The Candle Factory

Five Hundred Years of Rathborne's, Master Chandlers

By: Bernard Neary

Publication Date: February 1999


The Candle Factory: Five Hundred Years of Rathborne’s, Master Chandlers by Bernard Neary

John G. Rathborne Ltd is one of Europe’s oldest firms, and a Dublin institution. Bernard Neary here recounts the firm’s history in loving detail, from the origins of the Rathborne family in Chester and the foundation of the company in the Liberties of Dublin in 1488, to the present day, which finds Rathborne’s prospering at the East Wall. The Candle Factory chronicles successive generations of the Rathborne family, who moved the operation in the mid-1700s to a pre-industrial site at Dunsinea, Castleknock, where it remained until the early twentieth century.

Neary gives a brief history of the candle, and describes its various uses – household and street lighting, lighthouses, the illumination of mineshafts – in the context of the company’s survival through changing times. Interviews with present and former employees and a generous selection of photographs and maps highlight the remarkable story of a company that has thrived for five hundred years while retaining the atmosphere of a family business.

‘It has been fascinating reading the history of the oldest candle factory in the world.’ Customer review


BERNARD NEARY was born in Dublin in 1950 and grew up in Cabra West. In September 1980 he married Marie Mooney on the magical isle of South Uist in the Scottish Outer Hebrides. They have two children, Lennon and Darragh.

Weight 0.5 kg
Dimensions 136 × 215 mm
Publication Date

February 1999


Paperback. 128pp