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Artist Ger captures a year in the life of Prom



Geraldine Folan leaving her studio to go painting on the Salthill Promenade. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Lifestyle –  Bernie Ní Fhlatharta talks to Geraldine Folan about her mammoth achievement of chronicling a year in Salthill on canvas

Anyone who walked Salthill Prom over the past year may have noticed a woman working on a canvas perched on an easel. Anyone who bothered to ask was told what she was doing. There is no doubt that some regular walkers who saw her on and off in the past year might have thought she was taking her time!

Geraldine Folan was actually capturing A Year on the Prom on canvas and the fruits of that work can be seen in her new exhibition of the same name when it opens on September 15 at the Connacht Tribune Printworks.

After a lifetime of painting, rearing a family and giving private art classes, the project proved hugely enjoyable for Geraldine, if a little daunting at first.

It is apt that Geraldine undertook this project – having been born and reared in Salthill (a Kelleher from Rockbarton Road). “I was wheeled up and down the Prom in a pram by my mum and auntie.

“I thought I knew the Prom but not as much as I do now,” she laughs adding that she hopes her paintings will bring more awareness of it to others.

“It’s not just walking along the Prom itself, it’s what you see all around you, from out on the ocean to the buildings to the wildflowers to the rocks.”

She started in August of last year and decided to capture the Prom in all sorts of weather and light during the course of the year. She also committed to blogging about it – so if she failed, it would be a spectacularly public failure.

But there was little chance of a failure as long as Geraldine could put one foot in front of the other. The mother of six and a grandmother to two toddlers, is fiesty, hardy and determined.

She is also passionate about Galway, especially her native Salthill and wanted to share it. She has done this spectacularly in thirty canvasses, three of them a large triptych.

The hardest part of the project was “battling the weather” and though she wanted to capture Salthill Prom in all sorts of weather, the wind was her biggest obstacle.

She laughs now remembering trying to put up an easel and having to tie the canvas to her wrist. She makes a sketch first and then roughly outlines her scene in acrylics using a palette knife as they dry quickly. Sometimes she had to use a water sprayer. She also took photographs, lots of them.

“The buildings and rocks never change so I could always put them in later but I needed to capture the mood there and then on canvas, like the sky or the sea,” she explains earnestly.

Geraldine finished all her works in her studio at her home in Barna in oils.

At the time of our interview, she was still putting the finishing touches to a few canvasses in her studio before they headed off to the framers.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.



Drinks set to flow again in two landmark Galway premises



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two popular Galway pubs that had been closed are to be given a new lease of life by an extended family.

The refurbishment of the former Central Bar in Woodquay has been almost completed and new owner Michael Gilmore will open the doors this weekend – just in time for the busy Christmas season.

The pub, in recent years known as The Lough Inn, had closed during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Mr Gilmore is a well-known publican in the city, running the Cellar Bar on Eglinton Street and Seven on Bridge Street. He also has a pub in the heart of Westport called An File.

Earlier this year his two nephews, Mark and Vinny Gilmore, bought Kelehan’s in Bushypark. They are overseeing a major overhaul on the large premises after many years behind closed doors.

Due to setbacks with building supplies, a planned opening by Christmas has now been pushed back until the spring.

This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune.  You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Warning to parents after Galway homes raided in child sexual abuse material investigation



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A senior Garda, who heads up Galway’s Protective Services unit, has advised parents to ‘tune into’ the daily dangers lurking on the internet in relation to child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

Detective Inspector Peter Conlon – who confirmed that four search warrants had been issued to search residences in the city over recent weeks for CSAM – urged all parents and guardians closely monitor their children’s access to the internet.

He told the Galway City Tribune it was critical that parents did not allow their children ‘unfettered access’ to the internet given the prevalence of sexual predators – often from other jurisdictions – who were trawling the net to make contact with children.

“Children may believe that they are making contact with other children but instead it may be adults seeking to establish a relationship with them and to get pictures of them.

This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

“I would ask all parents to seriously and carefully consider the age at which they should give mobile phones to their children – any such decision needs to be age appropriate and where this happens it needs to be monitored closely by the parents,” said Det Insp Conlon.

He also said that parents and guardians should acquaint themselves, where practical, with the latest technologies which make it possible for them to be linked into their children’s phone or devices to monitor content and contacts at all times.

The searches in the city over the past two weeks resulted in the seizure of laptops and other electronic devices from three residences – they are currently being examined in detail by Garda technical experts at their regional HQ in Renmore. Det Insp Conlon said that while there had been no arrests in the city following the latest searches, the course of their investigations would be determined by the content and material found in the devices seized.

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Just 85 affordable homes to be built in Galway City by 2025



From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  A total of just 85 affordable homes will be built in Galway City during the remainder of the Government’s lifetime, it was revealed during a debate in the Seanad this week.

An animated Senator Ollie Crowe (FF) told Seanad Éireann that there would be “riots on the streets of Galway” at the disappointing news that was imparted to him by a junior minister.

In the Dáil, Junior Housing Minister, Malcolm Noonan, confirmed that it was planned to provide 85 affordable homes as part of a Merlin Woods development between now and 2025.

He understood that there were sites identified for affordable housing schemes in other parts of the city, but no applications had been received for funding.

“Housing delivery in Galway City Council is a matter for Galway City Council and it is down to the local authority to strike the balance in respect of social and affordable housing delivery.

“If the Senator feels that the local authority is not delivering enough in that regard, it is really a matter for them to drive a more ambitious agenda. The Department will not be found wanting in funding schemes,” Minister Noonan added.

But Senator Crowe yesterday told the Galway City Tribune that it was an incredibly disappointing and unacceptable answer that there would only be 85 new builds when it came to affordable homes.

(Image: Minister Malcolm Noonan said the new Merlin Woods development will include 85 affordable homes).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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