This week in the Drogheda Leader we wondered how the town would ever recover from the loss of XtraVision and Golden Discs.
The recent closure of music and film stalwarts Golden Discs and Xtravision has left a gaping chasm in what some would call the cultural wasteland of our town. With a sizeable population who still consume their music and film on things called ‘CDs’ and ‘DVDs’ this news has been painful. But things move on, like when miles changed to kilometres and Man Fridays to Fusion. As a town we have experienced seismic cultural and consumer shifts in the past and always bounced back.
The closure of McDonnell’s Video Library on Oulster Lane saw larger protests than any recent anti-water charges gatherings. Some movie buffs even chained themselves to the foreign films section. But chaining yourself to things never works. People just think you’re mad in the head.
When Monaghans closed its doors for the final time many thought West Street would never be the same again. Where would we get all our Monaghan related produce? But the Monaghan brethren in our midst adapted and used the postal system to get their weekly doses of boxtee and Republicanism.
If there was consternation at the closure on Monaghans, wild celebration greeted the winding down of The Royal Kepak on Shop Street. Meath’s flagship store in Louth, the Kepak received more daily threats than a Guard stopping a teenager in a tracksuit. They may only have sold GAA jerseys and oats but they did a roaring trade from Drogheda’s soon to be Louth-based Meath population. Some say the closure of the store was the town’s finest hour.
Stockwell Street never truly recovered from the loss of The Wise Owl bookshop. In fairness to the shop it tried to move with the times. A drop in literacy rates during the Celtic Tiger saw the ‘wise’ being removed from the shop front and it closed soon after.
Then there is the shabby Abbey Shopping Centre. When did it close? Did it close? Nobody knows for sure. And Narrow West Street, once the coolest street in the town with its clumping of army surplus shops. A few doors down, grown women and tickle merchants wept when Fine Feathers ceased trading. At the end of that street was Callans, providing the town with its fix of Callans long before the ubiquitous councillor seeped into our collective consciousness.
The Reptilian Menagerie on Laurence Street was so popular that it got a golden star in the Alley of Fame between West Street and Dyer Street. Despite its high footfall, nobody ever seemed to leave with a bag. And then one day it was gone. McSmuts Newsagents beside the Franciscan specialised in top shelf magazines and for some unexplained reason, eggs. However, it closed down around the same time as the Franciscan church. Both sad losses to the town, mirrored today by the closure of superpub Darby O ‘Gills and the bookies next door. History repeats itself.
The Hard Rock Café opened to much fanfare in 1994 in the Boyne Shopping Centre. Arnie, Sly and Bruce Willis all turned out for the opening but it wasn’t a success after locals realised they wouldn’t be actually living and working in the town.
We’ve bounced back before. We’ll bounce back again. Je suis Golden Discs. Je suis XtraVision.
* Golden Discs became CD World they say but
it’ll always be was Golden Discs to us.