Peter McCarthy was born in 1812 and is first listed in the Limerick Trade Directories in 1838 as a cabinet maker at 10 Francis Street.
A D. McCarthy is also listed in the same profession at William Street and although we might guess that was a family connection to Peter, we do not know. Peter stayed at Francis Street for nearly 20 years during which time he and his wife Mary had Stephen, in 1849, and Francis in 1851, both of whom would later join the family business. Peter also developed an interest in music and was a donor and founder of the Limerick Athenaeum in 1853. By 1856 the business is listed at 36 George Street under Cabinet Makers and Upholsterers.
By 1870, Stephen had joined the business and it became Peter McCarthy & Son. They are then listed at 38 George Street, have additional premises at 5 Lower Cecil Street and have added Auctioneers to their services. By 1879 Francis joined the family business with the name changed to Sons to reflect his involvement. They had also extended their showrooms to incorporate 39 George Street. Francis is described as an auctioneer at his death in 1894. Their advert in Guy's Directory of the same year describes them as one of the largest Cabinet Manufactories in Ireland and it's quite clear that they were a very successful business offering a wide range of furniture as well as completing house fittings. They also sold furniture from other makers as well as musical instruments. An example of a single leg console table by the business is in the Jim Kemmy Municipal Museum in Limerick. Expansion continued with 40 George Street being added to 38 and 39 in the early 1900s. An interest in music, theatre and cinema remained with the family and they were involved in promoting much of the live entertainment in Limerick in the early 20th Century. This included the opening of a 'bijou theatre' at 45 George Street and the re-opening of The Gaiety Theatre both in 1912. Aside from their Furniture Warehouse in George Street they also had a Furniture Mart at 9 Thomas Street in 1913. The McCarthy business has been a large part of Limerick life since Peter founded it in 1838 and aside from their later involvement in music, theatre and cinema they seem to have also provided and fitted much of the furniture and wood work for the city's churches, private houses and public buildings.
McCarthys Furniture are still serving the people of Limerick with their current premises at Eastway Business Park on the Ballysimon Road.