Originally opening on North Great Fredrick Street in 1922, the shop has been passed from hands of Martin Walton, to his grandson Niall Walton creating a proud history for the business name.
The nation and beyond may have recognised the shop interior from the 2007 film Once, where Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová performed the duet ‘Falling Slowly’ that would later meet much success at the Oscars. But to the musicians, students and hobbyists of Dublin, the shop was a wealth of knowledge, temptation and passion. People have taken to Twitter to recall memories of coming in to play on the pianos, picking out guitars and immersing themselves in song books. While the family are relocating the store and business to their unit in Blanchardstown shopping centre as a means of continuing to try and provide their customers with the best service they can, the loss is already felt on the street.
Very sad - used to practise piano here when I came to Dublin as a student in the 1990s.... Walton family is ‘heartbroken’ to close Dublin music shop https://t.co/Uu07Q65GmF— Simon Carswell (@SiCarswell) February 19, 2018
As a musician this is sad news indeed-important to point out that Walton’s are relocating to their shop in Blanch, they haven’t closed their doors for good, so we can keep supporting them. City centre will definitely not be the same though without them. https://t.co/vul9SP33o0— Carly Bailey (@CarlyBee25) February 19, 2018
Really sad to see Waltons having to move out of Dublin city centre. @paddylogue in his 20s played very expensive guitars so very badly in this shop so many times.— Paddy Logue (@paddylogue) February 19, 2018
Such an awful loss for our city. Unless something changes with rents, Dublin is destined to become a homogenous set of streets, devoid of native character.— Ciara Reilly (@PrimEdTeacher) February 19, 2018
‘Walton family is ‘heartbroken’ to close Dublin music shop’ https://t.co/NX9GEn6C01
Waltons School of Music will continue to operate over the now empty shop with no plans to relocate in the foreseeable future. However, the closure of the store facility is the result of Dublin’s rental crisis. Soaring costs of buildings in some of the city’s most walked areas, are resulting in family-run businesses having to admit defeat to the increasingly costs. Especially music shops in the city centre, as the readily available wealth of instruments and materials online continues to thrive. While business was drawn to Waltons following Once - with pictures and videos taken of people performing the same song at the same piano - it didn’t do enough to gain a profit.
But the closing of Waltons is also raising the issue of the city’s own sense of culture and identity. Local and family-run businesses add character to the environment - they become something more than just a shop. They’re a meeting point, a place to explore, a go-to for customers and visitors. The area of South Great George’s Street - home to the beautiful building of George’s Arcade - has such a unique feeling about it. Should the rent issue continue to grow, Waltons sadly won’t be the last much-appreciated location in the city centre to close. While we still have the chance to support the business itself online and at Blanchardstown, this is a loss for the music business and industry in Dublin city centre.
You can read a blog post from owner Niall Waltonhere, discussing their reasons for the move.