Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Two 200-year-old shopfronts
on Rathkeale’s Main Street

The Eurospar supermarket on Main Street, Rathkeale, dates back to about 1820 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Patrick Comerford

The Bank Holiday on Monday, and a funeral in Tarbert, Co Kerry, on Monday and today [6 June 2017] mean I have not been to Rathkeale this week for my usual visit to the parish, the church and the school, and my walks by the banks of the River Deel.

I am planning to be back in Rathkeale next Sunday, which is Trinity Sunday and so also the Patronal Festival of Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale.

As I walk through the streets of Rathkeale, sometimes I am startled not so much by the grandeur of some of the public buildings, such as the churches and the former courthouse, or by the once elegant Regency buildings with their Wyatt windows, but by what appear to be ordinary buildings with everyday shopfronts.

The Eurospar supermarket on Main Street looks like an ordinary shopfront at first sight, but this five-bay, three-storey building, is almost 200 years old and dates back to about 1820.

There is a modern shopfront to the ground floor on the front or north elevation. There is a pitched slate roof with rendered chimney-stacks and there are rendered walls and quoins.

The timber sliding sash windows have been replaced with PVC, but they still have their render surrounds, and those to the first floor fluted and with segmental arches above. There is a particularly charming bay-window style feature in the middle of the first floor.

Next door, the shop once known as The Deel is now disused, but this three-bay three-storey building was built around 1820, and retains many features that date back about 200 years.

At the ground floor the shopfront is at the north or front elevation. Here too, the building has a pitched slate roof with rendered chimney-stacks. There are rendered walls, timber sliding sash windows, render surrounds, and those on the first floor are fluted and with segmental arches above while those on the second floor are fluted.

Despite its poor state of repair, this building is notable for its retention of timber sash windows and for the render detailing to its façade.

It is interesting too that the townland name for this part of Rathkeale is the English Tenements.

A disused shop with architectural details that have survived for 200 years (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

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