The Diamond, Clones – Post Office and Community Centre
The main square of Clones, The Diamond, used to be a bustling, social heart of the busy, commercial border town with regular markets and animal fairs. The partition of the Island of Ireland (1922), the closure of the Ulster Canal watersystem (1931) and the closure of the railway passanger traffic to Clones (1957) all played a significant role in the economic and social decline of Clones. Several businesses including banks, petrol stations, doctor’s offices, solicitor’s offices, a hotel, butcher’s, hairdresser’s, draper’s previously located on The Diamond have closed.
Two recent changes in The Diamond: the relocation of the Post Office and the Library, have further narrowed the opportunity for people to engage and communicate to one another. In 2011, postal services were moved from the 1904 purpose-built Post Office to a small section in the corner of the nearby supermarket (SuperValu, Fermanagh Street).
My proposal intends to bring the square to life again, through means of place-making. The primary users are the community of Clones. Placing the Post Office back on The Diamond, and extended by a café, creates a place for social gatherings and meetings. A community centre right by the Town Council further offers opportunity for people to have a say in the life of the town: this promotes communication and a sense of coming together. The two separate buildings aim to enhance the social life of the town centre, while creating a space for social interactions.