The corner shop is one of the museum’s ‘original’ buildings, meaning it was removed brick by brick from its original location in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim, so that it could be carefully rebuilt at the museum. It was thought that the building dates back to 1889, although a family member has recently suggested it could be somewhat earlier (prior to 1871).
The building was located on the corner of Nelson Street and Irish Quarter West, a short distance from the gasworks (now Flame Gasworks Museum). Prior to World War II the Old Irish Quarter was a very poor run down Catholic ghetto area of Carrickfergus.
In Louis MacNeice’s poem “Carrickfergus” it is noted,
“But the Irish Quarter was a slum for the blind and halt.” In his unfinished autobiography he recounts, “We rarely went to the Irish Quarter and I used to hold my breath till I got through it. There was a smell of poverty as of soot mixed with porter mixed with cheap fat frying mixed with festering scabs and rags that had never been washed.”