The Firkin Crane building was designed by Sir John Benson and opened in 1855. The building is a unique rotunda, which formed part of Cork's original Butter Exchange. This building forms part of an interesting group of related structures with the former butter market buildings in the Shandon area. The Firkin Crane was completely destroyed by fire in 1982. It reopened in 1992 and is now a bustling centre for all kinds of dance.

A butter market began in the Shandon area in 1730, initally as an outdoor market. Over the following decades it became necessary to expand the Shandon butter ‌‌market due to its thriving trade, leading to the construction of premises to house an indoor market.

In the Cork Committee of Merchants was formed and it established the Cork Butter Market. Its premises were built on the grounds of the former Shandon Castle.

The Cork Butter Exchange was regarded as the most important provider of butter in Britain and Ireland. At its trading peak in the 1880s it was handling 500,000 casks per year valued at £1.5 million. The market also supplier the British naval garrisons stationed in Cork. The building was extended in 1849 behind a new facade designed by ‌John Benson.
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