Town centre’s ‘beating heart’ has changed

PROBABLY nobody knows the changes Enniskillen town centre has undergone in the past 50 years better than Frankie Roofe.
At 72, many in Enniskillen will know Frankie’s welcoming face as the first thing they saw as they entered the townhall or when they walked or drove past the grand oak doors with the polished brass handles.
For 32 years he stood on the steps at the entrance to the civic centre on one side of the Diamond in Enniskillen and from that vantage point he became the person best positioned to comment on how Enniskillen town centre has changed.
Enniskillen town centre, Frankie said, “is still the same shape today as it was when it was built in the 1600s. The “beating heart” of the town has changed, he laments.
He describes how from the latter 1950s and early 60s onwards shopkeepers and solicitors vacated their premises, renting them out to young couples who didn’t yet have a large family or to members of staff as part of their wages.
Of course, around the same time there was also the mass exodus of true Enniskilleners – those who were born between the bridges – from the likes of Abbey or Strand Street and the Dardinelles to Cornagrade first and later the Kilmacormick and Hillview estates.

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