Nostalgia: Celebrating 50 years of Douglas Village Shopping Centre

November 20, 2021

Black and white photo of the crowd gathered for the opening of Douglas Village Shopping Centre on November 17, 1971. SAT, 20 NOV, 2021

Douglas Village Shopping Centre celebrated a milestone this week marking 50 years of business in the heart of the village. The official opening of the centre, which at the time was Cork’s biggest shopping complex, took place on November 17, 1971.

On the opening day of the new shopping centre, two schoolchildren accompanied by Santa Claus and comedian Hal Roach arrived by helicopter to cut the ribbon and officially open the complex. Over 400 guests were in attendance, “including 150 who travelled on the Pat Quinn Express Train from Dublin for the occasion,” newspaper coverage from that day stated. Among the notable guests was the Lord Mayor of the day, Timothy J O’Sullivan, the chairman of Cork County Council, other city and county officials, members of the Traders’ Committee, and the directors of Shop Properties Ltd, the developers of the site.

“Patrons of Douglas Shopping Centre will almost certainly be impressed by its enticement to leisure shopping,” the article from that day stated.

“There are 25 shop units offering all kinds of wares and foodstuffs,” it continued.

The largest of these units was Quinnsworth — a chain that was later bought by Tesco.

The article from November 17, 1971 paid complement to the layout and design of the new shopping centre.

“The low structure is built around a central paved courtyard and most of the arcades are covered… Walls of medium grey-black brick focus attention on shop window displays and are conducive to a relaxed mood very much removed from the usual bustle in less well-appointed and less favourably placed shopping centres… With no parking problems and away from the frenetic bustle of the city, patrons will walk on malls reserved for pedestrians… These malls converge on a focal square where the colour and brightness created by shop windows enhance this exceptionally conceived complex.”