Ambition is to get back to square one in Letterkenny

Mary Bradley pictured at Letterkenny’s Market Square this week.

A LEADING Letterkenny business woman is spearheading a campaign to regenerate the town’s Market Square.
Mary Bradley, who runs Pat’s on the Square, which overlooks the Market Square, started the campaign to bring the heart of the Cathedral town back to life earlier this week.
Speaking to the Donegal News yesterday, Thursday, Mrs Bradley said there had been a lot of support for the plan in a very short space of time.
“Initially it was started more tongue in cheek after I was sent a picture of the Square which mixed the old with the new.
“It got me thinking about the way things used to be.
“The new Square is gorgeous but it’s way under-utilised and really would be better situated in a nice estate somewhere on the outskirts of the town where people could go to read a book. It’s not suitable for the middle of the town,” Mrs Bradley said.
A member of the well-known Keeney family, she said that she could remember back to a time when there was a bus station on the square, a time when Ted Cox had a business premises in behind where McLaughlin’s Kiosk shop once stood.
“There used to be a market on a Friday and Saturday. There was a lot of activity before they modernised the place.
“I think it should go back to what it once was – a square plaza.
“Today, there’s more space allocated to nursery plants and trees than people.
“It’s all bushes and trees, nook and crannies and lovely stone walls but it’s not very practical and, as a result, very few people now use the Square,” Mrs Bradley said.
The proprietor of Pat’s Pizza since 1984, Mrs Bradley has witnessed a lot of comings and goings over the intervening 34-year period.
“As a child growing up the Square was the real heart of the town.
“I’m delighted to have this lovely garden outside my premises now but Letterkenny needs a heart and it’s important that a space is opened up for Farmers’ Markets, buskers, artists and the like,” she said.
Historically, Letterkenny’s Market Square was known for its hiring fair day and a number of sculptures have been erected in the area to remember the past.
“Those figures could be placed near the beautiful stone wall to the back of the square leaving the bulk of the space open for cafes, tables and chairs which could be covered because at the moment it’s sitting there like a Mausoleum.
“It’s also costing a lot of money for its upkeep,” she said.
While Mrs Bradley has a business on the Square she insists that the campaign has not been started for personal gain.
“I’m born and bred in the town and I honestly feel that we should open the Square up again.
“There’s talk of Letterkenny becoming a city over the next decade or two and wouldn’t it be nice it we had a real vibrant focus back in the middle of the town,” she said.

The lower section of Market Square, Letterkenny.

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