NEWS

New owner of iconic building in Ballyshannon keen to see clock back working

Michael Daly

Reporter:

Michael Daly

Email:

michael.daly@donegaldemocrat.com

New owner of iconic town clock building in Ballyshannon keen to see clock back working

The south face of the clock remains without a clock face following wind damage five years ago

As efforts continue in Ballyshannon and environs to raise funds to restore the iconic town clock to working order, the new owner of the building says he is very keen to see the clock returned to its former glory.
Local businessman Eamonn McNulty told the Democrat that he has purchased the building from former owner, Reggie Gallogley.

The damaged face of the town clock following wind damage five years ago

Mr McNulty said he was very keen to see the clock back in working order again. “Of course, like anyone from the town that's my wish, to have it back to its former glory.”
Locally there has been a very successful campaign to raise funds to have the clock restored and a major drive over the Christmas period was very successful.
That campaign was aiming to raise €20,000 to make the clock repair possible, and it's understood up to €12,000 of that figure has been raised.
Another fundraising event, a concert, to be held in Dorrian's Imperial Hotel on February 21, will no doubt add to that total figure and give the drive to get the clock ticking further momentum.
A sense of the good will towards the project comes from the fact that among others, Eurovision Song Contest winner, Charlie McGettigan, is lending his support to that concert.  Charlie,  Bel Canto, Ballyshannon Brass and Reed Band and other acts will perform on the night.
Commenting on the local efforts by the Ballyshannon Regeneration Group to raise this money, Mr McNulty said he hoped to “work with” the Regeneration Group.
However, Mr McNulty did point out that his immediate priority was to “tighten up” the building and make it weatherproof.

The clock has had quite a time of it

The Ballyshannon Town Clock has been a landmark for generations of local people. The distinctive and picturesque building holds a fascinating history. Sitting on a Scottish baronial building built in 1878 for the Belfast Bank is the two-storey clock and bell tower.

The north face of the clock remains intact

The bank was built due to an agreement between the Belfast bank and the planning authorities. In return for being allowed to build a bank, the bank would provide a clock for the town.
The area around the clock is around the clock is the most historic in the town. The site of the town clock is near to where the "Speaker" Connolly was born and where his family had a tavern From the clock tower you can see Market Yard where the O’Donnell chieftains had their castle.
This is also where farmers’ markets were held. Across the street was the old military barracks built in 1700 and which stands today as the oldest building in town. The town clock also overlooks the bridge crossing the river Erne.
When the Royal Bank amalgamated with the Provincial Bank and became the Allied Irish Bank next door the operations in the building came to an end a around 1966. The Gallogley family who had been in business in the town for generations carried on their clock and jewellery business in the building until recently and most recently the building has been bought by another local businessman, Eamonn McNulty.