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26/10/18 Free ‘Traditional Shopfronts & Signage’ Seminar

Trad shop fronts

Combined house and shopfronts such as ‘W.H. Raitt & Son’ business premises in Stranorlar exhibit the original proportioning of the traditional shopfront as well as the full-façade hand-painted signage


The County Donegal Heritage Office, Donegal County Council in association with the Letterkenny ‘Tidy Towns’ Committee and The Heritage Council has organised a free ‘Traditional Shopfronts & Vernacular Signage’ seminar in the Events Centre, Central Library, Main Street, Letterkenny on Saturday, November 10 as part of the implementation of the County Donegal Heritage Plan.  To book your free place at the seminar, telephone (074) 912 4613 or e-mail [email protected]  Places are limited so early booking is advised.


“Traditional shopfronts have a major impact on the overall character, quality and attractiveness of a place” said Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.  “At the seminar, the traditional shopfronts of County Donegal will be explored in terms of their character, context, scale and proportion, use of appropriate materials, composition and detailing.  The seminar will draw upon best practice and encourage appropriate, sensitive and informed interventions in relation to our traditional shopfronts, vernacular signage and historical streetscapes. 


New shopfronts can also learn from existing traditional shopfront character.  The changing nature of streetscapes has witnessed a decline in traditional shopfronts and vernacular signage due to issues such as a lack of appreciation, increased vacancy and dereliction, and inappropriate over-development of the ground floors of historic buildings.  The nature, scale and placement of modern signage and advertising can be visually intrusive and can detract from the built heritage of our streetscapes.  An understanding and appreciation of traditional shopfronts and vernacular signage can inform and guide future development in our towns and villages.”


Donegal County Council has commissioned architect Orla Murphy to produce traditional shopfronts and signage guidance that will be launched in 2019 as part of the implementation of the County Donegal Heritage Plan.  The guidance document will provide assistance to architects, designers, planners, property owners, retailers and community organisations involved in preservation, conservation, regeneration and design initiatives in towns and villages. 


Trad shop fronts Barrs

John Barr’s drapery shop on Main Street, Buncrana exhibits many of the classic architectural features of a traditional shopfront.


The aims of the free seminar are to raise awareness and appreciation of traditional shopfronts and vernacular signage in towns and villages in County Donegal and to provide information and advice in order to encourage their preservation, conservation and enhancement.  There will be illustrated presentations by expert guest speakers including:


Duncan McLaren, Conservation Architect, Dedalus Architecture who will highlight the elements and building fabric of traditional shopfronts in our towns and villages.


Collette Beattie, Conservation Officer, Donegal County Council who will outline the protection, conservation and planning measures in place for traditional shopfronts and signage in County Donegal.


Colm O’Connor, Signwriter, who will discuss the benefits of traditional hand-painted signage, the skills of a traditional signwriter and their application to traditional shopfronts and historic buildings.


Ronan O’Donnell, Project Officer, Walled City Partnership who will discuss the implementation of the Townscape Heritage Initiative in Derry that involved the conservation of traditional shopfronts and a ‘living over the shop’ initiative.


and Trevor Finnegan, Revert Design, who will highlight his photography and research of the traditional shopfronts of Ireland.


The seminar will be opened by Cllr. Seamus Ó Domhnaill, Cathaoirleach, Donegal County Council and Anne McGowan, Chairperson, Letterkenny ‘Tidy Towns’ Committee.  The event will be of interest to Tidy Towns’ committees, Chambers of Commerce, community groups, business owners, heritage groups, historical societies, town planners, architects, builders, craftsmen, historians, local authority staff and anyone with an interest in the built heritage and history of our towns and villages. 


Seminar participants will receive a free information pack and a light lunch and refreshments will be provided.  The seminar is free but booking is required and early booking is strongly recommended as places are limited.  To book your free place at the ‘Traditional Shopfronts & Vernacular Signage’ seminar, telephone (074) 912 4613 or e-mail [email protected]  Full details of the seminar are available on the County Donegal Heritage Office website.

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