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star of the county town

9 things you'll definitely understand if you come from a middling-sized Irish town

The towns that are not too big, not too small…but just right.

WE KNOW A LOT about what it’s like to come from a small village or a huge city, but what of the middle?

Most Irish towns are neither big nor small, with one per county given the lofty title of the “county town”. It mightn’t be much bigger than the next town over, but no matter.

It may not seem like that big of a difference, but county town people (and middle-sized town people in general) know certain things and face certain challenges that those who come from a village or a city know nothing about.

The size and importance of the town is to be judged by its shops

The presence of any of the big chains is usually a good indicator of a town’s importance – a Penneys, Boots, perhaps a Shaws (“Almost Nationwide”) at a stretch, anything really. If one of these shops has an escalator – OK, wow - even better.

brayboots Flickr / infomatique Flickr / infomatique / infomatique

And if your town is blessed with an international fast food chain like McDonalds, YOU HAVE ARRIVED.

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It can also be judged by the big companies that choose to set up there

The establishment of a large factory or plant is always cause for excitement. This means that YOUR town is the best, and has the best people in it. No question.


There is always a rivalry with the closest town of a similar size

Usually over the distribution of amenities. They got a brand new tennis club or sports centre, funded by the government, and you spent months fundraising for a bockety old shelter for the GAA pitch.


But you have the better Penneys, so.

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Everyone gives out yards about the local paper, but religiously buys it each week

Nothing in it but rubbish, rubbish and bad news. But you wouldn’t want to MISS anything.

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There’s a certain pity for the inhabitants of the smaller surrounding towns

They have to come all the way over to us to do their Big Shop. And sure there’s nothing going on there at all, nothing to do (in contrast to the bustling hive of activity that is Longford).


The only place to go is the cinema

Out with friends? Cinema. On a date? Cinema. Family treat? Cinema.

But you’re lucky to even have a cinema, you know that. Not like the poor unfortunates over in Ballaghaderreen.


There is one proper nightclub which you have no choice but to attend

There’s a pub for every hour of the day, but come midnight every citizen between the ages of 18 and 25 have to cram themselves into the one small and sweaty nightclub.

Inside, no one can say or do anything with anyone without everyone else knowing.

nightclubimg Flickr / Curran Kellegher Flickr / Curran Kellegher / Curran Kellegher

The local celebrity could be anyone, even you

Anyone with the slightest bit of talent at anything. This person doesn’t even need that much charisma. If they’re very good at a sport, or music, or even just very good looking – boom. Celeb status.

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The town has one thing that all the inhabitants are fiercely proud and protective of

Maybe it’s a large summer festival that the whole county flocks to, maybe it’s a museum of local history, maybe it’s lovely statue or a particularly nice stretch of road.

strechofroad Flickr / Sean MacEntee Flickr / Sean MacEntee / Sean MacEntee

From an outsider’s point of view, it mightn’t be THAT great. Just don’t dare slag it off in front of any of the inhabitants of the town. You’ll be driven out.

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