.S. always in Thursday nights

  5. Hello David
    Hope all is well with you and a belated Happy New Year before January ends. Thanks for your immediate attention to my email to promote Castle Antique Fairs now in its 25th year and I always feel better when I see our listings on your famous blog. At the last fair at Lissanoure Castle in August 2013 we had three Dealers one from Limerick another from Westport and one I knew from Dublin all rang me and came on the day as result of your blog. They came to buy and two certainly did as I was talking to them as they left. It is important to share information and you are the master at that David in this Collectable World.On behalf of my wife Julie the boss I thank you for your hard work it is very much appreciated. Kind regards Peter Moore

  6. Hi David i nneed to contact you about updating our new listing in Mayo and adding another antiques and vintage shop in Westport Mayo
    Regards Roger.

  7. Julian Lalor-Smith | Reply

    Very impressive web site well done David hope you continue to expand the site in the future.

  8. Sandra McDowell | Reply

    An excellent website – I find it invaluable. Please keep up with your wonderful work and best wishes for the future, Sandra

  9. David,
    Dublin city Book Fair is on Sunday, 7th December From 11am until 5pm. (Admission is still a modest €2.00) in The Tara Towers Hotel, Merrion Road, Dublin 4. This is our last Book Fair of 2014 so dont miss an opportunity to visit and browse a large range of Antiquarian, Rare, Exotic and Esoteric Books and Prints and some Ephemera and of course all at very reasonable prices. Many of the dealers also offer Free Valuations, so bring that old book along and who knows? For more info call Eddie Murphy at 0872567908 or Email:-lyonshillbooks@eircom.net

  10. David, great site, thanks for providing all this really useful and up to date info in one central spot.

  11. Nice collection of Irish art galleries- well done mate 🙂

    1. Hi,

      Not sure if you’re serious or having a slight dig at me. The the Art page is still fairly sparse – not enough hours in the day. Anyway, I hope that you find the rest of the site some use.


  12. Hi David I would like to share with the the antiques community the news of the sad passing of Simon Quilligan he was known as the King of the Tinkers ! and was most definitaly the top dealer every one ever knew.
    He supplied almost every dealer in Ireland with furniture to sell for him for over fifty years and he was also our best friend and we will miss him greatly as will many others.

  13. Hi all, I have been on the lookout for an original Irish letter/post box (wall mounted). there are plenty of copies about but hard to locate an original one.

    1. Hi Michael,

      You’re unlikely to get much response on this page. Have you tried any of the Salvage Yards on the Salvage page: https://collectireland.com/salvage/

      That’s your best bet but beware as there’s lots of repros about.


  14. Hi David
    Just to let you know that the local ICA in Ardmore, County Waterford are holding their annual antiques fair on Sunday, July 17th 2016.
    It is held in the village hall from 1200 to 1730 and the admission fee (last year €5) includes tea or coffee and a delicious home made cake.
    There was a full house last year and dealers came from as far afield as Dublin and Limerick.
    Ardmore also plays host every Sunday during the Summer (June July and August to a food market and car boot sale, both 1100 to 1500, so a full day’s entertainment is on offer.

    Best Regards

    Jerry Keen

    P.S keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Jerry,

      Many thanks for the reminder and I now have a listing for the Fair.

      Best wishes.


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