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Patrimoine/Cultural Heritage in France and Ireland


Edited By Eamon Maher and Eugene O'Brien

This collection of essays explores the concept of patrimoine, a French word used to denote cultural heritage, traditional customs and practices – the Gaelic equivalent is dúchas – and the extent to which it impacts on France and Ireland. Borrowing from disciplines as varied as sociology, cultural theory, literature, marketing, theology, history, musicology and business, the contributors to the volume unearth interesting manifestations of how patrimoine resonates across cultural divides and bestows uniqueness and specificity on countries and societies, sometimes in a subliminal manner.

Issues covered include debt as heritage, Guinness as a cultural icon of «Irishness», faith-based tourism, the Huguenot heritage in Ireland, Irish musical inheritances since Independence, Skellig Michael and the commodification of Irish culture.

With a Foreword by His Excellency M. Stéphane Crouzat, French Ambassador to Ireland, this collection breaks new ground in assessing the close links between France and Ireland, links that will become all the more important in light of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

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8 A Traditional Irish Family Butcher Shop: ‘Harnessing the power of Patrimoine’ (Brian Murphy)


Brian Murphy

8 A Traditional Irish Family Butcher Shop: ‘Harnessing the power of Patrimoine’

Figure 8.1. Brian Murphy, Lucy Murphy and Michael Murphy on the final day of M. J. Murphy’s Butcher Shop1

This chapter examines an often overlooked aspect of Ireland’s gastronomic heritage, namely the traditional family butcher shop. For many years, both in urban and rural settings, in a similar way to the pub, the post office and←163 | 164→ the Garda station, the small family butcher shop has been disappearing from our village centres and our urban main streets. It has been subsumed into meat counters in large international retailers where the traditional aspects of the Irish butcher shop have all but disappeared to be replaced by an often faux-authentic approach to butchery; that is to say, where the impression of the traditional shop is created but there is very little in terms of traditional Irish butchering heritage evident. This chapter explores how the authentic Irish family butcher shop in Ireland can exploit its cultural heritage as a traditional gastronomic entity to capitalize on its associated sense of patrimoine. It explores where this sense of patrimoine comes from and how these origins can be utilized to best effect. Throughout the chapter, I argue that in order for a traditional business to survive in contemporary Ireland’s open and competitive market place, that business needs to exploit and promote its cultural heritage qualities.

The theoretical framework that is used for discussion...

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