running errands

"Cathedrals of consumption": A history of shopping in Ireland

A series of lectures and an exhibition will outline Ireland’s consumer cravings from Georgian Dublin to modern-day neon shopfronts.

DEPARTMENT STORES in the 1800s, shopping in Georgian times – it’s not just today’s consumers who enjoyed variety and choice in the shopping habits.

A series of lunchtime lectures at the Irish Architectural Archive will throw light on how Irish people shopped, where they shopped and what lured them to part with their guineas from 200 years ago to the present day.

The series accompanies an exhibition at the Archive’s HQ at 45 Merrion Square in Dublin.

This exhibition is called ‘Dublin Shops’ and is a series of photos by architect and architectural photographer Paul Tierney – his aim was to record for posterity the disappearing neon-lit, old-fashioned displays in shop windows around the capital. That show opens tomorrow and runs until 25 April, from 10am to 5pm, Tuesdays to Fridays.


Images from Dublin Shops by Paul Tierney at the Irish Architectural Archive.

Tierney will speak about these facades at a lecture this Thursday at the Archive, beginning at 1.15pm.

This first lecture will be followed by talks each Thursday for the next four weeks at 1.15pm. On 20 March, Dr Stephanie Rains of NUI Maynooth will describe how department stores changed the shopping landscape in Dublin in the 19th century. On 27 March, Muireann Charleton of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland will speak about consumer cravings in the 1800s – and the ‘must-haves’ of the time.

On 10 April, shops and shopping in Georgian Dublin will be revealed by Sarah Foster of CIT Crawford College of Art & Design, and on 17 April, Dublin shop signs of the 18th and 19th centuries will be scrutinised by Alan Costello of NUI Maynooth.

All lectures are open to the public and are free – but it’s a good idea to book at 01 6633040 as places are limited to 50 per lecture.

Shopfronts of Dublin: a very lovely photo project indeed>

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