According to Historians, Pearl River used to be called Muddy Brook.
So in 1998, when Isabel and Audrey Haley talked about the need for a casual, breakfast and lunchtime cafe where one could bring their children in Pearl River, Muddy Brook was the chosen name.
“Customers would come in and tell us we were wrong,” says Isabel . “They said Pearl River used to be called Muddy Creek. But we met with the local Historian and turned out to be correct, but it caused a lot of discussions!”
The Muddy Brook Café opened its doors in 2001. One of the best sellers was always a traditional full Irish breakfast; two eggs, Irish sausage, rashers (Irish bacon) and beans. Isabel and Audrey owned the Café until the end of 2005.
On March 13, 2006 these two female entrepreneurs Isabel and Audrey Haley, who married brothers, opened The Danu Gallery in Pearl River. It is definitely a family affair. “But our husbands are not involved at all,” says Isabel. “We are very self sufficient!”
“There is such a demand for Irish products,” explains Isabel. “We definitely have transformed our store more toward those products than when we first opened. We are the only store in Rockland with Irish products.”
Every year there is an annual trade fair in Ireland and every September one in Chicago. “The purpose to go to Ireland is there is such beautiful product to see, potters that are working out of their garages,” said Isabel Haley. “This is the Javits version and it happens in Dublin.”
The Danu Gallery is a warm and inviting place. There are traditional products and modernized versions of traditional items.
“Everyone wants a Celtic Cross and a Claddagh ring.” Isabel Haley explained. But the Haleys search out the “not-so-common” crosses and rings in addition to the traditional.
One artisan that The Danu Gallery represents is Colm De Ris. All his pots are hand thrown and hand built, come in high gloss strong colors, deep reds and rich blues with sweeping shapes creating a modern celtic feel. In addition, an exclusive product that is sold at Danu is their Celtic Hearth. Designed by Gerry McDonnell, a native of County Westmeath, Ireland, this fireplace surround is completely handmade with Sandstone and Limestone and painstaking attention to detail.
From cooking rashers to representing Irish artisans. These two ladies have found their niche and are happy to be in a place where many years ago a man found a pearl in a mussel in the muddy creek and the name Pearl River was born.