Posted by: John McGerr | September 9, 2009

A sense of place7


Over the years there have been any number of changes to our town, the large amount of new houses and thee ‘by-pass’ being the two most obvious. But one street in town has changed dramatically in the past few years. That street is Pound Street and the major chnage would have to be the knocking down of the Auburn Hall, for many of us growing up a focal point, if it wasn’t the pool hall it was the main hall itself. Over the years it was a a backdrop to various commitees who would meet, you could play badminton or table tennis, take part in Scor or pantomimes, go to discos or if you wanted, play Bingo. If you were one of those people who bent or even broke the rules, you might appear before a judge at a Circuit Court held in the Hall. None of it sophisticated but a pattern in the tapestry of our lives. Once upon a time it was a cinema. Before it was built there were four dwelling houses on the site. The Hall was built in 1944 and officialy opened in 1946 with a dress dance with the Carlton band on a snowy night. Bartley and Minny Hunt celebrated their engagement on that occasion. Due to the war it was impossible to purchase a maple floor. A second hand pine floor was purchased from a hospital. But the Auburn wasn’t the only entertainment centre on Pound Street. On the same side, further up the street was a small hall. This hall was called the “Hut”. In the past dances were held and travelling shows performed there. After World War 1 it was used as an entertainment centre for soldiers returned from the war. It served as a supper room when the Hunt Ball was held in the Auburn. It has now been knocked. Besdie it was another small building that was, in it’s last years, a butcher’s shop but prior to this ICA meetings and court sitting were held there. In place of the Auburn we now have a combination of shops with apartments for rent upstairs. Not all the shops have tenants yet but there is a drycleaners, a discount shop and a small cafe/pizzaria.

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Responses

  1. I have fond memories of the Auburn Hall. I remember as a child when we were on holiday from Scotland (in the mid 60’s) going with my cousins Smiler and Mickey Nolan to see a film there once. The projector broke down during the film and everyone started stamping their feet and booing. Years later I went in when the Court was on. I’m sure there were people being fined that day for being caught drinking in pubs on Good Friday which was illegal at the time. There was a man pleading to the Judge to have his driving licence returned to him as he had now stopped drinking and had a job where he needed to drive. He was given back his licence. I saw him later in Dockery’s celebrating, with a pint of Smithwicks and a ‘half one’. When Bingo started to become popular in Ireland ,my late father (who had never played Bingo in his life), went along and won about ten punts. By the time he got home to my uncle Mickey’s, everyone already knew he had won. Thirty years later my wife Teresa (who had also never played Bingo) went along one night with my dear cousin Michael’s wife Nellie Nolan and won around 30 euros. I was in Dockery’s at the time, and during the Bingo ‘break’, a man, who I think was called Mick Gilchrist (maybe a brother of Joe) told me that my wife had won. My lovely wife Teresa never met my Dad, but I felt that they made a connection by winning at Bingo in the Auburn Hall. I can’t remember the Hut but I know the butcher’s shop (Garvey’s?) and the place where they made the Headstones (Coffey’s). Further up the hill was a shop called Burns’. My father told me he ‘bought’ a tailor made suit from this shop and paid a deposit. The balance is still outstanding.

  2. I have never been to Edgeworthstown but it looks like so many other little towns/villages in Ireland…even Tramore where I come from…pleasant, serene,having character & personality that everyone who visits it will remember for ever. It wraps you up in its arms, so you feel so secure.


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