The beat goes on for Golden Discs as it celebrates diamond anniversary

Co-founder ‘exceedingly proud’ that retailer remains part of Irish music landscape amid vinyl revival

It was founded the year Bob Dylan released his debut album, The Beatles recorded their first single and Elvis Presley had a hit with Return to Sender. Now Golden Discs, effectively the last music retail chain in Ireland, is celebrating its 60th birthday, having survived a grim pandemic, a 2009 examinership process, the collapse of physical music sales and, before that, the 1980s entry of UK “heavyweights” HMV and the Virgin Megastore into the Irish market.

The retailer first spun into life on Dublin’s Tara Street in 1962, when Jack Fitzgerald and Tom Rogers set up Trans-Atlantic Record Agency (Tara) to cater for growing demand for recordings of US artists not available in Ireland at the time. It changed its name to Golden Discs in 1966 with the opening of the first store outside the city centre in the new Stillorgan shopping centre, adding to a store portfolio that by then encompassed Tara Street, Liffey Street, Duke Street and Grafton Street.

Golden Discs expanded into ticket sales, cassette exclusives, VHS rentals and home delivery services, growing fast alongside the explosion of CD sales and later DVD sales in the 1980s and 1990s, opening more than 100 stores and fending off new competition from supermarkets keen to cash in on the physical media boom.

Following “a punishing period” culminating with the examinership — the process by which a company seeks court protection from its creditors — and subsequent restructuring, Golden Discs has emerged “to cater for an albeit smaller yet exceptionally loyal customer base”, the company said as it announced a sale to mark its diamond anniversary.


“I would never have thought that from our humble beginnings in Tara Street we would turn into a business that would still be going strong 60 years later, having employed tens of thousands of staff and served millions of customers. I am exceedingly proud to have served the Irish public and been a part of the Irish music landscape for so long,” said Mr Fitzgerald (91), whose son Stephen Fitzgerald now leads the business.

Vinyl has proven its “hero” product throughout the age of streaming, with vinyl sales accounting for more than half its revenues in some of its 21 physical stores. The company is now advertising discounts on turntables for customers “new to the vinyl revolution”.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics