Checkpoint 3: Shandon Street

Congratulations on climbing up the hill and making it to checkpoint 3!

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This is Shandon Street or Stráid an tSeandúin meaning Old Fort Street. Originally built in the 1200s, the fort was used as a courthouse and jail for important prisoners such as the ‘Sugán Earl’ James Desmond who fought against Queen Elizabeth’s forces in the 16th century. Though Shandon Castle was destroyed during the Siege of Cork in 1690, the street still bears its name. Shandon Street was partially burned by the British Army during the War of Independence as pay back for an attack in the city. After the closure of the Butter Market in 1924, Shandon Street went into a period of decline.

In the 19th century, Shandon was an important area for trade with farmers form Cork and Kerry coming here to sell butter. By the beginning of the 20th century, the street was popular with wealthier citizens who lived over their shops and pubs. Many of these Georgian and Victorian buildings, with decorated shopfronts, can still be seen on Shandon Street today. The key features to look out for are:

  • - Cornices: used to define the public shop on the ground floor from the private residence on the upper floors. The cornice was also used to keep the rain off the fascia/frieze.
  • - Fascia/Frieze: Based on classical Greek architecture, the fascia or frieze became elongated in the Georgian era and was used to display the number and name of the shop.
  • - Console/Corbels/Bracket: Highly decorated ’S’ shaped projecting supports found at the top of pilasters. They mark the ends of the fascia and the shop.
  • - Pilasters: On either side of the shop window are vertical columns that project from the wall. They are classical Greek in style and are usually decorated with fluting or scrolls,
  • - Spandrel/Stall-riser: this protects the base of the shopfront window from rain splashing and dirt.

You can see these traditional shopfront features all along Shandon Street. Particularly clear examples of the fascia, cornice and pilasters can be found at number 72, 90 and 91. Number 90 even has a wonderfully decorated console and finial which can be found on top of the pilasters. Numbers 94 and 95 are also beautiful examples of what a traditional fascia should look like.

Number 29’s spandrel has a traditional panelled design. Number 23’s spandrel is made of brick with a lovely dentil decorated cornice over the fascia. If you look across the road, you will also see number 101’s beautiful foliage decorated console over the right pilaster.

How many more traditional shopfronts can you find?

CLUE 3: Our next checkpoint is located on a lane named after a boy and a girl. It can be found near this feature.

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