It’s hard to believe it’s Christmas again
It’s certainly been a busy year though on a local level and with that in mind I’ve decided to look back on the year that was 2013 and give three of my high points and three of my low points for Dundalk.
1 The resurgence of Dundalk FC
It’s hard to believe that it was just over a year ago that Dundalk had to overcome Waterford Utd in a play-off just to retain their Premier Division status, but there has been an amazing turnaround under new ownership. This year Stephen Kenny came in and Oriel Park became a real hive of activity once more. The club finished second in the league, were unlucky not to make an FAI Cup final and have secured European football for next season. Hopefully this year was the beginning of something special.
2 Business boost
While a number of businesses continue to struggle in the area, there were some silver linings this year. The addition of PayPal and eBay to the area has brought hundreds more jobs to the town while the likes of National Pen also announced a significant expansion. Dundalk IT taking over the JJB Complex is further good news, while other projects such as the potential expansion of the Marshes and an all weather national hunt track at Dundalk Stadium remain a possibility.
3 Community spirit
As with any year there are endless events organised which bring people together. From the Dundalk 10k in May to the Táin Summer Festival, there were numerous events that will bring back memories of 2013. None will compare with the recent Dundalk Santa Run, which really brought the community together like never before. The sight of thousands of people dressed as Santa Claus will be one of the lasting images of the year.
1 The murder of Det Garda Adrian Donohue
2013 got off to the worst possible start when Det Garda Adrian Donohue was shot dead in the line of duty back in January. It’s an incident that is still hard to come to terms with and the hope is that his killers will eventually be brought to justice. As sad as that incident was, the show of support given by the town and by An Garda Siochána will not be forgotten in a hurry.
2 The continued decline of Clanbrassil Street
The decline of Clanbrassil Street has been ignored for too long. This year several more long-standing businesses closed their doors. Gone are the likes of Madame Kay and Coleman’s Butchers while Declan’s is set to follow before the turn of the year. These tenants aren’t being replaced and the overall street hasseen better days..
3 The loss of old friends
Each year we inevitably lose a few old friends and this year certainly tugged on the heartstrings. The Dundalk Shopping Centre, which carries countless memories, is soon to be no more. On a human level, there were too many old friends to mention but the passing of Tommy McConville brought Dundalk almost to a standstill. There are countless others we wish we could see over Christmas but their memories remain with us.