Some comparison pictures of Athlone from a couple of years ago, and then today. In terms of the older building stock in Irish towns, things are never better when you go back to a place after a few years. Thereâ€™s always been demolition, deterioration, PVC-ing and bad new buildings.
Mackenâ€™s on Dublingate Street (on the Westmeath side of the town) has deteriorated and also has a demolition application pinned to it. This is a pattern: The few remaining â€˜untouchedâ€™ traditional buildings in our towns or villages often have demolition notices pinned to them.
Across the road from Mackenâ€™s, a couple of gentle old buildings have had the nasty PVC and render-stripping makeover, complete with SUV passing by!
Over on the other (Roscommon) side of the town, things are even worse: Seanâ€™s Bar â€“ which claims to be the oldest pub in Ireland â€“ has had historic sash windows replaced with PVC. Well theyâ€™re really doing all they can to maintain their sense of antiquity!
Nearby, a curious old building with a four-sided roof has been replaced by â€¦….â€¦â€¦ I donâ€™t know what really.