Rant Of The Week: The Ghost Of Market Place

I don’t usually write posts of this nature, but since it is taking place in my local town I feel like it has a special place in my heart and I couldn’t push back the overwhelming sense of sadness that came over me while walking down this street. As a 20-year-old young woman, I would consider myself to be a girl about town. I’m a complete social butterfly, I love shopping and browsing and going out for cups of tea and just generally not feeling trapped at home. For me, as a girl who chose not to go to college, this town I’m about is Clonmel. I live in Ardfinnan, a village outside of Clonmel, but I try to get into town any chance I get. I moved to Ireland when I was five and always have fond memories of this town, which is why it sends shockwaves through my body every time I walk down the now eerie street of Market Place.

All of the pictures in this post were taken on a Tuesday afternoon at 12.30 and funnily enough I’m wearing a coat I bought years ago in Jean Junction! While photographing the area, the lack of people around was frightening and I even spoke with a woman who was staring in a window shocked about yet another closure and expressed her sadness to me about how much the street has changed.

What was once a busy, buzzing location where you were sure to bump into at least one person you know, is now a very lonely ghost town. There are no longer people flying up and down the street holding coffee cups, there is no window left flaunting clothes to catch my eye as I walk past, you are no longer hit by the lovely smell of the bakery food when you walk into Supervalu, simply because you cannot go in there, it is no longer open. The saddest part about it is that as well as shop shelves and employees, laughter and life has also gone from the street and I no longer enjoy walking down it on a busy day when I am running errands.

Many a time had my own laughter and that of my friends filled the street as we met for catch ups and hugged before walking into what was then known as Chapmans. We still meet up, but standing outside waiting for your friends to arrive is no longer a case of saying hello to a huge amount of passers by and hiding behind your shopping bag as the boy you like walks past. It is lonesome and a harsh reality, the silence is anything but calming and peaceful.

Over Christmas time I walked through the area with my friend late one evening and the lights were the only festive thing about it. Market Place was not celebrating Christmas as usual, it’s loyal shoppers had come and gone leaving the street to celebrate the festivities alone. To be honest, it’s hard to know where to go in town anymore, what’s there today could quite easily be gone tomorrow. I now usually only run into a few shops. Are people constantly being pulled to the outskirts and bargain shops to do their shopping? Perhaps the contents of whole streets are now being pushed into single shops which results in the closure of so many businesses. I’m not too sure. 

How do we lift the dark cloud that has fallen over many parts of Clonmel? The street is full of colour and clearly craving the revival of life again, so we can only hope that revival happens soon so in the future my own kids can have memories of the street like I do. I bought my favourite coat there, I’ve drank many cups of tea there, I bought my gorgeous dolls house there, half of my jewellery collection and make-up bag contents come from there, I bought my school books there, I’ve bought endless amounts of cinema munchies there and I will continue to support the businesses that are still there. Market Place isn’t dead, simply waiting once again for the kiss of life. Even if businesses don’t open here again, something as simple as a market or craft fair would bring life and love back to the area instead of leaving the space isolated and full of distant memories. It’s surprising how much transforming some music and a bake sale can do. I do hope Clonmel will eventually bring back the large amounts of people, bring back the interest and bring back the good times. It is not just Market Place that is suffering, it is an entire town and a lovely community.

Never lose hope. You never know what tomorrow may bring.
* The opinions expressed in this post are my own. I am not sure who currently owns Market Place or what the future plans are for it. I am also not sure of the reasons why each business has closed. I am just expressing my own thoughts as a girl who loves shopping and is sad that we seem to have lost a great street.

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