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The changing face of Killarney’s New Street

The three buildings that were demolished on New Street

AN older generation in Killarney will remember when lower New Street looked like this before the giant Dunnes Stores supermarket was built in the early 1990s.

The visual image of the street was changed radically when three long-standing properties were demolished to make way for the 5,770sq m development with an additional floor pace of 324sq m later added.

The properties were located just beyond the Bank of Ireland where, in recent years, a landmark small stone wall, at both sides of the entrance, was knocked and replaced by a vehicle barrier as part of a redevelopment of the branch.

The Dunnes Stores building as it stands today

Dunnes Stores obtained planning permission for the new superstore in late 1992 with provision for 193 car parking spaces at the rear of the building.

Construction work on the Dunnes Stores complex on New Street in 1992

But the plans hit a hitch in December of that year when a proposal from the county planning office, suggesting that all service vehicles would approach the store from the western side of New Street, sparked an angry reaction in the town hall.

Concern was expressed at a meeting of the then Killarney Town Council with fears expressed that the traffic proposals would put the safety of schoolchildren at risk.

The project eventually proceeded after the plans were altered to provide all vehicular access from New Street as opposed to New Road with a one-way system that is still in place today.