Midleton, Then and Now.
Published – Imokilly People – Thursday, April 12th 2007.
There have been many changes in Midleton during the past 50 years. Businesses open and then close, people come and go but all that happens on a regular basis in the town. So many new faces can be seen within a year alone. I started to look at some old documents and books from about 50 years ago and it is only when you look carefully that you will realise that although so much has changed so much has also stayed the same.
There have been many changes in Midleton during the past 50 years. Businesses open and then close, people come and go but all that happens on a regular basis in the town. So many new faces can be seen within a year alone. I started to look at some old documents and books from about 50 years ago and it is only when you look carefully that you will realise that although
so much has changed so much has also stayed the same.
On February 19 1953, St Coleman’s Technical School first opened its doors. It took over 25 years for this school to open and the town hosted a big opening celebration at the time, with Brass Bands and several representatives for the town and the minister for education present. Since then the school has moved to the Youghal road Midleton and the site on which the school was originally built is now home to St John the Baptist’s Primary school. So all in all over the last 24 years not much has changed since the initial opening of the school.
This is also the case with the Christian Brother’s school. Back in 1950’s there was over crowding in the school with a record number of students attending the school. In March of 1957 the new Christian Brother’s monastery in Avoncore place was opened to make room for the growing numbers of students in the schools situated in Rosary place.
This can be seen with a lot of the buildings in Midleton, in many cases their history is forgotten but the name still remains. This is the case with Hurley’s Super Value. On 31st of January 1964 the site on which this super market is now situated was sold by the Earl of Midleton. Originally a fever hospital this site was to become a hotel. And now several years later since the collapse of the hotel this is the site of the supermarket which moved from the middle of the main street (where the library is now situated).
The same is to be said for Keohane’s chip shop. Originally opened in 1955 this shop has become a household name when it comes to chips. It is a name recognised in most families from the area and the shop has a high reputation. Since the opening of the chip shop generations of Midletonians have sampled “Keohane’s chips” which are considered by many to have a very unique taste – a taste which has not changed since the establishment of the business. A fish shop was opened on the premises later that year. The fish shop closed a few years back but the tradition of Keohane’s chips is still going strong.
The same applies for the land which is now used for The Market Green and The Gate Cinema. Originally this was opened as a Mart in the 1950’s. This mart was bigger than those in operation in other parts of Cork including the one in Fermoy. Since the closure of the Marts about 9 years ago development plans have seen the land used for the Tesco supermarket and surrounding services.
In connection with the mart a new meat processing plant was also planned and this was built in the mid 1970’s this plant still exists today and provides many jobs for the people of Midleton. With the plant a new railway was set up to bring shareholders to meetings at the plant from Dublin and the midlands. This railway has since been closed but plans are under way to reopen the railway by the end of 2008.
One of the main issues regarding business at the time concerned the Calor gas and the oil refinery. In 1956 Calor gas had to regrettably close due to “difficulties experienced in running the company within the past few years”. This problem was rectified in the following years with a new Calor Gas plant opening at Knockgriffin in the early 1960’s.
At the same time plans were under way for an oil refinery in Whitegate. At the time the oil refinery was important to the town for economic reasons and still exists today.
These are just a few of the changes that have taken place in Midleton in the past 50 years. Though they still can be seen as changes, all in all they were really concerning the movement of buildings to different premises. While their past may be forgotten all the businesses are valued in the town today.