OUR TOWN c. 1850 - 2000


Hard to believe now, but until the opening of James Fintan Lalor Avenue in the early 1970's, Main Street, Portlaoise was part of the main road from Dublin to Cork and Limerick. The situation was further improved when the Portlaoise By-Pass came on line in 1997. In that year too, the brand new cobblelocked Main Street was completed at a cost of 1.6 million euro. A local paper remarked on the wonderful carnival atmosphere at the official opening - 8 p. m. Friday, August 29th - when hundreds thronged the street. But some could see beyond the pageantry, the lasers, the jazz and vintage cars. "Those yokes won't last," I recall one old townie shaking his head, "They'll be at it again in no time. Why didn't they tar it and be done with it?"

In December, a time capsule containing examples of local literature, documents and artifacts was buried in Main Street opposite the Courthouse. I hope the Council did a better better job sealing the capsule than they did 'improving' the street. Otherwise County Hall is in for some shock when the capsule is officially opened in 2097 and God knows what species of creepy crawlies emerge, bloated on all those tasty bits of history....

The car facing us, incidentally, is a green Chevrolet, manufactured in 1930, originally registered to A. De St Dalmas & Co., 108-109 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin, and subsequently owned by a Timothy Fitzpatrick who lived on the North Circular Road.