The Firkin Crane

The Firkin Crane
The Firkin Crane

The Firkin Crane is an unusual round building in the Shandon district of Cork City. It is part of the Butter Market, a main depot for butter distribution in the nineteenth century. O’Neill visited here after first running away from home. I imagine the sight of the “firkins” (butter churns) being graded for international shipment was an inspiration for Francis O’Neill to travel the world.

I was lucky enough to visit the butter market this summer. Here are some pictures from my visit:

Plaque on nearby house
Old facade of the butter market
A firkin. The standard butter churn size.

“Shandon Bells” is a famous jig Francis O’Neill collected. The bells of St. Anne’s church would have rang out over the marketplace. Perhaps the sound of the bells is echoed in the tune?

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