Walsh's Shop, Abbey Street, Ballinrobe

Originally a thatched structure, this premises was Murphy’s butcher shop at one stage with the meat-hooks still embedded in the timber ceiling of the shop. Later Nellie Walsh operated her newsagents and fancy good store from here for many years before being taken over by Bridget Browne approximately 25 years ago.

As part of the architectural heritage of Ballinrobe, Mayo County Council, tied in with the town’s Public Realm Plan, which is to be published shortly, choose to decorate this store front as an example of the attractiveness and unique original features of this type of an Irish town shop.

The frontage relates to the architectural character of the building with pilasters on either side of the shop front with well-balanced stall-risers. There are large windows on either side of the double doorway which is a well-defined entrance, recessed to prevent obstruction. It is a three story slated building with two bays on each of the two upper floors and was probably the last original trading interior in Ballinrobe. Internally, there are two counters, one on either side with shelving on the back walls where a door leads to kitchenette.

The paint colours have been carefully chosen to enhance the façade and street-scape together with the hand painted name-board. The railings on the first and second-floor windows may have protected the family who would have lived above the store or held flower boxes.

The original staircase remains within the store and the shop entrance would have been used by the family. There may well have been a side entrance before the Ulster Bank building was erected beside it.

The water source for the locals before piped water was from the town well which was, and is still located one the roadway outside the front of the bank, however this is now covered.

This was a thriving busy shop for decades and is remembered fondly by those loyal customers who supported their ‘local shop’.

Walsh's Shop, Abbey Street, Ballinrobe. Board created by the Ballinrobe Archaeological & Historical Society to share information about this shop
Averil Staunton

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