11 Oct 2017

Cork Butter Exchange, Future Challenges

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Press Release

    There have been tentative discussions with Failte Ireland to develop a heritage unit at the old Butter Exchange site. But nothing has been discussed in a concrete way. The building needs serious investment to re-roof it (e2-3m). It has been a very frustrating slow process in putting a plan to raise the money and move forward with the site. From walking tours in the area of Shandon, disappointment is consistently expressed by groups such as the Shandon Area Renewal Association, Tidy Towns, Shandon Street Festival and managers of the Firkin Crane, Butter Market Museum and St Anne’s Church, Shandon. The building is so iconic in its nature that is a lynchpin in opening up and telling the story of this corner of the city. But the building is also an iconic piece of Irish architecture, which is also overlooked. The building’s story connected, through butter, to the four corners of the known world in its day.

 The city tour bus stops outside the Firkin Crane. Those who embark only find the imposing Exchange building closed.

   I feel very angry especially when you meet the members of local groups who have enormous ideas for the site and the area. The array of ideas by local community activists in Shandon is striking. They always renew my continued interest in the quarter and I would strongly argue that City Hall needs to listen more to their ideas. The Council’s ideas on developing a Diaspora Centre or a technology hub have fallen through in recent years.

    Such has been the growth of the festival activity in Shandon, the area also perhaps needs a summer co-ordinator to bring together the publicity of the festivals, showcase summer events and meet and greet large tour buses in the area. In fact, more and more I am being pulled to the idea that perhaps the best function for the old Exchange building is to develop community facilities in there; At least that would bring locals into the area and serve as a platform for tourists to learn about community activities and the strong sense of place, which exists in the area. The more the building remains undeveloped, the more structural problems the site will develop. The clock is ticking on the old Butter Exchange Building.

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