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Sunday 4 June 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# snapshot
11 striking photos of beautiful old-style shopfronts around Ireland
Trevor Finnegan is a graphic designer on a mission: to highlight the beauty of traditional Irish shopfronts.

Our Type Our Type

OVER THE PAST few years, a number of accounts dedicated to documenting old signage around Ireland have cropped up on Instagram.

One of these is @our.type. The brainchild of graphic designer Trevor Finnegan, Our Type shares photos of traditional shopfronts around the country.

“The project came about initially as part of a college project when I was studying Visual Communication in NCAD,” Trevor says. “It started with me taking some photos of old signage in rural towns around the midlands.”

Finnegan attributes his passion for old type to his father’s penchant for collecting old enamel signage.

“These were then displayed on the back of garage where we all used to play football growing up. So my fascination with typography was subconsciously starting to take place as we kicked a football against the walls,” he explains.

The project’s beginnings coincided with the Celtic Tiger, a time in which family-run businesses closed down and were replaced by the likes of Spar and Centra.

“The familiar face of many of our towns and villages was beginning to change,” says Finnegan.

As such, he felt compelled to document them before they disappeared from the landscape forever.

As a country, we really have a beautiful and unique style to our traditional shopfront, and we are in real danger of losing this as we  continue to let our towns be taken over by these cheap shops with little regard to how our towns are losing their unique style and starting to look the exact same as each other.

“One part of the project that I really love is getting to speak to the owners of some of the places I photograph,” says Finnegan. “This to me is almost as important as the photographs themselves.”

I think it is important to capture the nostalgia as many of these places have played such important roles in the society of local towns in Ireland.

So far, Finnegan has taken well over 500 photos. There was an exhibition in Dublin’s Bernard Shaw a few years ago, and he regularly gets e-mails from people sharing their own personal memories.

Naturally, he has his favourites.

“I definitely have a few favourites – such as Doran’s drapers shop in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork,” he says. “It is probably not the most traditional but I just love the quirkiness of the signage and the 3D structure of it.”

Doran's Mitchelstown- Co. COrk _preview Trevor Finnegan / Our Type Trevor Finnegan / Our Type / Our Type

“Another favourite would be E. O’ Ceallait in Virginia, Co. Cavan and the Railway Bar in Bannagher, Co. Offaly.”

Railway Bar, Banagher Co. Offaly_preview Trevor Finnegan / Our Type Trevor Finnegan / Our Type / Our Type

Finnegan is currently working on a book that will be released in 2018 and is hopeful that people are beginning to see the importance of preserving our heritage.

I just hope that there is more protection on them as our economy is now beginning to grow again and the building boom is back. I hope we don’t start making the same mistakes as before.

You can follow Our Type here and learn more about the project here.

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