Thursday, 12 April 2012

Clifden - 200th Birthday Celebrations

Clifden is celebrating an important birthday this year and there's lots going on!
200 years ago, a landlord named John D'Arcy founded the town on his private estate. The town plan was triangular in shape, consisting of two wide streets which converge at Market Square and are connected by a narrower street at the lower side. When I look at old photographs of the town, it is astonishing to discover how little it has changed over the generations.
A website has been set up to mark the occasion and highlight some of the events that have been scheduled for 2012. It's well worth a look, particularly if you are planning a visit to the area.
This photograph below shows Market Square as it was in the 19th century. Anyone who is familiar with the town will recognise Foyle's hotel in the centre right of the frame and and E.J. Kings pub on the far right. The town is virtually unchanged as it is captured here ( apart from the very recent developments in Market Square ). I find it hard to reconcile the images of the people who have been frozen in time, long since gone.

Image from the Clifden 2012 website gallery and courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

The second photo below is of Main Street in the 20th century - perhaps you can guess the year by looking at the cars. Once again, this street and many of its buildings are instantly recognisable.

Image from the Cifden 2012 website and courtesy of the National Gallery of Ireland

This final image is Clifden as you might find it to day. We are looking down at Market Square - Main Street is on the left of the frame and Market Street on the right. It was taken during last years St. Patricks day parade. It is an image bursting with colour, celebration and community and to my mind, shows Clifden at its very best. Note the brightly colored buildings - this is very characteristic of the town - each year the ladders come out and shop fronts are given a fresh coat of paint for the tourist season ahead.

Image from the Clifden 2012 website and courtesy of Terence O'Toole

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