13 Aug 2022

Trip Through Time: Where and what was Dundalk's 'Afton Club'?

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

Trip Through Time: Where and what was Dundalk's 'Afton Club'?

Answers to last weeks's questions:

Where and what was Dundalk's 'Afton Club'?

This was a teenage beat club in a small hall along the Rampart Road that was very popular among young dancers in the 1960s. It was started in the late 50s in a premises belonging to the O'Hagan family on the other side of the Rampart to River Lane. It was originally called the Cavalier Club but did not become popular until the name was changed in 1960. It only lasted a few years and changed its name again to the Banana Club when sponsored by the Fyffes fruit company.
The 'Afton' name was also used by a Credit Union formed among employees of the P.J. Carroll tobacco company in Church Street after their famous cigarette brand 'Sweet Afton'.

When were the Blackrock Strand Races held?

This was a popular point-to-point horse race meeting that was run on Blackrock Strand in front of the Promenade at Main Street in the late nineteenth century, usually in the month of July. It was originally organised by cavalry officers stationed in Dundalk Military Barracks but wealthy landowners and businessmen later became involved. Thousands from over a wide area of Louth and Monaghan attended this annual meeting until its popularity declined with the establishment of the Dowdallshill Race Course company in 1889.

Where was the largest Bleach Green in Dundalk?

There were many bleach greens where flax was laid out to dry before being treated, to turn into linen yarn, from the late seventeenth century. By far the greatest in extent, however, was at Cambrickville, off the Ardee Road, when the cambric factory was established at Parliamentary Square near the Quays in about 1730. This green stretched from about where the Grammar School now is, down to Dublin Street. It was established by a Monsieur de Iancourt, who lived in a house off the Ardee Road. He had been brought over from France to establish the Dundalk cambric manufacturing factory where about 70 exiled Huguenot weavers worked the looms.

Where and what was the Blind Gate in the early Dundalk walled town?

This one of five original gates in the town's walls and stood somewhere about where North Street meets Linen Hall Street at the Fair Green. The gate was called Blind because it did not open onto any road into the town but led to the river where ships and boats anchored. The wall and gates are thought to have been completed around 1400, about the same time as a seawater Trench was dug around them as a defensive moat.

Questions for next week:

Where exactly was Dundalk's 'Gallows Hill'?

Where was Dundalk 'Charter School'?

When was the first Technical School opened in Dundalk?

Where and when were Dundalk first traffic lights installed?

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