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In a shop on Main Street of Carrick-on-Shannon . The Leitrim Heritage office in conjunction with Creative Ireland and artist Vanya Lambrecht Ward invited the public to come and talk shop during Heritage week.

This temporary shop served as an exhibition, library and activity space as well as a meeting place for collecting, sharing stories and holding talks around the value of Leitrim’s shops and their facades.

SHOPTALK hosted a public talk on the 21st of August. Our panel of invited experts Alison Harvey (Heritage Council), Dr Arthur Parkinson (UCD), Fintan Duffy (DHB Architects) and host Carole Coleman(RTE) discussed elements around the topics of conservation and planning and cultural heritage. The public were invited to come to share stories and ideas, to try your hand at sign writing or tile design or find information at our specially curated library.

Over the two weeks in August Shoptalk welcomed a large variety of visitors.They were neighbours, other shopkeepers (present and past) Heritage week visitors, tourists, curious passers-by, shoppers, families, children, colleagues and one hen party. Many people walked in off the street without prior knowledge of the shop. Most walked around to take in the exhibition, stories look a the books in the library and to view the video by Orla Murphy, most stayed to have a chat in response to this experience or other ideas that stirred in them while in the shop. These conversations ranged from recalling events, memories and stories, to critical discussions around planning, economics and conservation of not just the aesthetics of the towns of Leitrim (and beyond) but also about the social fabric and future of our places. Most of these, often lengthy chats, criss crossed between anecdotal, ideas, links and references to the abstract, critical and theoretical thoughts. The overwhelming majority were positive in nature despite perhaps misgivings about the loss of the shops, infrastructure, economic issues and all other topics.

Many voiced their delight in seeing the photographs and reading the stories as well as the welcoming and open-endedness of the projects and its topics and the shop’s content .

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