IT was a notable start to the week in Dundalk as the workers building the new Tesco store began the demolition of the old Dundalk Shopping Centre.
There was an outpouring of nostalgia on social media site Facebook, with many members of the Dundalk North End and Friends lamenting the end of the once popular shopping centre.
Mary Boyle, a contributor to Dundalk North End and Friends even penned a poem in tribute to the landmark shopping centre:
“For decades it stood,
-was the hub of the town
-but time took its toll
-now they’ve pulled it all down
-As the shops started closing
-people drifted away
-it had seen better years
-but was great in its day.
-Cafes and a cinema
-there was nothing it lacked.
-People came from all over,
-at weekends it was packed.
-I loved to walk round
-browsing shops at my leisure
-meeting friends at weekends
- are all memories I’ll treasure.”
While the complex enjoyed an extended heyday as the town’s premier shopping venue, it slowly went into decline in the face of newer, more modern alternatives.
In latter years the shopping centre had become something of a husk, and tinged with more than a little sadness.
With just a handful of shops, the slowly decaying structure felt more like a ghostship then the bustling centre of commerce that it once was.
Yet from the rubble of the old buiding, springs new hope, as the latest incarnation of the shopping centre is likely to place the Dublin Rd complex right back at the centre of Dundalk’s shopping landscape once more.
Speaking to the Dundalk Democrat Community Liason for Tesco Ireland, Michael Sullivan, says that the new store is going to be one of the most stunning of its kind in the country.
“This store is going to a genuinely beautifully designed building,” says Michael.
“We are also going to open up a large area of the canal on the Ramparts aswell. We envisage that this area is going to become a really nice place to come and shop.
“We also see this building as significantly adding to the Dundalk as a shopping location, and also as a way of adding footfall to the town centre.”
Crucially there will be retail units for the non-Tesco retailers that had shared the shopping centre with the supermarket giant.
“What will happen is that a the old building, which is there since the seventies, is going demolished piece, by piece, while the section of the shop as is will still function and will be functioning thoughout the build.”
The end building will be 57,000 sq feet in size and offer a state of the art shopping facility.