Beginnings at Botanic Gardens
Some fifty odd years ago, a Ballinasloe man who had been “pottering around” with flowers and plants at home, decided to go on a training course to the Botanic Gardens in Dublin to learn more about the outdoor environment. Martin (Marty) Tully’s first encounter with gardening was helping his grandfather Pat Tully, who’s late wife was a victim of the Spanish flu in 1918. She was formerly Anne Hynes from Creggan and was only 41 when she died. The Derrymullen man also has very fond memories of the times he spent with Martin Madden who lived beside the Handball Alley-a great gardener as was his brothers Austin and John. Martin was from Deerpark and Marty brought milk every day to Martin’s house. “I think horticulture was in the blood somewhere. My mother’s uncle James Harney, originally from Kilclooney, was a Horticultural Instructor in Co Louth in the 40s.”
Today Marty and his family are one of Ireland’s largest nursery suppliers, operating in north Co. Dublin from a forty acre site. From the football stronghold of Derrymullen, Marty was educated in St. Grellan’s National School and St Joseph’s Garbally and featured on both the Ballinasloe minor hurling and football teams. He joined his late father in the building trade but his love of nature and farming attracted him towards a different career. He graduated from the National Botanic Gardens and following a spell with Dublin Corporation and Dublin County Council he and his wife Joan decided to set up their own business in 1973. They bought a half acre site in Ballyboughal, in North Co. Dublin, built a family home and embarked on a small nursery and landscaping business. They were one of the first in Ireland to forecast a market for potted plants and by 1983 the established Tully Nurseries became Ireland’s first wholesale cash and carry centre for the country’s growing number of landscape contractors, By 1990 the award-winning nursery was supplying garden centres around Ireland with a wide range of perennials, climbers, shrubs and trees, as well as exporting to the United Kingdom.
Today, Tully’s import stock from specialist growers and nurseries from all over Europe as well as Australia, supplying garden centres, DIY shops, supermarkets etc, Several new plants bred by Marty are grown under licence all over the world, including Hebe Rhubarb and custard and Hebe Joan Mac. The staff of fifty includes Marty and Joan’s three adult children, Padraig, Niamh and Martin Jnr. They are a formidable team that thrive on their successes of national and international awards, resulting from long hours of dedication and hard work to an industry they love and are immensely proud of. Founder Marty likes to stroll around the nursery, an enjoyable place to be cocooned in these amazing times and said “We had some rough times over the years, but we managed to pull through and keep going. I am lucky that my family got involved from an early age and as we all live within easy reach of the business is fantastic. Challenges will always come when you are in business but it is important to embrace life with attitude, both the good times and the bad times” he remarked. For relaxation, he likes to play the odd game of golf in Balbriggan Golf Club where another Ballinasloe man Nigel Howley is the club professional.
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