Main Street, Letterkenny

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Upper Main Street lit up at night and crowded with people. Crossview House can be seen in the background. Several nightclubs, such as Milan, The Pulse and the Grill Music Venue, are located near this area.

Main Street (Irish: An Phríomhshráid) is an important thoroughfare in Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland. Sometimes claimed to be the longest street in Ireland,[1][2] it is divided into two sections, with Lower Main Street running from the junction at Oldtown Road to the Market Square and Upper Main Street running from the Market Square to the junction at Crossview House. Traffic flows in a one-way system from Crossview House downwards. The road junctions on the street are:

Upper Main Street

  • Speer's Lane
  • Justice Walsh Road
  • Church Street
  • Rosemount Lane

Lower Main Street

  • Market Square
  • Oliver Plunkett Road
  • Burnside
  • Larkin's Lane

History[edit]

Theobald Wolfe Tone was captured and held on the street during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. He was held for a short time at Laird's Hotel opposite the Market Square[3] before being transferred to the nearby Derry Gaol. The Wolfe Tone Bar was established in his honour and is located on Lower Main Street on the site of the old Garda barracks.[4] The Barracks building had been there since the 1850s and was an RIC Barracks up to 1922.[5]

Hiring Fairs (often known as 'the Rabble Day') were held in Letterkenny in years gone by when children between the ages of 11 and 16 were sold for periods of six months to wealthy farmers of the Laggan district of East Donegal. These 'Rabble Days' were held annually in May and November at Speer's Lane, at the corner of Upper Main Street. The monument Rabble Children by Maurice Harron was erected at the Market Square in December 1994.[6]

Regeneration works were carried out on Lower Main street in late 1996. Footpaths were widened and cobblestones were placed on the street at the junction with Larkin's Lane. These cobblestones were removed in 2008. The street was the main location of events when the town hosted the Fleadh Cheoil in 2005 and 2006. The Lower Main Street pavements have since fallen into a higgledy-piggledy bad state of repair which has led to calls from the local council for re-paving to be carried out.[7]

Criminal activity[edit]

The Main Street has seen numerous assaults,[8] stabbings,[9][10][11][12] sexual assaults,[13][14] drug raids[15] and attacks on Gardaí[16] in the past.

In August 2009, the Lower Main Street was nearly blown-up when a severed gas pipe was discovered in an alleyway. The street was sealed off as the gas spread around the area. Occupants in nearby buildings were evacuated while attendants at the Wolfe Tone Bar were kept inside for fear of igniting the gas. A gas engineer later shut off the supply of gas from the meter.[17][18][19]

In 2011, a Garda officer and three nightclub bouncers were repeatedly stabbed outside the Voodoo Nightclub. One of the bouncers had his leg penetrated by the blade while the Garda had his hand slashed.[20][21][22]

Services[edit]

Main Street once served as the main shopping area in the town but trade has now shifted further afield. The Main Street is still home to many older establishments including R.McCullagh Jewellers,[23] dating from 1869, and Speers Department Store. It is also acts as the financial services centre of the town with the majority of banks being located there.

Today the street is a centre for popular night clubs such as Club Voodoo. It is a popular nightspot at weekends, being the location of many stag and hen parties. The street can become quite vicious in the early hours of the morning and this has led many local to steer clear. The area has seen numerous assaults,[24] stabbings,[25][26][27] sexual assaults,[28][29] drug raids,[30] and attacks on Gardaí[31] in the past.

Shopping Centres[edit]

The Courtyard Shopping Centre has an entrance close to the midpoint of Letterkenny's Main Street. Located in central Letterkenny, close to the Library and Arts Centre on the Lower Main Street side and the Bank of Ireland on the Upper Main Street side, it also overlooks Pearse Street and Oliver Plunkett Street. The structure is built spirally on a slope so, if approached from the Main Street entrance, the visitor, when making their way through the complex, descends into the ground via a series of escalators. Letterkenny's oldest Eason's bookstore and Heatons, the department store in which billionaire retail entrepreneur and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has a 50% stake, are among the outlets to be found inside. Both Eason and Heatons are situated on multiple storeys.

The Market Centre is a small shopping centre located opposite the Market Square. It has a gathering of shops spread around a flat shopping mall.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Choose Ireland – Letterkenny
  2. ^ Letterkenny Information
  3. ^ Wolf Tone Captured in Letterkenny
  4. ^ Wolfe Tone Bar – Official Site
  5. ^ Old Garda (Police) Barracks – Flickr
  6. ^ Rabble Days
  7. ^ Footpath concerns on Letterkenny's Lower Main Street, Donegal Democrat, 29 January 2009
  8. ^ Gardai issue appeal to licensed trade after serious assaults in Letterkenny, Belfast Telegraph, 22 May 2007
  9. ^ Man due in court over Donegal stabbing, Irish Independent, 17 October 2008
  10. ^ Two hurt in separate assaults, Irish Independent, 10 October 2006
  11. ^ Dubliner held on stabbing and drug supply charges, Irish Times, 14 October 2008
  12. ^ Horror Knife Attack, Donegal News, 18 September 2009
  13. ^ Gardai fear spate of sex attacks are linked, Irish Independent, 23 November 2002
  14. ^ Gardai launch search for sex-attack duo, Irish Independent, 6 February 2006
  15. ^ Gardaí make two cannabis seizures overnight, Irish Times, 9 September 2001
  16. ^ Spitting Letterkenny man "beginning, middle and end of a blaggard" – Judge Kilrane, Donegal Democrat, 9 September 2008
  17. ^ Gardaí investigate Letterkenny gas leak, Irish Times, 20 August 2009
  18. ^ Gardaí probe Letterkenny gas leak, RTÉ, 20 August 2009
  19. ^ Gardai investigate gas leak in Letterkenny, The Tribune, 20 August 2009
  20. ^ Four stabbed including Garda after stabbing frenzy outside Letterkenny nightlcub, Donegal Daily, 14 August 2011
  21. ^ Garda and three bouncers stabbed, Irish Times, 15 August 2011
  22. ^ Stabbing incident Letterkenny Co Donegal An Garda Síochána, 14 August 2011
  23. ^ R. McCullagh Jewellers Website
  24. ^ Gardai issue appeal to licensed trade after serious assaults in Letterkenny, Belfast Telegraph, 22 May 2007
  25. ^ Man due in court over Donegal stabbing, Irish Independent, 17 October 2008
  26. ^ Two hurt in separate assaults, Irish Independent, 10 October 2006
  27. ^ Dubliner held on stabbing and drug supply charges, Irish Times, 14 October 2008
  28. ^ Gardai fear spate of sex attacks are linked, Irish Independent, 23 November 2002
  29. ^ Gardai launch search for sex-attack duo, Irish Independent, 6 February 2006
  30. ^ Gardaí make two cannabis seizures overnight, Irish Times, 9 September 2001
  31. ^ Spitting Letterkenny man "beginning, middle and end of a blaggard" – Judge Kilrane, Donegal Democrat, 9 September 2008

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°57′01″N 7°44′14″W / 54.950157°N 7.73722°W / 54.950157; -7.73722