Sat 9 July to Fri 26 August 2011
Earagail Arts Festival Exhibition
High Shelves and Low Counters by Winifred McNulty and Heike Thiele
Step into a world of mahogany counters, high shelves tightly packed with boxes of Trufit vests, reels of rainbow coloured thread or escutcheon pins.
For over two years, writer Winifred McNulty and photographer Heike Thiele have gathered stories and photographs from the last of the old shops in the North West of Ireland, travelling in Donegal, Tyrone, Leitrim, Fermanagh, Sligo and Cavan as part of their project, The Story of Demand.
Their journey has taken them from an Aladdin's cave of hardware and drapery to the calm spaces of country shops. They have been privileged to stand for a moment behind the counter to hear the stories of these businesses, many of which have been open for over a century.
The story of old shops is also the story of a way of living which depended on self reliance, frugality, duty and a carrying on of tradition. In the story of the heyday and demise of creameries, co-ops, travelling shops we see how life was lived in rural areas and how it was changed by emigration, membership of the E.U. and globalisation.