Updated: 12/12/16 : 05:45:23
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Sligo streets, paths are some 'push' at Christmas

By Eugene McGloin

SIXTY YEARS have passed since I first made the trips ''into'' town to see Santa. 

Sligo has changed in all sorts of ways since -- horse and carts are no longer seen daily working our streets nor is our Town Crier anymore.

Corkrans Mall is now called Kennedy Parade while across the road the place named Rockwood Parade is nowhere near Rockwood.

We have changed the flows of traffic and more anon about the state of the streets; doubtful that some surfaces are much better than in the Sixties.

Circle Game

There wasn't all that much to 'see' in an Ireland still tottering on one leg a full forty years after Independence.

The childrens' must-see in the Sligo of the early Sixties was Santa cycling in the window of Woods in Castle Street.

Then yesterday Joni Mitchell's great lesson of ''The Circle Game'' corralled those six decades and reversed our roles:-

''.....We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.....''

My mum wanted to make the trip ''into'' town to see what Christmas 2016 was like, so nothing for it yesterday but the wheelchair.

The season is titled 'Christmas' but the modern world complexities can mean that its name is the simplest thing, maybe the only thing which is still the same.

So, we steered clear of Sligo Rovers big advert placed at the top of our main street for its ''Xmas Shop.''

I'd spotted it earlier in the morning and also another drab sign near Drumcliffe announcing ''Xmas Trees.''

Those two and the crib being sited under the stairway in Johnston Court -- without a single spotlight -- are three 'thumbs down' for Christmas 2016.

In contrast the Christmas lights around town looked great -- bright and modern, notably in Teeling Street and O'Connell Street and inside Johnson Court itself.

My mum and I both liked the lights on those trees which grow along the Garavogue between the Stephen Street car park and the promenade honouring the late Norbert Ferguson.

Bad Example

Pushing a wheelchair around Sligo yesterday left me underwhelmed, though, about the 'great' place someone or other always seems to rabbit on about.

Several of the streets, paths and pavements in Sligo are not fit for purpose.

Title winner for the worst of these -- in all three categories -- is O'Connell Street. 

Yes, there were recent major Irish Water works and excavations but the street and problems with its paths were there long before that.

Special Things

 The bad example is set elsewhere in town -- pisspoor paths at the bus stop in Abbey Street, for example. Do councillors ever walk these streets.

I've mentioned recently residential areas where public footpaths are never swept of grass or weeds and represent a serious risk to limb on winter nights. 

One of the special things about Sligo yesterday was the number of passerby who directly offered to help us.

Holding open doors and kindly offering to help the user out from their wheelchair. 

Such tasteful simplicity contrasts with other stuff in town which is mediocre. 

Still sore from the pushing through some Sligo streets, surfaces, pavements, brought the words of another Canadian writer to mind.

Remember Leonard Cohen's towering little gem: ''I ache in the places where I used to play!''