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DD Motoring: New Bus Service in Donegal

first_imgI once heard a story about a widow talking about her late husband. Someone ask her when did her late husband die? To which she replied, “he died in 1953 but we buried him in 1974!” Turns out her late husband worked on the railway and when it ceased in 1953 a part of his life died as well.No one will ever know how much effect the structure of a transport system like the railway had on the people of Donegal when it suddenly came to an end in the 50s and 60s in this county. The connections and the business links it provided were all of a sudden ended. Letterkenny had three different railways companies working all through Donegal connections people with places. Advertisement On a more positive note, on Wednesday Mary Crossan, who is one of the co-ordinators at the St. Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre gave a short speech as she welcomed the new Local Link Bus service to their area. Mary talked with passion at the launch of the new bus service from Carrigans to Letterkenny as she stressed the importance of having a proper transport infrastructure and local bus service that connects the local rural areas with urban hubs.Mary Crossan local co-ordinator for The Carrigans St .Johnson Family Centre pictured as she checks out the new bus which will operated on the local link from Carrigans to Letterkenny. Photo Brian McDaidMary also talked about her own experience as a child standing on the platform seeing the last train on the last day leaving St Johnston in 1965 and how it had such a big effect on the local community. Twelve people were working at the train station in St. Johnston when it closed.This was a big loss of jobs in the area but it also was a massive disconnection of a rural community with urban locations. Yesterday the new bus headed off for the first time as local councillors and guests enjoyed the launch of the service.The time table locations include Carrigans, St Johnston, Drumoghill, Pluck, Dromore and Letterkenny with stops at the LYIT, the Station and the Hospital. This area has been forgotten over the years and it’s just a great positive move to see a bus service running through these rural townlands again. Advertisement The timetable for the new Local Link Bus service from Carrigans to Letterkenny which was launched yesterday. Photo Brian McDaidI hope in the future to get a spin on this bus and report on the journey that my grandfather Pat McDaid would have who was originally from St Johnston would have made by foot or by bicycle. It will be great to travel the journey he did years ago from St Johnston to Pluck on the bus. I have included a picture of the time table to help get the service up and running and wish the service a great success.Learning from Rural CommunitiesIs it possible to look for a similar community effort to work in a town like Letterkenny or has it got too big for its people to put back local values it once had?A young Brian McDaid who enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the Port Road.At an early age in the 70s I would go down the Port Rd on a Thursday evening and wait for my father’s arrival up the Port Road as he guided his truck in through the old wooden gates of the ESB yard. His small brown pay packet which could have sterling or Irish pounds notes in it would be handed over and the another week of bills would be squared as best as we could.Tinneys worked out of the Port Road in them days delivering coal to the homes of Letterkenny so that would be one of the bills that needed paying. Sloans were on the Port Rd too where you could go in and get yourself a new “rig” of clothes and pay in for it later.Three old buildings on the Port Rd in Letterkenny which are vacant for years including my old workplace the Donegal Democrat which has since moved to Lr Main St. Photo Brian McDaidThe urban council offices were also on the Port Rd Where they late Barney Doherty would work from, calling around to collect the weekly rent. In them days The Port Road was a hectic place with a great mix of commercial and retail business working away together supporting each others economy. I got a job myself working on the Port Rd in the 80s working in the Donegal Democrat offices at 44 Port Rd. as their photographer. I can still smell the fixer and the sound of the timer in the small dark room as we got our black and white photos ready to go on the Letterkenny to Galway express bus to Ballyshannon where the Democrat would print its weekly papers.Ten years ago I was back on the Port Road in a photographic and a picture framing business but by that time the signs were starting to show that this once busy part of one of Letterkenny was a victim of the town’s success. In 1985 as a member of the Letterkenny Fire Service I was sent out one evening to do a check on the new fire hydrants in the towns new shopping centre built in the grounds of the Old Lough Swilly Railway Station.That night an inquisitive tourist got chatting to us and proclaimed that the new roundabout at the entrance to the shopping centre would be of no benefit to the traffic.Over this last 30 years I have watched people from Letterkenny getting fed up with the congestion going into the station roundabout and have found different ways of getting around Letterkenny without going near the station roundabout. The one-way section of the Port Rd from Boyce’s Corner to Crossview House can only be accessed from the station roundabout so over the years this important artery of the town has slowly ended up with very little Letterkenny blood flowing through it, traffic wise. A view of the traffic congestion on the way into Letterkenny between the two roundabouts on the Post Road. Photo Brian McDaidThere was once talk of an urban renewal plan to get businesses to have accommodation above it like the most of Letterkenny once was years ago this was called Living above your shop scheme (LOTS) which had it been availed of between 1994 and 2006. It was a revised tax incentive scheme, that was subject to EU approval at that time its plan was to tackle vacant upper story spaces above shops or commercial premises. The Port Road was ideal for this plan but it never happened. It also could have provided much-needed housing in Letterkenny as well as recreated a living urban environment.The Port Road is now competing with the retail parks of Letterkenny, and the retail park holds all the cards, gone are the days of interaction between the commercial agricultural and retail sectors of Donegal.The Old Hiberinan Bank now Bank of Ireland looking well with flowers at the Market Square in Letterkenny. Photo Brian McDaidThe retail parks are clinical in business if you have credit on your card you can shop, if haven’t you can’t. In the days of the old Port Road all the businesses played a part in the day to day running of the town. Even retail parks are now under the same pressure that the Port Road suffered as they are competing with the online business.The Port at the mouth of Lough Swilly made it possible for Letterkenny to become a town, the railway then became the new way to make the town progress, When the railway closed, Letterkenny had to do something and battled to keep business in the town.At one time Dillion’s or the Save-a-lot in the Devlin Hall were the only two supermarkets in Letterkenny which were locally owned.Times change and things move on. It some times annoys me that the big multi National retail outlets that have arrived in Letterkenny do not play a bigger part in the much-needed development of Letterkenny. I worry long term about the older retail outlet in parts of Letterkenny that are holding on in the most difficult of times.Happy Motoring folksDD Motoring: New Bus Service in Donegal was last modified: August 27th, 2017 by Brian McDaidShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:brian mc daidBus servicedonegalletterkennyLocalmotoringlast_img read more