Monday 23 October 2017

Forgotten Greenore fighting for survival

Brian Larkin
Brian Larkin

Margaret Roddy

'IN Greenore, we have a unique example of a purpose-built railway village, but we are fighting for our survival,' says Brian Larkin.

The village, with its distinctive stone houses, dates back to 1873 when it was built to house the workers of the Great Northern Railway Line.

In it's heyday, it had its own school, library, police barracks, hotel and co-op. The village had gaslight and the 63 houses all had running water and flush toilets, making it ahead of its time.

It was a bustling place as thousands of people made their way there to catch the ferry, taking them to Holyhead on the first leg of a journey to bring them to new lives in England, the United States or Australia.

'People came here from throughout north Louth but also from the Mournes,' explains Brian, and those links across Carlingford Lough remain strong today.

The beautiful GNR Hotel, sadly demolished, was built to cater for those rail travellers and flourished for many years, providing a source of employment for the women whose menfolk worked on the railway or ferries.

The closure of the railway was a major blow to the village but the development of the port, which was the first to welcome container ships in Ireland, ensured that it remained a transport hub.

'The community in Greenore has always worked along with business and industry, but we lost a number of vital businesses with the closure of factories over the years,' says Brian.

Now, the Greenore Greencastle Community Association Ltd is working to set up an enterprise centre which, it is hoped, would help generate much-needed employment for the village and surrounding areas.

'We've got a greenfield site donated by Hanlon Transport and plans, and now we need the funding so that the enteprise centre can go ahead,' says Brian.

'It would provide low-cost workspace and we would hope that it would enable people who have an idea to develop it, creating employment.'

'The community needs to get together and we need more joined-up thinking from the people, because when you're so far from the large urban areas, no one is going to wave a magic wand to solve Greenore's problems unless we work for it ourselves,' he argues.

There are few young families in the village, whose population is around 120, reckons Brian.

The village is ideally placed to benefit from the large number of tourists which visit nearby Carlingford, and Brian would like to see more being done to encourage them in that direction.

However, the closure of the Broadway Bar and Hanley's shop some years ago was a major blow to the village.

The Argus