Lidl Dunshaughlin project manager, Sean O'Sullivan, with the plaque and weighing scales, and the old stable walls rebuilt behind him.

Maybe Lidl to worry about in Dunboyne!


There was much ado in Dunboyne earlier this year following the mooting by Lidl of plans for a store on a site acquired from the Diocese of Meath, behind the church and parochial house. Much ado I say, because the German supermarket giant hadn't actually lodged a planning application, but was just testing the waters to see what way the wind blew.

The wind blew through the trees on the village green, which is not actually part of the site, but was the subject of local concern around access and protecting the greenery, all the more sacred following the loss of the famous lime tree in the centre of the village.

Now, almost a year later, Lidl is lodging the actual planning application. I haven't seen it yet, so can't comment on the proposals, but I can remark on the great job Lidl did in Dunshaughlin, where it treated the heritage of the village with great sympathy, to such an extent that it took down stone by stone and brick by brick the old Fingall Arms stables wall, and rebuilt it to one side of their car park.

Photo by Seamus Farrelly

The Fingall Arms (now housing Sherry Fitzgerald Sherry and others) was a very substantial hotel business with adjoining stables run by Stephen Kelly, a noted racehorse owner. The local hunting fraternity frequented it, and the stables housed horses that arrived by train to Drumree. British soldiers were said to have been sent over to the hotel to recuperate after receiving injuries in war, and would stay and take part in hunts. Kelly's racing colours were black and amber, adopted by the GAA club when it formed in 1844, and still the colours of the GAA club today.

Also on the Lidl site was the old Dunshaughlin Livestock Salesyard, where John Connell from Skryne ran a livestock sale every Tuesday. This continued until the 1950s, while Gillicks ran a blacksmith's forge in one corner of the salesyard.

This yard lay derelict for many years, and a planning permission for a supermarket on the site fell through in the economic crash of the late 2000s, but was later revived by Lidl when they bought it.

Photo by Seamus Farrelly

The Lidl planners and builders worked very closely with the local Tidy Towns committee and no doubt the planning department of Meath County Council, to produce the fantastic site that exists there today, with the old weighbridge from the salesyard preserved as a feature in the middle of the car park, and an information board detailing the history of the village and site over it.

Today, the development is not alone home to the supermarket, but also to a coffee shop, chemist, dentist, and a newly opened and much-needed restaurant in the fast growing village.

So Lidl has a good track record on such projects, and hopefully will have taken the Dunboyne concerns on board in their planning application.

Photo by Seamus Farrelly

Dunshaughlin is a village that has managed to mix the traditional with the contemporary very successfully, with modern developments such as Liam Keane solicitors at the Toll House, Supple House, and the new Aldi store sitting nicely along the older village streetscape. It is true that some older trees were lost in the Aldi development on their site on the old green, but they have created a nicely landscaped square and seating area beside the Bank of Ireland. All that's left now is tidying up the old derelict garage site beside Sherry Fitzgerald, an eyesore in an otherwise attractive village.

(From Meath Chronicle print edition, 19th November 2022).