Hardware Association Ireland (HAI) is the national representative body for hardware/DIY retailers and builders merchants, as well as manufacturers/distributors to the trade. We uniquely represent all levels of the supply chain and include within our membership ranks national and international companies, multi-branch chains and smaller independent hardware businesses.

In the 1930s in Ireland, there were a series of small trade groups, local and informal associations. There were also several Irish members of the National Federation of Ironmongery (UK) and the National Institute of Hardware (UK).

When J G McCaul, an ex-hardware merchant from the South East, introduced the Hardware and Allied Trader magazine in 1938, he also promoted the setting up of a national Hardware and Allied Traders Association. Various people collected memberships, and the national association which was founded in 1938, held its first AGM in 1939, in Athy.

  • 1938

    The national Hardware and Allied Traders Association founded by Joseph Gerard McCaul, later renamed the Irish Hardware Association (IHA).
  • 1938

    First copy of the Hardware and Allied Trader (HAT) published by Joseph Gerard McCaul - “Our aim is to seek by all responsible and legitimate means to safeguard and promote the best interests of the hardware and allied trades and to provide a common platform to bring them into a council of their own each month…our policy will be one of courtesy to all and when necessary to voice our views, to express them without fear or favour”
  • 1939

    First AGM held in Athy, key discussion covering how price cutting was affecting trade and how to define a “Hardware Merchant” – “Availability of suitable premises, and stock to a value of £300”.
  • 1945

    IHA's first official document - a letter from the Auditor and Secretary, Pearse Crowley, to the Registrar of Friendly Societies - is issued.
  • 1952

    EDUCATION - Nine members of Graves of Waterford staff begin a three year course of the British National Institute of Hardware. This success prompts Bob Moffett of Cork Iron and Hardware to coach assistants after hours for the same exams in 1953.
  • 1954

    EDUCATION - Leslie Whitehead (member of the Association's Council) negotiates with the School of Retail Distribution in Dublin to facilitate the course, using senior managers across the Irish sector to teach technical subjects in accordance with the syllabus. Hundreds of students receive their Certificates of Proficiency or Diplomas of Merit.
  • 1954

    NETWORKING - Association President Frank Egan leads first delegation of buyers to the International Fair at Cologne, making contact with members of the International Federation of Hardware Merchants (FIDAQ)
  • 1965

    NETWORKING - The Irish Hardware Association open the Irish Pavillion at the Hardware Trade Fair at the Olympia in London
  • 1971

    NETWORKING - Hardware and Allied Traders Association's first trade fair takes place.
  • 1973

    NETWORKING - First Brighter Homes Consumer exhibition takes place.
  • 1975

    Irish Hardware Association President Tom Corry elected as IHA World President
  • 1984

    The Association's own premises is officially opened by President Charlie Harris in Elmville, Dundrum, Dublin 14
  • 1987

    IHA becomes a body limited by guarantee.
  • 1995

    NETWORKING - Hardware & Garden Trade Show re-launched by President Jimmy Donoghue
  • 2000

    IHA becomes the Irish Hardware and Building Materials Association (IHBMA) to reflect the current membership.
  • 2002

    NETWORKING - Irish Hardware & Building Materials Association (IHBMA) hold the UFEMAT European Congress in Dublin hosted by President Eddie Kelly
  • 2004

    NETWORKING - Irish Hardware & Building Materials Association (IHBMA) hold IHA World Congress in Dublin hosted by Irish & World President Eddie Battersby
  • 2012

    IHBMA becomes Hardware Association Ireland (HAI).
  • 2012

    Irish Hardware Magazine is replaced with HAI's own new look trade publication The Hardware Journal
  • 2014

    HAI sell Elmville and move premises to Kilmacud, Co. Dublin.
  • 2016

    HAI re-locates to Rathcoole, Co. Dublin, with facilities for training and meetings.
  • 2017

    EDUCATION - HAI launches The Hardware Education Hub, its dedicated online training resource for members.
  • 2017

    NETWORKING - HAI hosts the first two UK Study Tours in Milton Keynes, with Steve Collinge.
  • 2018

    HAI launches Hardware Jobs ( Ireland's first hardware/DIY industry specific job board website.
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