Thomas Connolly opened the first Connolly family car dealership in 1939 – and over 79 years later the Connolly family continue to keep the family’s passion for cars alive.
Originally from Galway, Thomas Connolly opened a Fiat dealership and forecourt in Ballina.
His son, Kevin Connolly, worked alongside his father until the 1960s when he went to America and set up an Amanco gas and service station in the Bronx in New York.
Returning to Ireland in the mid 1980s, Kevin set up in business on Francis street – three doors down from his father’s original garage. In 1987, he was appointed the main dealer for Volkswagen and Audi for Mayo.
Kevin had met and married Maura, originally from Leitrim, in New York and they had three sons while living there: Kevin Jnr, Neil and Greg. When they returned to Ireland, they had their only daughter, Kathryn.
Setting up a business in Ireland in the 1980s was not an easy task as the economy was in bad shape but Kevin Snr kept the company thriving by adapting the American model he had used when in New York. This included working hard seven days a week and it was this work ethic that brought the company through tough economic times.
In the 1990s, the business got an injection of new life through Kevin’s two sons, who joined Connollys with the same work ethic imbedded in their DNA. Kevin Jnr joined the Connollys’ team in 1991 and Neil came on board in 1996.
The boys had a deep schooling in all aspects of the business spending serious time in the workshop, bodyshop and parts divisions of the company before ending back in sales.
Sadly, in 1999, Kevin Snr passed away but his sons have continued to grow the family business and in 2007, Kevin and Neil were appointed the main dealer for Volkswagen and Audi in Sligo and opened the new state-of-the-art Audi Sligo ‘Terminal Building’ in 2011. A year later, Audi Galway opened its doors in Ballybrit. In 2017 the new state-of-the art Audi Galway was built. The same year, Connolly's Mercedes-Benz Galway opened their door for business.
Connolly Motor Group continues to grow and it now has 212 staff across its various sites. Neil and Kevin continue to innovate and improve and have major plans to continue growing and expanding over the coming years.