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Anna Nolan: Arnotts takeover has me mourning Dublin in the rare ould times

RING a ring a rosy, as the lights decline ... I'm feeling very nostalgic and sentimental. This always happens to me when a Dublin institution is threatened.

I was never a big social coffee drinker, but I sobbed like a baby when Bewleys Cafe almost vanished and heaved a huge sigh of relief when the premises were saved.

I wasn't one of the four million people who saw U2 perform in The Dandelion back in the day, but I shared their pain when the famous flea market was demolished.


And I still mourn the passing of Cassidy's of Georges Street, and Winston's and Woolworths.

I can't pass Brown Thomas on Grafton Street without a pang for all the Switzers Christmas window displays of my childhood. My sisters, brother and I would put on a Switzers show for my parents, robotically hammering toys and making snowmen in stop-rewind mode as Chucky-like elves from those same windows. The recent concept Christmas windows of BTs -- a man-size stiletto dripping Christmas brandy with a tiny bottle of over-priced scent lurking in the corner -- just doesn't have the same spirit.

So, imagine my dismay when I heard about our beloved Arnotts being in trouble, a dismay not helped by the fact that one of the two banks going to take control is Anglo Irish.

Now, call me crazy, and I have never pretended to have a strong grasp of financial matters, but this does not inspire confidence in me.

I don't have much call to shop in Arnotts, truth be told. For me, it will always remain somewhere guaranteed to have the uniform of any school, however obscure, and a suitable wedding gift for any couple, however difficult to please. It always had a great cafe for a mid-morning tea and cake -- and it has wonderful toilets.

I'll always associate the name of Arnotts with the jerseys of the Dublin football team. I believe we even won in them!

But Arnotts was mentioned in Ulysses, for heaven's sake. If this were the US, the entire store would someday be laminated and carted off to the Smithsonian museum to be preserved for posterity.

Aside from the families of the 950 employees -- who we are assured will not lose their jobs -- I hope that those in control know they have a responsibility to the rest of us jackeens who hold our retail institutions very close to our hearts.


The very thought of that Victorian facaded, all-encompassing behemoth of a haberdashery being taken from us has me reaching for the tissues ... as the lights decline, I remember Dublin City ... oh, I can't go on.

Good man, Martin... aren't his folks Irish?

Isn't it wonderful how we still adopt the 'second generation fallback victory position' when we're having a lean period sports wise?

It reared its quirky head again this week during the commentary of the European Athletics Championships.

Before Derval O'Rourke's second place, our big hope was David Gillick for gold in the 400m, but he only managed fifth place.

Not to be deterred from celebrating, George Hamilton donned his half-full glasses and suggested we could cheer for Martyn Rooney who was placed third because, although running for Britain, he has Irish parents.

Ah well, if they can claim U2 when it suits them, we can have Martyn when needed.

Can Twink be pals with ex?

DID anyone else get a shock, like I did, watching television coverage of the Ruth Hickey/Sunday World court case?

No, it wasn't so much the case itself, it was the sight of Twink and her ex-husband David Agnew walking hand in hand which caused me, and no doubt the entire nation, to hold our hands to our cheeks and silently scream 'NOOOOOOO'.

Was this perhaps old footage? It didn't say so at the bottom of the screen.

Surely, this triangle can't have come full circle - can it?

In some strange was-- I like to live my life vicariously through the weirdness of others -- I hope so. We should be told.