Nik Nak Northern Ireland

I took a trip to Northern Ireland and stayed with R. and E. who are avid charity shop shoppers. They took me to a place called Nik Naks which is described as “The largest Pre-owned Goods Store in N. Ireland” and is a second-hand shop not a charity shop as the money goes to the owner. It’s one of the maddest places I have ever been.

It’s a huge warehouse sized space, and feels like 20 charity shops stuck together, with rows and rows of things. It’s dirty and dusty and some of the shelves aren’t lit at all so you wander through the aisles peering, or picking things up just to work out what they are, if you can.

Some of the areas have been sorted by category, but others are a mix of things with no order except the order you can put on it yourself. A pile of 1960s discarded plastic things here, over there some 1970s appliances, and next to them some bric-a-brac from several decades, entangled.

We browsed for ages, without seeing a member of staff. When we knew which knick-knacks we wanted to buy we had to hunt for someone to pay. We decided it was the man asleep on one of the couches in the furniture aisle and R. woke him up. He didn’t seem surprised, maybe he sleeps there regularly. It threw me a bit and put me off my haggling. I showed him my box of goods and said “4 pounds please”. He said nothing and I jumped in again with “No, 3 pounds!” He told me that I was going about bartering the wrong way, not letting him get a word in and I had to pay him my first offer of 4.

Nik Naks was a bit overwhelming, I don’t usually find second hand shops distressing but this made me think about all the possessions I’m going to leave behind me. There were so many things and no hint of the people who owned them.

It reminded me of the woman I met in St James’ hospital recently. She told me how she had almost died suddenly from an heart condition and all she could think about as she lay in her ward bed, were her kitchen appliances sitting at home, and how they’d go on working after she died.

It’s a must for prop hunters and anyone who loves to browse, especially in the dark! Have a look here Nik Nak Shop or in the blog Journey section.

posted by Priscilla in Charity Shops,Unusual shops and have Comments (5)

5 Responses to “Nik Nak Northern Ireland”

  1. Tania says:

    I love the idea of Nik Nak Shop. Where I’m from (New Zealand) we have such a mixed bag of what we call op shops. Some, like The Salvation Army, are everywhere but have higher prices and are mainly for buying your every day essentials. Bit boring. The real treasure troves are the small town shops, where like Nik Nak you can browse through boxes and dusty shelves and find treasures of a bygone era. They’re my favourite. All for a dollar or two. My house is full of old 60’s and 70’s furniture and essentials. I often wonder what of it will be deemed junk when I’m gone, and what others will consider of value. I love it all. My favourite possession is a genuine rocket lamp – not sure if these are a particularly kiwi thing or not. Thanks Priscilla for your site and your posts – think you must be a kindred spirit. Can’t wait to bring you my bits and pieces from the antipodes : ) Kind regards, Tania

  2. Priscilla says:

    I found the size of Nik Naks a bit overwhelming! I like the sound of your small town shops.. Looking forward to showing you around the 8 or 9 charity shops in Dun Laoghaire.

  3. Mary says:

    Fascinated by the lost world like description of nic nac. I live in Cork, we are spoiled with great charity shops both in the city and the surrounding towns. I regularly spend a chill out day browsing the best. You are welcome to join me.

  4. Priscilla says:

    Yes a place like Nik Naks is very evocative. What shops would your recommend most in Cork? I know the ones on North Main Street as I was working there last summer, and used to live there! Good idea to meet up for some reconnaissance! Will mail you.

  5. linda says:

    I was just in Nik Nak yesterday! I love it, but it does make me feel a bit sad too especially the glasses case, family photos and worlds best grandad cups dotted around. They’ve had a bit of a clear ot since your visit.

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