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WATCH Rooney Auctioneers celebrates 50 years of their family business

Rooney Auctioneers – Gordon, Lisa and Peter Kearney celebrating 50 years of their family’s business. Picture: Richard Lynch/ilovelimerick.



WATCH Rooney Auctioneers celebrates 50 years of their family business

By I Love Limerick correspondent Mary Caroline McCarthy

Rooney Auctioneers

Lisa Kearney, Director & Head of Residential & New Homes Sales presenting a small token of gratitude to her parents Eileen and Pat Kearney who started the company in 1970 to acknowledge their contribution to Rooney’s 50 years in business. Picture: Richard Lynch/ilovelimerick.

In 1970 you could buy a three-bedroom house for €3,175 in today’s money. The prices may have changed but what has always been steadfast is that whatever year it is now you can buy your home with Rooney Auctioneers.

Rooney Auctioneers, located on O’Connell Street in Limerick City has been providing property services to Limerick and the Munster area for fifty years this year. Rooney Auctioneer’s all began in September 1970, when Pat Kearney opened the doors of Rooney Auctioneers on O’Connell street.

Over the fifty years since it has opened, Rooney Auctioneers has become one of the Midwest’s leading estate agents in residential and commercial property and chartered surveyors. When a business can last five decades you know that it is a business you can trust and be assured that they know what they are doing.

The business has continued to operate from 99 O’Connell Street for the last fifty years, however, the office is continually changing to make room for new team members that are eager to join such a well-known business. They are continuously changing and improving to keep up with the ever-changing times.

Rooney Auctioneers is currently under the directorship of brothers-sister team Gordon, Peter, and Lisa Kearney. They are leading the way for the second generation of Kearney’s to make its mark on the business.

Rooney Auctioneers has faced many challenges over its five decades in business, from various recessions to an unprecedented global pandemic but has continued to emerge stronger and better than before.

“These challenges over the last five decades have brought changes to the way we operate at Rooney Auctioneers and in the last decade we have seen probably the biggest shift with our industry now being fully regulated and the advent of new technologies – virtual viewings, drone technology, on-line auction platforms etc,” said Gordon.

We chatted with Lisa Kearney, Director and Head of Residential and New Homes Sales about the success of the family business and their plans for the future.


  1. What is your title and what exactly do you do?

Myself and my siblings are all equal partners in the business. I am a director at Rooney’s and I’m also the Head of residential and New Homes Sales so I oversee and deal with all second hand and new development sales throughout  Limerick, Clare and many other counties around.

  1. What has driven Rooney Auctioneers success?

 Family work ethic and support along with honesty and integrity I would say foremost. Our Mum and Dad have an abundance of energy and are constantly working and going and this was instilled in us at a very young age. My Mum was a huge support to my Father when he was starting and growing the business and both of them are still a huge support and help to us now. My father is a mind of information and has  an unbelievable memory and is on hand daily to advise and help with any and all situations. My Mum keeps the whole family going and makes sure we are all well and behaving ourselves ! LOL! – our team at Rooney’s have also been a huge support over the years and we are not only just work colleagues but also good friends which really does make a difference.

  1. What does it mean to you to be a second generation family business owner?

Immensely proud and grateful to my father and mother and to my brothers of course and I feel privileged and inspired to keep going for the next generation who are already hot on our heels. I am also very proud to be one of the many fabulous family businesses in Limerick. I think Limerick especially has a huge number of family run businesses and it’s great to see these businesses survive and thrive.

  1. What is the biggest change this business has seen over the last fifty years?

Legislation and transparency would be the first which we welcome and is for the better. We take great pride in our service and in our industry and we were delighted when the legislation and licensing came in. Technology would be next and again this has been a huge asset to our industry especially in Covid times where we ere able to produce video walk-throughs off properties so people could view from the safety and comfort of their own homes. We at Rooney’s are constantly upskilling and learning which I believe every business owner has to do.

  1. What is most challenging about running a business?

Every day when you are running a business presents its own challenges. No two days are ever the same in our business. Coming up with new ideas to attract more business, learning new skills and keeping it fresh would be the main challenges on a professional level. On a personal level not letting it consume your everyday life in our line of work is also a challenge as the hours of 9-5pm don’t work in our business. We have faced many various challenges over the years as have all business such as recession, storms and now of course Covid 19. I’m a very positive, glass half full kind of person and I’m also a firm believer that every challenge brings new learning and experiences and makes you wiser, stronger and more resilient.

  1. What is your favourite part of the job?

I’m very lucky in that my job affords me to satisfy two favourites of mine – that is people and property. I love meeting people and helping them be it buying their dream home or selling their home and to be able to be part of that process and journey with them is fantastic to me. I also absolutely love property and buildings and always have. I’m happiest on a building site with the smell of wood, concrete and paint, strange I know for some but for me you can’t beat it. ! Working with my family also makes my job easier and that bit more special. We are very close and very supportive of each other as are our spouses which certainly helps when things are stressful and busy.

  1. Tell us some of the big successes in the last 50 years of Rooney Auctioneers. What moments stand out to you?

We were lucky enough and delighted to take part in the Find me a Home series on RTE which we are very proud of not only that it showed our business but also that it showed our fabulous Limerick City in such a good light. Some of our biggest sales we were involved in would be The Savoy Hotel complex; Castletroy Park Hotel, Punch’s Cross Hotel, and acquiring the site on behalf of a client for the proposed Opera Centre. We have also acted as selling agents for most of the new housing developments around Limerick over the last 50 years.

  1. How is the housing market changing and how has Covid-19 affected your business?

The housing market changes quite regularly but I guess the most recent change due to Covid is the huge demand for properties in Limerick due to the amount of people relocating back. Covid has afforded more and more people the opportunity to work from home and so we have a huge majority of people originally from Limerick and some from elsewhere looking to move here. Value, affordability, the quality and easier pace of life that Limericks offers are the prime reasons cited. Home office potential and speed of broadband are the two top priorities in the present market.

  1. Why do you love Limerick?

How couldn’t you, what’s there not to love?! It’s where I grew up and where I did my growing up. But also through its people, openness and acceptance of all Limerick also helped me to grow. You can’t really ask more than that from a place where you live now can you?

As I get older I really am appreciating more and more what Limerick is and what it offers. The friendliness and sense of belonging I get in Limerick. I would easily say if I walk from my office to say Thomas Street I would have said hello or chatted with at least 10 if not more people. Another example is where one day I was doing work in the Caherconlish area and I stopped in the local garage there to get petrol. When I got to the counter to pay I realised I had no money or card with me. I explained to the shopkeeper who said that’s no problem, I know your face, drop it back when you can. Nowhere else but in Limerick would you get that.

It’s also the easiness of driving, shopping and the abundance of great bars and restaurants that we have here. I’m also very proud of the enormous talent that Limerick produces from singers, artists, actors, and of course our fabulous Limerick hurlers and Munster rugby team.

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.