Patricia Irwin from Ring O Roses (centre) making a donation to Limerick charities as she does annually. Pictured here in 2014 with Richard Lynch, Eileen O’Donovan (Bumbleance), Seán Dalton (Milford Hospice) and Annette Cahill (Pieta House). Picture: Ethan Glavin. Article by I Love Limerick Correspondent Michelle Hogan.
From a garden studio in Dooradoyle blooms Limerick florist Ring O Roses which is celebrating 20 years in business this year. Growth is certainly a reoccurring theme throughout the successful years of business for Ring O Roses.
From charity donations to worldwide weddings Patricia Irwin, owner of Ring O Roses has done it all and it shows as she was named Business Woman of the Year in Limerick 2013, and gained a lifetime achievement award in the wedding industry for her amazing flowers. In 2008 Ring O Roses also won a silver award in the Flower Council of Holland Flower Shop of the Year.
Patricia explains how she got into the business: “I always loved flowers, even as a child and in the early 90’s I attended a class for dried flower craft, then I taught it for a few years and my love of flowers just grew from there. In 1995 a friend of mine asked me if I would do her wedding flowers, she was getting married in 1996 but at the time I had never done fresh flowers. We tried some samples and she loved it so we went ahead with it. From there I went off and did my training in Dublin. So I started working from home with the intention of doing a bouquet here and there and it took off and it just went mad. Forty weddings a year became 80 and then 100.”
“On average now we do 80 to 90 weddings a year. In 1999 I was working from my dining room, which was far too small. I found a place to set up shop in the city and I was there until March of this year, with lots of experience good, bad and indifferent and lots of lovely customers. I would know about their bunions, and their bad back, it is a very personal experience and I still talk to a lot of people I did business with over the years.”
One of the most amazing things about this florists is their charity donations, Patricia explains: “In 2010 a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer and within two months of his passing two other friends died of cancer and that was three people that I knew quite well and I decided that it is not right and not moral to be making money from friends’ funerals so told the families I would donate 10% of everything to Milford Care Centre. So until last year we were still doing the donation to Milford and we decided to open it up a little and allow people to donate in other directions. We brought two other charities on board one of them is Pieta House because every family seems to have an association with suicide somewhere along the line be it friends, family or neighbours. We also brought “BUMBLEance”, the children’s ambulance on board I just absolutely love that charity and anything to do with children.”
“At that stage last year we had donated €10,000 to Milford and at the moment now between the three charities we have donated around €11,500 altogether. It is not a lot of money but when it is coming out of one pocket, it is. I want to grow the funeral side of the business again and for people to know the more our side of it grows the more I can give. At the end of every month I am sending off cheques for maybe €50, €130 next month and it all adds up.
“The corporate side is also picking back up again for things such as waiting rooms, board rooms and hotel receptions, flowers can really brighten up the place and I love that kind of stuff because you can be creative and change it up now and again.”
“Weddings are growing year on year and I had four brides in with me recently and all four booked which is a sign of confidence. We run weddings all the time, more and more we are meeting brides from all over the world like Australia, Singapore and Shanghai. I never met them until the week of the wedding; everything was done via email which is amazing. It is not unusual to have 40 or 50 emails from a bride abroad, it is very personal and it is very important. I will answer their emails anytime, on a Sunday morning when a bride wants to see a picture, if I have one she will see it in minutes. People say to me I should never answer an email outside office hours but I am trying to give them a bit of comfort and a bit of confidence. It is important to them, it is their wedding day. There is a lot of communication involved.”
Since the idea of Ring O Roses was planted for Patricia in a dining room 20 years ago, an amazing business has grown its way through the years and become the fantastic success we now know and love.
Check out the amazing Limerick florist Ring O Roses website here.
Follow Ring O Roses on Twitter here.
Read more about Limerick Florist Ring O Roses here.
Call Patricia on 061 411 321
Orders received by 11:00am can be delivered the same day