Today (Wednesday) staff members at The Anglo-Celt will turn the key in the iconic red door for the last time as they leave Station House, Drumnavanagh, to take up residence in the newspaper’s brand spanking new offices in the Kilmore Business Park on the Dublin Road.
The Victorian era building has been the epicentre of local news in Cavan for almost 18 years and now and, as the paper responds to the technological advancements that have changed the industry, the offices relocate to a brand new facility on the Dublin Road.
From the ghosts that walk the platform, to the stained glass windows of the front office, the Celt leaves behind many memories in a building that came into being almost a century and a half ago. The Station House that The Anglo-Celt leaves is just a little younger than the title itself.
In a town of beautiful and historic buildings, Station House is a monument to craftsmanship and permanence. It became the hub for The Anglo-Celt on Friday May 27, 2000, when the then Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, performed the official opening.
The former railway station, built 1862, is described as “an austere Italianate style”. Its life as the Cavan Railway Station concluded in 1960, yet the solidity and security of the structure is breathtaking: The detailing of the limestone stonework display the high quality of design.
The Anglo-Celt may be departing Station House but it will continue to adapt to a changing environment and the importance of high-speed digital connectivity is one of the reasons behind the move to the Dublin Road offices.
The editor of The Anglo-Celt, Linda O’Reilly, says the staff are looking forward to a new chapter in the history of the newspaper: “As we will be adjacent to the new Cavan Digital Hub in the ‘tower’ premises, we will have access to the best broadband in the county, which is important for a muti-media business such as the Celt with an increasing presence online and on social media; not to mention a more diverse media offering to include video.”
Linda continues the tradition of strong female oversight at the Celt that stretches back to the early days of the paper. Even before Kate O’Hanlon’s tenure as the editor in 1885, Charlotte Bournes, the sister-in-law of the second editor, Zacariah Wallace, had a period as the driving force behind the Celt before establishing a rival paper in the Cavan Observer, following a legal grab by her sister’s father-in-law.
The Celt has come a long way since Sir John Young of Bailieborough established it to campaign to repel the corn laws, and it will continue to adapt to the changing times. This is only the second move for the paper since 1846.
The newspaper moved from Church Street premises shortly after a devastating fire struck in 1999. The elder statesman of The Anglo-Celt newsroom is Sean McMahon. Sean says this is just the latest evolution in the life of the paper: “We moved here from Church Street in 2000. The Celt was there since its foundation. We [the journalists] were upstairs when we first moved in but changes in printing saw us move to the lower floor. The Celt printed the paper for over 100 years.
“It was a massive move from where we were. We had the first web offset printers [a method of printing where a continuous roll of paper is fed through the printing press]. The move here was brilliant at the time. Computerisation was becoming increasingly more important and this gave us a state-of-the-art working environment,” Sean said.
A lot has changed since Margaret McKiernan first started working in the Celt. As the longest serving member of staff, Margaret has seen a number of changes take place: From driving up to the Station Road printing facility with the typed out copy that had been written in Church Street to working with the mobile phone, digital photography and email that has revolutionised the industry.
“I will be sad to leave here. There are many happy memories attached to Station House. I am looking forward to our new home, it will be a change, but I am sure that it will be good,” Margaret said.
Linda O’Reilly says that the new location will bring the paper closer to its readers: “We have always been at the heart of the community in County Cavan and will continue to provide top quality news and sport from a brand new premises in the county town.”
Business as usual
Yvonne Jackson, advertising sales manager, said that it will be business as usual for the Celt in Cavan: “We may have moved, but we will continue to provide the best service to readers and advertisers alike to whom we are grateful for their continued support of our newspaper.”
The new location has a lot to recommend itself, both to staff and visitors. Situated on the main Cavan to Dublin Road, there will be dedicated customer parking at the property.
This area is experiencing a regeneration at present. The new Cavan Institute will be developed across the road at Dún Uí Néill barracks; Lakeland Dairies have moved their new HQ to the Liberty site and the county’s new Digital Hub will be up and running adjacent to the Celt’s offices in the coming months.
Even with all those benefits, tomorrow friends and colleagues will bid an emotional adieu to what has been the home to the Celt for almost 18 years. As the clock on the apex of the Station House roof indicates; time marches on. And, like the trains that pulled into Cavan rail station, it only moves forward.