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An Taisce disappointed Council did not purchase former school

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An Taisce have expressed disappointment that the City Council didn’t make an effort to buy the old Piscatorial School at the Claddagh – there has been considerable speculation this week that the property has been bought by a local developer.

The listed building – dating back to the mid-1800s – is owned by the Dominican Order and last year the Council had been in discussions with them to secure a five-year lease on the property.

However, according to the Council, the Order opted earlier this year to go down the road of a straight sale on the building, with a €500,000 guide price outlined by agents DVA Donal Ó Buachalla and Power & Associates.

However, in a letter to Galway An Taisce Chair, Derrick Hambleton, the Council outlined that they were ‘currently precluded’ from raising loans in relation to the purchase of buildings and were therefore not in a position to make an offer for the property.

Mr Hambleton told the Galway City Tribune that An Taisce were ‘extremely disappointed’ the local authority hadn’t made any effort to purchase the building at a time when €7 million of public monies was being ‘poured’ into the arthouse cinema.

“It will be an incredible loss to the city if this building is lost to the commercial sector. The Piscatorial School building would be a perfect location to highlight the cultural heritage of the Claddagh and its links to the Eglinton Canal and the Claddagh Basin,” said Mr Hambleton.

He added that he was also ‘extremely disappointed’ that the Dominican Order hadn’t even bothered to acknowledge correspondence received from An Taisce seeking a meeting with them as regards the future of the building.

“I don’t really know whether the building has been sold off or not but if it has, it will be a major loss to the culture of the city and to the general community,” said Mr Hambleton.

Senior Executive Officer for Arts and Culture with the City Council, Gary McMahon, wrote to An Taisce early last month, outlining how they had in 2015 tried to secure a lease [minimum five years] of the building from the Dominicans.

“Our intention was to link the former school with our emerging plans in relation to the development of a museum/cultural quarter to form a triangle of interest from the City Museum and the Spanish Arch to the Fisheries Tower, the school and the Claddagh Basin,” Mr McMahon stated in his letter.

He said that this would have ‘allowed a wonderful opportunity’ to highlight and enhance the significant local history and heritage of the Claddagh into an overarching programme of heritage interest in the city.

The Piscatorial School [the name comes from matters relating to fishing] – located beside Claddagh Church – dates back to 1846 when the Dominicans built it for the purpose of educating local children in literacy as well as practical skills such a making fishing nets and sewing.

By the early 1900s, it was functioning as a conventional primary school while in more recent times it housed the city’s social welfare office for a number of years and was also used as a vocational training centre.

The Galway City Tribune could not get confirmation of the property being sold off to a private developer although there was considerable speculation this week that a local company – specialising in apartment conversions and constructions – had acquired the iconic building.

Connacht Tribune

Joyce’s Tribune inspiration for Finnegan’s Wake!

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James Joyce's statue in Dublin.

James Joyce copied copiously from the Connacht Tribune when it came to creating his complex novel Finnegans Wake where he intertwined events of the real world and that of his dreams.

He had relatives of his wife Nora send him over copies of the Tribune in 1924, from which he would pour over local news, sports reports, letters to the editor and even advertisements.

An art teacher in Dublin, who has spent 14 years creating illustrations inspired by Finnegans Walk, hopes to create pieces of art specifically highlighting those Galway sections of the novel.

Carole Wade is hoping people here who have anecdotes and connections with Ireland’s most famous author will relay those to her which can then be incorporated into the artwork. It will eventually be donated to the Moore Institute in the University of Galway.

Her sister Dr Frances McCormack in the university’s School of English and Creative Arts has reached out to her fellow academics to collaborate. But her sibling is urging ordinary people to take part.

“I think it’s the most amazing book ever written. Ulysses is about a specific place and time but Finnegan’s Wake is about the history of the world. If you want to know about the Crimean War, every war and every battle in Europe – they’re all mentioned, even the Maamtrasna murders are there,” she enthuses.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Little Blue Hero meets Boys in Green

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Connacht’s Tom Farrell, David Hawkshaw, Niall Murray, Tom Daly, Gavin Thornbury and Jarrad Butler chase after Charlie Quinn during his visit to the Sportsground. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht’s trio of Irish rugby internationals found themselves facing (not quite) the long arm of the law this week when Galway’s newest Garda recruit turned up to join in their training session at the Sportsground.

Charlie Quinn – Garda Number 322 – was in full uniform for the occasion, but that didn’t stop him joining in a Connacht session with captain Jack Carty and, fresh from Ireland’s triumphant Autumn Series, Mack Hansen and Bundee Aki.

The seven-year-old from Creggs is Galway’s latest Little Blue Hero, following his life-changing bone marrow transplant – thanks to a donation from dad Niall, who underwent a pioneering procedure to ensure his platelets were compatible with his young son’s.

Charlie was given a tour of the new Garda Regional Headquarters in Murrough before being ‘blue lighted’ by members of the force to Connacht Rugby to meet his heroes.

And a day later, he still hadn’t come down from the high.

“He’s gone off to school this morning, fully clad from head to toe in his Garda uniform; he’s delighted with himself,” said his mum Cathy.

Niall and Cathy revealed the rollercoaster they’ve been on since Charlie was first diagnosed with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome is a rare genetic immunodeficiency that keeps a child’s immune system from functioning properly.

But thanks to the incredible work carried out at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, he’s now finally back to full health – and flying.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

GAA couple move wedding to give clear run to club semi-final

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Shauna Healy

IN the words of Shakespeare, ‘all’s well that ends well’ . . . and that’s certainly the case for the St. Thomas’ GAA club as a clash has been avoided between their All-Ireland semi-final date with Dunloy of Antrim and the marriage of one of their star players.

Originally, their match with Cúchulainns Dunloy, had been pencilled in for Saturday, December 17 – the same day that key player Darragh Burke was due to tie the knot with Galway’s multiple camogie All-Star winner, Shauna Healy from Ardrahan.

Following St. Thomas’ replay success against Loughrea in the county final on Sunday week last, the five-in-a-row Galway champions knew that they were ‘in a pickle’ with the All-Ireland semi-final fixed for the same weekend as the wedding.

Frantic behind-the-scenes efforts were made to seek a postponement of the match but with the All-Ireland club series on a very tight deadline, there was little room for manoeuvre.

Initially, Croke Park had agreed to switch the match from Saturday week to Sunday week, December 18, but this would have made for a very low-key wedding and reception on the day before at the Meadow Court Hotel, Loughrea.

Luckily though, for Darragh Burke and Shauna Healy, the Meadow Court Hotel had an alternative date available on the following Thursday, December 22, which the couple have now settled on to tie the knot.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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