M1 Service Area (Dungannon) services
This page is about a particular brand of restaurant, rather than motorway restaurants in general - the whole website is dedicated to that!
Until 2015, Northern Ireland didn't have any official motorway services. What it had instead were a couple of odd places - and the service area at Dungannon is testament to that.
Firstly, it doesn't have official signs directing people to it, but the new A4 does have several non-standard signs pointing to a place called "Motorway Restaurant". Other sources claim that the place is called M1 Services, M1 Service Area or M1 Service Station. Any of those could be correct title, but it doesn't change the fact that the nearest motorway is almost two miles away!
M1 Service Area
100 Woodlough Road
- Grid reference: NV902199
Trivia and History
A pair of BP petrol stations on the original, single carriageway A4 were built in 1980. Gushing media reports at the time called it "Northern Ireland's first motorway service station" - with nobody pointing out that it wasn't near a motorway. The larger westbound side had its own self-service restaurant, nknown as the Motorway Restaurant. The development cost £100,000.
The larger westbound side tended to be busier, and was given a Subway store.
Frozen In Time
The Motorway Restaurant was re-built in 2008, and could continue to boast that it was one of Northern Ireland's only restaurants near a motorway.
Also that year, work started on upgrading the A4 to a dual carriageway. This required the eastbound petrol station to be closed and eventually demolished, although its footprint can still be seen.
As part of this project, the westbound petrol station lost its direct access to the A4, and would instead be accessed via a new roundabout. To take advantage of this, a new petrol station with a large sales shop (two-storey with space for several retailers) was built close to the roundabout. However, for reasons unknown, this project was never completed, and the new facility stands empty while the original petrol station quietly continues behind it.
With a possible replacement looming, work on maintaining the old petrol station appeared to have ceased. Its rough surface and old branding stuck out like a sore, unloved thumb. The old Subway counter in the back of this shop (more like a warehouse) had a sign which says "This Subway store
IsWAS proudly owned by..."
In 2019, work recommenced on the abandoned site. It will be open 24 hours and branded Texaco, with another Subway, a Centra store and space for other retailers to open up. The Motorway Restaurant confirmed on 18 August 2019 that they would close and move into the new site, on the upper level. The new site opened on 22 August 2019, with the restaurant opening a week later (as confirmed on Facebook).The old BP is history.
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