02 Oct 2022

The Roads of Old Dundalk -Peter Kavanagh's Trip Through Time

Looking back at Dundalk's past, with former Democrat editor Peter Kavanagh

The Roads of Old Dundalk -Peter Kavanagh's Trip Through Time

A colleague of mine from the local radio, Michael Dowdall, originally from Vincent Avenue and now living along the Shore Road, has pointed out to me that the roads and streets of Dundalk have changed greatly during our lifetime.

This remark brought back a memory of my own father, Detective Ned Kavanagh, who was always a Donegal man at heart but had lived in Dundalk most of his life and knew its 'highways and by-ways' very well.

Sometime after he retired, nearly sixty years ago now, he had become very ill and spent a considerable time in various hospitals.

When he slightly recovered I took him for a ride in my car and, when driving down what was then the new Inner Relief Road linking the Dublin Road at Carroll's factory to the Quay area' he made a remark that saddened me.

He said 'I don't know this Town' and I thought 'The Old Man is losing it' but when I thought about it I realised that what he was saying was correct.

The Dundalk he had first come to in 1928 was not the same as it was to be forty years later.

In that relatively brief period of time, the Demesne had been opened up to housing developments and, not long afterwards, what had been known as Cox's Demesne, west of the town, was filled with houses and new roads.

Then the whole Marshes was opened up to housing and new industries!

So, what had been a relatively small area had suddenly expanded to nearly three times its original area!

When I recounted this incident to Michael, he retorted 'Never mind the sixties and seventies, the roads and streets of Dundalk have changed completely since the beginning of the present century! Just look at the short main street of Earl Street and you can noticed how much it has changed in fifty years.

There were no one-way streets in Dundalk at the start of that period but now there are streets that you cannot drive your car into that were two-way less than twenty years ago!'

Of course, he was absolutely correct because, even the road he now lives along the in South Marsh has changed its name!

Older Dundalk people when I was young used to refer to the Lower Point Road as the Shore Road - I am not sure that the present Shore Road was then called?

My friend Charlie McCarthy remarked to me quite recently that the Coast Guards Houses where he lives used to be regarded as being 'in the country' but now the area is filled with new houses and large estates!

The same is true of all the environs of Dundalk, from Dowdallshill to Blackrock, and who knows what the area will look like after another fifty years has passed?

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