Swan-song

The beautiful old Swilly Hotel on Buncrana’s shore has received its final stabbing after decades of endurance, which have left a feeble shell, where once grandeur praised the splendour of this spot. It will be flattened and replaced by architectural suicide and environmental disagreeability. Another landmark gone in a town built on the destruction of its entire past. Houses placed on thousands of years old monuments, the last trace of the Ó Dochartaighs will soon fall into dust and no single reminder left of the story of the pier, its herrings fleet, the landing of tall ships, the coal boats and all these vibrant activities, held by a port, where water was a rather difficult matter to spot. Even the oldest house in the history of Buncrana on this side of the river, The Lodge, built around 1770, is awaiting execution.
Opposing this proposal, no doubt, would rally the cries of self-serving intentions, shielded well with the much overstretched, but nevertheless immaculately functioning guard of job creation. It seems of no importance, that such claim would be remarkably short lived, as has been already proven, and does not display any continuance to contribute to the future and more stable welfare and prosperity of Buncrana.

It comes as no surprise, that Harry P. Swan’s books of Inishowen, do not find their way into re-publishing, and the few copies circulating are sold for a very high price to a better off clientele. In his time, seventy, eighty years ago, Buncrana was called the Queen of Donegal, visitor filled and reputed as the best spa for respiratory dispositions, an opportunity, which quickly left the scene with the arrival of multi-nationals, not only tearing hordes of youngsters out of their education and destroying an already existing and self-containing shirt industry, but they also managed to bring asthma to the offspring of the town, as one of the plants with all its waste was placed lovingly between the old pier and the castle, in the middle of a residential area. Empty and abandoned now, the pain inflicted still lingers, and should have served as an example of how not to proceed. But apparently, the comprehensive destruction of everything good, unique and beautiful emerges as the chosen path, reducing the dying of the swan to serve as outlandish but single meal.

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