THE BEER BEAT: Photographing traditional Irish storefronts for posterity, like the Railway Bar.


The loss of storefronts in Ireland is a lamentable cultural atrocity. It isn’t restricted to pubs, but of course I’m enraptured by one of the pubs pictured in the article.

The photo above accompanies the article. The one below is from 2011. The Railway Bar’s actually looking a tad fresher.

The flowers are a nice touch, and the pints of Guinness … even better. Here’s a photo of a multi-purpose joint in Sligo, which I snapped in black and white back in ’85.

Or this one, I believe in Cork, from 1987.

It’s too bad about the disappearance of these traditional commercial features. For a revealing look into the way that Irish pub fronts (make that, entire Irish pubs) are conjured at home and installed in “shells” around the world, jump here.

A Last Look at Ireland’s Disappearing Storefronts, by Anika Burgess (Atlas Obscura)

Photographing the colors and typography of traditional Irish shops.

On a narrow street in the town of Wexford, in the southeast of Ireland, is B. Corcoran, a men’s clothing store. It’s been in operation since 1956, a fact which is evident from its storefront: above a painted olive green exterior, a wedge-shaped sign spells out “B. Corcoran Ltd.” in burgundy scripted lettering.

Storefronts such as this one are a visual treasure for the graphic designer Trevor Finnegan. For the past eight years, in his spare time, he’s been exploring and photographing traditional Irish stores all over the country. The ongoing project is a way to document an important part of Ireland’s visual traditions and crafts, says Finnegan. “Their unique design style and the typographic styles really appeal to me,” he explains. “They are the face of local business and the give a real sense of friendliness that you find in these types of places here in Ireland.”

There’s another reason that Finnegan wants to document the storefronts: they’re in decline. Smaller, family-run stores suffered during the recession, he says. “With many young people now living and working in the bigger cities such as Dublin, Cork, and Galway, many of these shops just simply closed down.” There is also the seemingly inexorable shift toward larger or more homogenous stores. “People’s shopping habits have changed and bigger chain stores have moved into towns across Ireland,” he says, “which has really affected local smaller businesses like these … ”