Thurles, Co. Tipperary – Easter Saturday 2023.

“The Town Centre First policy aims to create town centres that function as viable, vibrant and attractive locations for people to live, work and visit, while also functioning as the service, social, cultural and recreational hub for the local community”. Quote Tipperary County Council.

The poem hereunder could easily have been written, following a visit by the poetess to Thurles, Co. Tipperary over the past number of years. The now abandoned, half upgraded, Thurles town centre; known as Liberty Square, once a busy hive of industry, is no more. Tipperary County Council officials, together with out-of-town consultants, civil engineers, local town councillors and not one, but two government politicians, have successfully rid this town centre of most of its thriving businesses, together with their associated consumers.
Yes, the lights continue to burn 24 hours each day on Liberty Square, but few walked the street area, on what should have been one of the busiest days of the 2023 calendar.

Liberty Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
Pic: G. Willoughby. [Easter Saturday, 3:15pm. 2023]


Poem borrowed courtesy of the authoress Ms Julie Axford.

I don’t go down the High Street now, there’s nothing for me there.
It’s full of shops that do your nails, or cut and colour hair.
I don’t go down the High Street now and neither does my wife.
What used to be a thriving hub, is now devoid of life.
They’re building shops way out of town, there’s nowhere else to go.
The High Street, I’m afraid to say, has hit an all-time low.
The High Street used to sing and dance, at least it did to me,
But now it’s sadly out of step and painfully off-key.
But way back in the heyday when the High Street was the King,
Oh you could spend all day down there and buy just anything!
But now the King has lost his Crown, no longer does he reign.
He’s been dethroned by hyper stores and supermarket chains.
Just like a vampire in the night, they swooped down from the sky.
They forced the people out of town and sucked the High Streets dry.
We used to have so many shops for all that we might need,
For furniture, for shoes and clothes and cakes or books to read.
Butchers, bakers, fishmongers, sold fresh and wholesome stuff,
And though our families were not rich, we all ate well enough.
But now they’ve gone, it’s progress see, yes all have been replaced,
By takeaways and coffee shops with all their plastic waste!
With automatic checkout tills appearing everywhere.
No conversation, pleasantries or anecdotes to share.
I heard it said that money talks, at first I had my doubts,
And I was right, it doesn’t talk, money bloody shouts!
It’s always been the same of course, it’s human nature, see.
We have to travel with the times, that’s how it has to be.
The kids today they say I’m old and I of course agree.
They say the future is for them and not the likes of me.
My answer flutters on the breeze, a flag that’s flown half-mast.
“I wouldn’t want your future kids…I much prefer my past.”



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