A few days ago, I was looking at Wexford town on Google Maps Street View when I noticed that a sizable number of shops and businesses have closed down since the images were taken.
The Google Street View car first visited the town in 2009, which was more than a decade ago.
It’s interesting to see how quickly the town changed in such a short period of time, as the recession took hold and many popular businesses were forced to either relocate or call it quits.
Crossroads was situated at the top of Hill Street, beside Gaynor’s Pub. In August of 2013, its owner, Erdie Murphy, was forced to close the store after a continuous decline in business, which he blamed on the introduction of a nearby traffic management system.
According to Erdie, the introduction of nearby traffic lights made it difficult for passersby to stop their cars and visit the shop.
The store had been in business for over 44 years.
Legal – Head Shop
Legal opened during a period when head shops were growing in popularity around the country. Many of the “legal highs” that these businesses were selling became illegal under the Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act of 2010.
When the new law passed, the majority of head shops in Ireland were forced to close.
BPM was the go-to place to buy CDs in Wexford town. It was popular due to the size of its collection, which was larger and considerably more varied than that of its competitors. The shop had headphones that allowed you to listen to some of the latest albums that were on sale. Staff members would also let you listen to a CD while you decided whether to purchase it or not.
Unfortunately, the dawn of the digital age led to the closure of many music stores like BPM, as they were unable to compete with free Internet downloads and music streaming services.
These days, the unit is home to a second-hand book store called Reader’s Paradise.
This First Active branch in The Bull Ring was closed after the bank merged with Ulster Bank in 2009. It was later replaced by a clothing retailer called Fat Face, which is still there today.
The Colony, Music Factory, and Metropolis Nightclub
Clayton Whites Hotel has had three nightclubs on its premises since it reopened in 2006. The first was The Colony Nightclub, which was extremely popular for the first few months. Its launch was so successful that many people saw it as a genuine challenger to The Centenary Stores, which is considered by many to be the most popular spot in Wexford town.
The Colony went downhill after it picked up a bad reputation for violence and drugs. Following its closure, it was eventually replaced by a new nightclub called The Music Factory.
The Music Factory ultimately failed to shake off the reputation of its predecessor, and it too struggled to compete with The Stores. Despite a glamorous launch night and celebrity appearances from Abi Titmuss and Kevin Doyle, it failed to keep its head above water as Ireland’s recession deepened and crowds began to dwindle.
When the Music Factory shut down, it was replaced by Metropolis Nightclub.
That lasted until April 2015, when it also closed.
This image was taken back when VILA was situated across from Extra Vision on North Main Street. Since then, the clothing shop has moved further up the town, opposite The Book Centre. The unit is currently home to a hair salon called “Alan Keville for Hair”.
This was Permanent TSB’s premises in The Bull Ring. Since this image was taken, the bank has moved opposite the Art Centre. I still remember how awkward the ATM was at this location, as it always had a sun glare on the screen.
The Cornmarket Centre was a mall that connected North Main Street with Mallon Street.
For years, O’Neill’s newsagents was located next to Burger Mac on Wexford’s North Main Street. During my late teens and early twenties, I’d often stop by this shop to purchase cigarettes or a cold drink. Unfortunately, it seems that the owners of O’Neills fell into difficulties during the financial crisis of 2008 and were forced to sell the premises. Nowadays, the building houses a Eurosaver shop.
Shooters was an extremely popular bar back in 2005 and 2006. When I was 18, I remember how we’d all go there for a few drinks before heading off to one of the nearby nightclubs. On a Friday, my friends and I would often stay there, relax, and play a few rounds of darts.
There used to be a newsagent opposite the train station in Redmond Square. There, you’d buy your train ticket or your bus ticket, as well as cold drinks and ice cream for when you were hanging around with your friends in the grass across the street. This shop also had a post office, which has since moved to North Main Street, close to Shaws.
Hughes & Hughes
Hughes & Hughes was a book shop that was located beside O’Brien’s sandwich bar in Redmond Square. The shop was closed when the company that owned the chain collapsed in 2010. In the years leading up to the collapse, the company had built up debts totaling €15 million
Ned Buggy Sports – Selskar
In 1981, former Wexford hurler Ned Buggy opened up his first sports shop in Cinema Lane, which is just up the road from the Commodore Barry statue on the quay. In the early nineties, he expanded his business by setting up this shop in Selskar.
The Lava Lounge was a nightclub that was situated on Wexford’s quay front. It became another victim of the recession when it was forced to close its doors due to dwindling crowds.
After 100 years on Wexford’s Main Street, Kelly’s Bakery closed down their shop to fully concentrate on their wholesale business. Before they moved to this store opposite St. Iberius Church, Kelly’s Bakery was situated close to where Lifestyle Sports is today. Nowadays, this unit houses an old-fashioned sweet shop.
Furlongs Butchers in the Bullring was forced to close in 2014 after it suffered a “slow and agonizing death” due to the introduction of nearby double yellow lines. According to the owner, Paul Furlong, the double yellow lines turned the area into a hot spot for traffic wardens, which eventually caused “business to taper.” The family had been trading in the Bullring for 114 years.
Springsteens was an American-style steak-house restaurant that was situated on Commercial Quay.