Perched on top of a hill, Dungannon has been a garrison town… forever. The markets grew around the castles and survived for centuries. It's a market town now in name only.
It was the one constant during the 70s and 80s as the town was quite literally blown to pieces.
At one time it had one the liveliest livestock markets in the country, all that remains is a small flower market on Thursdays. The town quite literally grew around the various markets, one in The Square, another in Lower Scotch Street and a third in Ann Street and the Donaghmore Road. Pubs, barber shops, hardware shops, bookmakers, cafes, bakeries all grew around the Markets. It was the one constant during the 70s and 80s as the town was quite literally blown to pieces.
Each entrance to the town, 6 in all had huge concrete barricades placed across them and latterly large security gates spanned the width of the road. As each car entered Thomas Street, it was searched for explosives and no car within the town could be left unattended, that way the security forces could identify which cars possibly contained bombs. Reading this back it sounds like another life but there it is… that was life. My Da would leave me in the car while he dandered around the town doing his messages. Bored and trapped you'd look around, all the other cars had small children in them, hanging out windows, sitting behind the steering wheel with hazard lights blinking and horns blowing, like one huge mobile creche. In reality we were all some form of human shield. There was always a buzz about the place though, as every day was some sort of market day, people came and went, faces changed as the countryside came into town.
In the 90s the local Council, in another master stroke, moved all the livestock markets 4 miles outside the town to Granville. I'm not entirely sure why this was, probably because it stank a bit or too many tractors were double parked clogging up the town traffic. Either way since then Dungannon has slowly withered away. This may be a coincidence but I think they removed the very reason the town existed. I visited Granville for the first time. It's a cold and isolated big shed of a place but filled with those type of faces you don't see anymore. Men who could stick their arm up a pigs back side, pull out a litter of pigs and then sit down to a full fry.
See more Granville market pics over on the Flickr acocunt.