It’s hard to resist a trip down memory lane; to reminisce on days gone by and reflect on the people and places that made Irvine what it is today.

Thankfully a lot of the businesses, cafes and restaurants that we loved when we were younger are still going strong, as are a few of the pubs and clubs which provided us with a chance to let our hair down and dance the night away with friends.

But, from the places that are no longer here, what ones do we miss the most?

Last month, we asked our readers to list their favourite old-school hotspots that still give them that pang of nostalgia when they think about them today.

So without further a-do, here are the most fondly remembered.

The Magnum

Irvine Times: The Magnum in 2016.The Magnum in 2016.

We couldn't take a walk down memory lane without making a pit-stop at the famous Magnum Leisure Centre. Officially opened in 1976, and once the largest leisure centre in Europe, the Magnum meant a lot to the people of Irvine.

Irvine Times: The opening day of the Magnum pool in 1976.The opening day of the Magnum pool in 1976.

It was home not only to swimming pools, an ice rink and a cinema and theatre but also played host to unforgettable nights of entertainment, such as live performances from Thin Lizzy and The Smiths. Gillian Caldwell commented, 'Not a shop or pub but I really miss the Magnum' with Louise Bennie responding, 'Wholeheartedly agree with this as well! The Magnum is sorely missed, by all those who knew it and by those who didn't have a chance to'.

Irvine Times: The view from the Magnum bridge in 1985. Photo credit: Elaine LatonaThe view from the Magnum bridge in 1985. Photo credit: Elaine Latona

Look-back at more memories of the Magnum here.


Irvine Times: Photo credit: Glenn KerrPhoto credit: Glenn Kerr

It may seem an unlikely choice for some, but residents including Zoe Brennan and Cathy Brennan were quick to mention Woolworths as one of the stores they wish would make a comeback in the town. Originally situated on the high street, the store then popped up in the mall, although in both instances many made reference to the infamous pick'n'mix stall and the excitement of purchasing their favourite CD from the store.  

Irvine Times: Photo credit: Glenn KerrPhoto credit: Glenn Kerr

Woolies in Irvine mall shut its doors in 2009.

Ruby Tuesday's

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Ruby Tuesday's was also a big-hitter. Located in Bridgegate, the pub was a hotspot for party people back in the day. Since shutting, it has been widely considered an eyesore and a fire hazard. The Times has reported on the condition of the derelict pub many times over the years, most recently in April 2020 when more attempts were made to force entrance into the building. David Livingstone looked back fondly, however, writing 'spent a year working in Ruby Tuesdays, what a fun year that was....'

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Situated at the entrance to the Rivergate Shopping Centre, Amanda's was also one for the late-night revellers among us. Readers reminisced on the stairwell which took you down to a public bar area and then on to another lower level which boasted full-length mirrored walls and neon lights. Ross Keenan reflected on his days on the dancefloor at Amanda's and other clubs in the area, writing 'Ruby’s, Amanda’s (Club30); Zu; Aquarium; the old Tesco in mall where I worked; Clubhouse (when I was awesome many years ago)', while Linda Short and Scot Stephen concurred, commenting 'Argyle/amandas'.


Irvine Times: Photo credit: Glenn Kerr. Irvine mall in 1975, when Arnotts first opened, compared to 2015.Photo credit: Glenn Kerr. Irvine mall in 1975, when Arnotts first opened, compared to 2015.

The first store to open in Rivergate Shopping centre was Arnotts - and it seems to have made a lasting impression on residents who gave it a shout-out as one of their most missed spots in the town.

Opened by Sir Hugh Fraser on October 9, 1975 the store is now no longer trading but many people, including Christine Malcolmson, remembered it well. She wrote, 'Lockharts, Virgo, Arnotts, Malcolm Campbell, Rowes.' Is Arnotts an old favourite of yours, too?