Shandon has been recognised as a distinct area for hundreds of years. The name derives from the Irish “sean – dun” – old fort, which is probably a reference to a McCarthy castle which was in the vicinity of the modern North Abbey Square. By 1230, Shandon was a borough and remained so until the sixteenth century, when it was absorbed into the neigbouring city of Cork.
The Butter Market Exchange is located in the Shandon Architectural Conservation Area, as identified in the current Cork City Development Plan. It is identified as one of the ‘monumental historic buildings’ which give the area its unique identity and ‘mark its presence on the city skyline’.
The entrance front to the former butter market, which was designed in 1849 by Sir John Benson, is a monumental addition to the streetscape. This building forms part of an interesting group of related structures with the former butter market buildings including the Firkin Crane, in the Shandon area.
The butter trade originating from Cork City in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was one of the oldest internationally traded commodities, with trade routes that stretched to Great Britain, Europe, North America, the Caribbean and the West Indies.
Under the plans proposed by Recreate Shandon CLG, the building will be reimagined and repurposed for 21st Century use. It will be transformed into a centre of business and enterprise with links that will once again extend internationally. It will provide a unique workspace with its rich vibrant past inspiring new innovations, always with excellence and quality as its goal.