A City without McDonald's – are we richer for it?
That's a great question… back in 2015 McDonald’s confirmed commitment to open an Armagh restaurant after scoping out sites in the city. Seven years on…the void remains – fast food perhaps, but slow on following through on that commitment.
At the time, a McDonald’s spokesperson told Armagh I that it intends to “do business” in the city and that McDonald’s has been “looking at several potential opportunities in the area”. That was the last we heard of that!
This is long in the waiting and subject of ongoing debate, with some arguing that its presence in Armagh city centre would have a negative impact, particularly on our independent eateries. While convenience and affordability are certainly advantages to having the fast food giant in Armagh – those two pluses come with their own caveats.
The positives of a McDonald’s – maybe we could have our own bespoke menu featuring deep-fried Bramley Apple pies, Big Mall Burger, and of course, let’s not forget about the McFlurry alternative…the McFolly.
After all, with Armagh being the only city in Northern Ireland to not have a McDonald’s (you thought we were going to say train station) we can’t help but imagine what it would be like if it opened in the market area of the city for example… “McShambles” has a ring to it!
Ultimately, would the golden arches (no, not the Tassagh Viaduct) detract from the unique character of our beloved ancient city? On the other hand - food chains can provide convenient and affordable options for people who may not have the time or resources to visit our à la carte eateries.
Ultimately, whether or not food chains should be present in town centres depends on the specific context and what the community values most. It's important to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of such a proposition. However, for those who value supporting local businesses and eating healthily - independent eateries may be the better option. We’d love to know your thoughts.
The third episode of our First Responders series will be released later today (Friday), this week we met up with K9 Search and Rescue, a group of Search and Rescue canines and handlers as a resource to the UK Coastguard, Police, and the community in the event of an emergency and to advocate public safety. Here’s a clip from our video which will be released later
One has to wonder if the introduction of the self-touted ‘ world’s largest tea producer’ to the humble streets of Armagh city in 1898 also set the cat amongst the independent pigeons?
According to Armagh County Museum, Lipton’s grocery shop in Upper English Street opened with a grand ceremony on July 12, 1898 and was a part of the city’s retail landscape for over seventy years before closing after bomb damage in the early 1970s.
The grocers was located opposite the Ulster Bank and the building is currently occupied by a café and clothes shop.
The global tea supplier’s store was nestled in between several independent businesses. A careful examination of the photo above reveals that the first floor premises was then being used as a ladies hairdressing salon the proprietor being M. Elliott and a barely visible sign in the gateway on the right appears to advertise Margaret Gribben’s hairdressers nearby. The name plate on the door to the left reads, “Miss Weir… Teacher of Music”.
In the days before Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s and Asda (other supermarkets are available) the streets of Armagh were laden with small, independent grocers. How must it have felt when Lipton’s encroached on their territory?
125 years on, Armagh still boasts several large independently owned grocery stores - a testament to the city’s buy-local loyalty.
Congratulations to Paul Hewitt - you are the lucky winner of a pair of cinema tickets with Omniplex cinemas. Contact our office of 02837 443 043 to arrange collection.
There’s still time to enter this one! The PM Big Band are excited to be back in the Marketplace Theatre, Armagh on Saturday, May 13, 2023, kicking off their 20th Anniversary celebratory Swing into Summer Tour. We have teamed up to give away a pair of tickets to the concert. Click here to enter!