21 May 2022

Trip Through Time: The changing Dundalk scene

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

Trip Through Time: The changing Dundalk scene

When writing about the Butter Market I could not help recalling that there were many other things that have changed around Dundalk since the beginning of the present century and, more especially, since the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic!

Perhaps the most profound change has been the closing of many small shops and businesses and one cannot help wondering if there will be any left by the middle 21st Century?

A lot of this change is undoubtedly due to online shopping but I believe that there are other factors at work, such the changing nature of Dundalk society itself and the rapid advance of technology.

None of these changes are really bad for Dundalk but can be difficult for older people to accept.

Another aspect of Dundalk life that has changed is that May processions are no longer held in Dundalk churches.

These processions used be a feature of local children's' growing up and, while some people were not too happy about the length of the ceremonies, I believe that most children of those times found them a happy experience which they remember with a great deal fondness.

One of the novel things about last month's Census forms was the inclusion of a section for comments on what those who filled them out thought life might be like in 100 years time?

I did not think that the 'Heads of Households' who filled them should be the ones to give their views on this vision of the future?

Surely that is a matter more properly to be addressed by the young and even the very young.

In spite all this I was surprised how many people did fill in that section - and some of the ideas expressed were quite interesting but many seem to me to have just cynical!

So, what was the point of it?

Back in the 20th century it was very popular for new institutions to bury 'Time Capsules' but that seems to have gone out fashion in the present century - perhaps that is because many of them were dug up too soon?

100 years ago

It is interesting to note that 100 years ago the publisher of the Tempest Annual wrote about Dundalk that it was 'a prosperous maritime town' and expressed a hope that the business of the Port would increase manifold in the century to follow.

Well, we all know now that dream has evaporated but, who knows, maybe that trend may be reversed again over another 100 years?

On the brighter side, the same edition of the Annual notes that – 'An extensive demesne was bought by the Urban District Council in 1920 (from the Roden Estate) which borders the town on its west side'.

At least that purchase has proved a very useful one for Dundalk but one still has to wonder if Dundalk will still have housing problems for many of its inhabitants in 2122?

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