Crolly Dolls

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History

The Crolly Doll factory first started making toys in Donegal in 1939. It was hoped that the new business would create much-needed jobs in the little town of Crolly.

The first dolls were handmade with a soft-filled body, a strong head and arms and legs. Their clothing was made from local fabrics and knitted garments. Soft toys for boys, like teddy bears, were also made at the Crolly factory.

This simple doll design lasted until the early 1950s, when the factory started experimenting with vinyl paste. These experiments proved successful, and the moulding and production of plastic play-dolls began in earnest.

Crolly Dolls were instantly popular due to the excellent quality of the dolls. At Christmas, people would form long queues outside stores across Ireland to get their hands on a Crolly Doll. In fact, demand was so high that there were restrictions of one or two dolls per customer.

Today

The original Crolly Doll factory closed in the 1970s, after it struggled to compete with cheaper dolls from the Far East.

However, in 1993 a group of businessmen recognised that the brand was remembered very fondly by many Irish people, so they set up a new Crolly Doll company. This now produces more than forty types of doll and employs a staff of ten.

Crolly Dolls are sold in over sixty gift shops around Ireland, in the same number of outlets in the US and on a small scale in Japan, the UK and Australia. Those who make the dolls continue to be creatively inspired by the landscape within which they work and by Irish history, folklore and mythology.