Urney Chocolates

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Urney Chocolates
Company typePublic
FateOriginal factory closed 1980, brand sold on
SuccessorHazelbrook Confectionery (after L.C. Confectionery)
HeadquartersUrney, County Tyrone and Tallaght, Dublin (presently County Kildare)
Key people
Eileen Gallagher
Harry Gallagher
Redmond Gallagher

Urney Chocolates was a confectionery manufacturing business founded by the Gallagher family in County Tyrone, and once operating one of the largest chocolate factories in Europe. After sales as a going concern, ultimately to what would become Unilever, the last factory closed in 1980. The brand was later operated by L.C. Confectionery Ltd., and is now handled by Hazelbrook Confectionery, based in County Kildare, Ireland.



Urney Chocolates was established in 1919 by Eileen Gallagher and her husband, Harry (Henry Thomas), at their home, Urney House, in the parish of Urney, County Tyrone. Harry Gallagher was Crown Solicitor for County Donegal. Sweet-making was one of a number of local industries started by Eileen Gallagher - in an effort to stem the tide of emigration from the area - after flower supply to Covent Garden market and fruit farming. Having been refused a sugar quote for a jam business, she was offered a quote for confectionery manufacture. The business was based in the back garden of Urney House.[1][2]

Urney Chocolates was the only chocolate manufacturer based in Ireland in the 1920s. Sourcing most of their supplies from Ireland, the company stressed this fact in their advertisements, and as a result were most popular in what would become the Republic of Ireland. The business made little impact in Northern Ireland; a consignment of Urney chocolates was returned to the factory marked "We want no pope here" as part of the Protestant boycott of Catholic goods (the Gallaghers were Catholic).[3]

Move to Tallaght[edit]

The original factory was set afire in 1921, and burned down in 1924, and so the family moved production to Belgard Road, Tallaght, Dublin. By the 1960s, Urney Chocolates and its subsidiaries were employing almost 1,000 workers, and the Urney facility was considered one of the largest chocolate factories in Europe.[4]

Succession and sales[edit]

Redmond Gallagher, Harry and Eileen's son, took over as chairman of the company in 1958. The New York-based company, W & R Grace, bought Urney's out in 1963; it sold it on as a going concern to Unilever in 1970. Unilever soon changed the name to HB Chocolates. They ceased production in 1980 and the former factory became a DIY store.

The brand is currently operated by L.C. Confectionery Ltd., with a factory in Newbridge, County Kildare, and a retail outlet for the Hadji Bey brand in the English Market in Cork city.

Branded products[edit]


  1. ^ "Urney Chocolates". Dublin. Irish Independent. 16 June 1965.
  2. ^ "Gallagher, Redmond | Dictionary of Irish Biography". www.dib.ie. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  3. ^ Clavin, Terry (2009). "Gallagher, Redmond". In McGuire, James; Quinn, James (eds.). Dictionary of Irish Biography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  4. ^ Nolan, Karen (2010). Sweet Memories - The Story of Urney Chocolates. Dublin: Blue Rook Press.

External links[edit]