Stephen McMullen: “We have some classic characters around the town"
Stephen “Stevey” McMullen owns and runs “Coffee Time” on Park Street.
Call in any day for a coffee and you'll hear some great conversation, from some very knowledgeable characters, on all things Dundalk!
He shares his thoughts on Dundalk this week in "My Dundalk Life".
What's your favourite thing about Dundalk?
"My favourite thing about Dundalk is the friendliness the local people have, and the way they go about their daily routines - always got time for a chat.
"I came here 25 years ago from Belfast, city life is much more intense but in Dundalk, everything moved at its own pace.
What would your perfect day in the local area be — and why?
"Perfect day has to include sunshine and coffee of course and a good result in Oriel park.
"Once Dundalk win the whole town is happy for another week."
What would you like to change about Dundalk?
"I'd like to pedestrianise Park Street - make it a traffic free zone. Get the old Dunnes Stores reopened, bring some heart back into the town centre.
"Give Clanbrassil Street a good face lift. I think the big multinationals have ripped the heart out off all the town centres in Ireland apart from Dublin."
What annoys you about the town?
"Not much really annoys me but I'd like to see the run down derelict shops re-opened with new businesses and create some atmosphere among the towns folk.
"The square looks well but there’s a few buildings taking the bad look out of all the good that’s been done."
What plans do you have for the rest of year?
"No big plans from now to Christmas, just work, but I would expect a visit to the Aviva in November - I think we have unfinished business up there, just saying like...
How would you describe Dundalk people?
"In general Dundalk people are very friendly, great people with some great stories.
"And of course we have some classic characters around the town, I’m reluctant to name them but they know who they are!"
Where's the best place to go for a walk in the local area?
"I see a lot down by the Navvy bank and out walking the by-pass, but to be honest I like walking up the town - you see things differently than when your driving through."
What local amenities could Dundalk do with?
"I'll answer that with just one word - “NANDOS”.
What’s your first memory of Dundalk?
"Before I moved to Dundalk I was going to Dublin airport as a teenager and I remember stopping off and we parked at Jimmys Corner to get some food and the adults got liquids - that was 37 years ago."
What's your favourite story you've heard about Dundalk?
"I’ve heard a few good ones and could prob tell some too but the lotto ticket one was a classic.
"A certain Belfast man was sitting in a pub on a Saturday night - pockets a bit light but he hatched a plan, ordered a pint of the barman and sat chatting.
"Then he sent a young lad up to the shop to do the lotto. It was about 10 past 8. The instructions were to do the same numbers that were just drawn 15 mins earlier. Young fella done as he was bid and slipped our fella the ticket quietly and said no more.
"Next question was to the bar man, “turn on the teletext till I check the lotto”. Sure the bar owner done as asked and the two starred at each other.
"Our fella said “shush keep it quiet say nothing and would you put the ticket in the safe till Monday?”
"The barman let him drink for free all weekend and even threw him few bob for a Sing Li and taxis. Legend."
What's your favourite Dundalk slang/phrase?
"C’mon the town"
Where is your favourite pub in Dundalk and why?
"Started drinking there when Noel Gormley had it, then worked in it when his son Greg took over, and still drink in it ( when she indoors permits).
"Kieran McNamee runs it now and the faces at the bar haven’t changed much, apart from some are missing, but they are still fondly spoke of."
What do you think of the local arts scene?
"I honestly don’t get to to much plays exhibitions etc and I am badly up to date on the local talent."
Is there anything you think Dundalk's arts scene in lacking/could do with more of?
"Well going on the above answer I suppose it could be made more attractive to, I won’t call myself a non believer, but to encourage the uninformed like myself to get involved or attend, make it more inclusive to all.
"The town hall is great for the plays and I’ve heard some great reviews, so it is popular, so encouraging more to attend these events is what is needed."