Royston Groom

(06/12/1919 - 01/03/1998)

This month marks the 26th anniversary of the death of Royston Groom, a successful nurseryman, florist and businessman who ran a large nursery operating from Kimmage Road West. The Royston housing estate and Royston apartments are named after him.
Royston was born on 6th December 1911 in Gosport, England. He came from a line of horticulturists, his great-grandfather James Groom having been head gardener at Queen Victoria’s Frogmore Estate, and Royston took up the same trade. In the 1930’s he came to Dublin and worked as a nurseryman, becoming manager of Messrs. Ramsey’s, Nassau Street Depot. When that premises closed down he took up employment in Messrs. Knowles, 26/27 Grafton Street, who specialised in high-class floral designs.
In 1935 he went into partnership with Francis ffrench-Davis, in a company called Irish Nursery and Hothouse Supply Company Ltd. Previously, in 1932, Francis ffrench-Davis had taken over an existing business on Kimmage Road West, the Dublin Tomato Company, which had been established in 1921 by Harold O’Meara, an ex-service man who had served in the First World War.
On the outbreak of the Second World War, both Royston and Francis decided to assist the war effort and agreed that one of them would enlist and the other would stay at home and run the business. Francis enlisted in the British Army and served as a Captain in the Royal Army Service Corps. Unfortunately Francis was killed in action on 10 June 1944 in Italy.
Despite the sad loss of his business partner, Royston maintained the business and over the following decades it continued to expand and prosper under his direction. The company took ownership and control of Connolly Kelly and Co., based at the Dublin Fruit Market, which they used as a marketing and sales operation. The business also used the brands Give Joy and Monty Mushrooms. The companies’ production operation was carried out from the premises on Kimmage Road West and also at Sallins, producing fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants. They also imported cut flowers from abroad. Royston brought the poinsettia to Ireland and grew the first commercial crop in Ireland at the nursery in Kimmage. The Kimmage Road West operation eventually covered 12 acres, with 3 acres under glass. There were also 42 mushroom houses covering 10,000 square feet. The Sallins site covered 50 acres, of which 5 acres were under glass. The business employed many people over the years, with 150 people employed during the 1980’s. The greenhouses and mushroom sheds were visible to passersby on Kimmage Road West. Eventually Royston’s sons, Negley and Graham, took over the business.
Royston’s home was beside the Kimmage operation at 148 Kimmage Road West, which he had built in the early 1950’s, and he lived there with his wife Marie (née McIntosh, from North County Dublin) and children, sons Negley and Graham and daughter Leslie.
The business ceased trading on Christmas Eve 1993. The land on which the business operated was sold and the Royston housing development was built. Royston Groom died at St. Vincent’s Hospital Elm Park on 1st March 1998, aged 86 years.
Royston Groom’s enduring legacy as a successful nurseryman and businessman is marked by his significant contributions to Dublin’s horticultural landscape and local economy. From humble beginnings to establishing a thriving nursery business in the area, Royston provided employment opportunities for many in the local community. The Royston housing estate and apartments stand as a testament to his influence, reflecting the lasting impact he had on the lives of those he employed and inspired. Today, we honour Royston’s memory and the legacy he left behind in the local area.

Person Photo
Connection with area: Owner of Irish Nurseries on Kimmage Road West for whom Royston housing estates are named after.