The Square in Tallaght is celebrating 30 years since it first opened its doors three decades ago with a trip down memory lane for staff and customers alike.
The multi-storey town centre – the first of its kind in the country – was officially opened by the then Taoiseach Charles Haughey on October 23, 1990.
Since that day it has become an integral part of life in the area. No surprise then that it’s marking its big birthday by giving back to customers, staff and the community.
“An important part of our birthday celebrations has been taking the time to reflect on and appreciate our position in the community and give back,” commercial manager Fiona Power told Dublin Gazette.
“We’ve been busy recognising and rewarding hard working staff also, even more important now with all the challenges they’ve faced this year.”
The Square has invested €30,000 this year as part of its new Club Together GAA Sponsorship, providing direct support and promotional activities for academy age (4-8yr olds) programmes in five local GAA clubs.
The team at The Square has provided a range of promotional activities to highlight the fun and games on offer, encouraging families to join local participating clubs; St Anne’s, St Marks, Thomas Davis, St Kevin’s Killians and Croi Ro Noafa.
During the first lockdown in April its Be Kind campaign distributed over 500 care packs and essential items to local frontline organisations, thanks to donations from customers, stores and staff at The Square.
These were delivered to Tallaght Hospital, National Ambulance Service, VISIT (homeless organisation), South Dublin County Council Community Call network, local Gardai and Kiltipper Woods nursing home.
Set over three floors, The Square has 160 retail units including 29 food outlets and attracts 15 million visitors a year. It is also renowned for its family friendly events including free weekly Seniors Social Club with activities including Tai Chi, Arts & Crafts, Zumba, Digital Technology and Theatre workshops.
The big opening
The Square has grown and changed with the times and true to its standing today, was the height of modern society and excitement in the area when it first opened its doors in 1990.
An Taoiseach Charles Haughey cut the ribbon on its opening day in with 45,000 people in attendance while RTE legends Gay Byrne, Gerry Ryan, Joe Duffy and Larry Gogan provided the entertainment as they broadcast live from The Crow’s Nest.
The buzz was as big as the shoulder pads and hairdos, as local kids got a day off school to attend as the biggest suburb in Dublin finally got its wish, with the first large-scale shopping centre in the country.
Fiona Power said: “When The Square opened in 1990, it’s hard to describe how much it meant to the people of Tallaght…investment, jobs, accessibility, shopping, entertainment…it was hugely welcomed, and instantly became a central part of the community.”
The new centre was followed by many neighbouring developments – The Institute of Technology, South Dublin County Council HQ, The Civic Theatre, Rua Red and Tallaght Hospital.
The town centre itself has seen major development over the years, including the addition of the south mall extension, state-of-the-art family facilities, car park expansion, the arrival of the Luas and substantial internal/external enhancement projects.
The future of The Square is also bright with plans in the pipeline for a multi-million euro expansion to the northern and southern parts of the centre. This will add 230,000sqft to the centre comprising new retail units, 820 car parking spaces, large outdoor plaza/ amenity area and nine new casual dining restaurants with external seating, taking in stunning views of the Dublin mountains.
“Through all of the expansion, it is really heart-warming to see the special place The Square continues to be for all members of community. Generations have grown up with The Square, memories are made here, and it is great to see families, new and old, with us year after year,” said Fiona Power.