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‘Birdman’ takes to the skies over Galway

Francis Farragher



He’s the ‘bird from the sky’ who has intrigued onlookers in the South Park area for the past couple of weeks in his powered paraglider.

The pilot is Polish native Jacek Chonanowski who has been involved in aviation since 1977 and who regularly does trips across the West of Ireland including the Burren.

“What we need is a clear day and calm conditions and we must always look at the weather forecasts,” Jacek told the Sentinel.

Galway Flying Club have confirmed that as a precautionary measure they have made contact with ‘the parachute man’ purely as a safety procedure, in the context of their own plane flights.

Jacek over Long Walk last weekend (Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy)

Jacek over Long Walk last weekend (Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy)

The power paraglider can fly up to 1,000 feet and makes regular trips from Oranmore to South Park.

According to Jacek, his paraglider is powered by a 172cc engine with a 10 litre fuel capacity – he also said that he wanted to reassure the public that he is widely experienced in all aspects of gliding and paragliding for nearly the past 40 years.

“There are times when I would glide close to the surface but that’s when I’m coming in over the sea. I would not do that in areas where there are houses,” said Jacek.

He also said that he had been in touch with the aviation authorities in Shannon as regards his aerial activity but pointed out that paragliding was not properly regulated in Ireland with some inexperienced people in the air.

Jacek also confirmed that the Galway Flying Club had been in touch with him, and he makes regular contact with them before his ‘flights’.

Our photographer Joe O’Shaughnessy caught Jacek's descent on Saturday evening last at dusk as he prepared for another successful landing in South Park.

Our photographer Joe O’Shaughnessy caught Jacek’s descent on Saturday evening last at dusk as he prepared for another successful landing in South Park.

In the Paraglide West website, they warn that ‘paragliding is a dangerous sport that contains elements of risk’.

They advise that accidents in ‘paragliding tandem flights’ are possible due to stumbling or wrong reaction during take-off or landing.

They also advise passengers to wear proper footwear with ankle protection as well as warm winterproof clothing.

Paraglide West can be contacted through their website or on 085 2838844.

In terms of regulation, the IAA (Irish Aviation Authority) are the body in charge of any issues relating to the use of powered paragliders.

Powered parachutes, often known as PPCs, are considered the cheapest way to ‘get into the air’ and are normally flown at heights of between 500 and 1,500 feet with a maximum flying time of about three hours.


Outdoor dining plans unveiled for Galway City

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A new plan to temporarily pedestrianise city streets to create more space for outdoor dining this summer was published this week.

Galway City Council has said it is planning to close six streets for four months to boost the hospitality sector and attract more custom ‘back the West’ and to Woodquay.

It has also signalled smaller changes for Salthill and around Eyre Square.

“We’re looking to support businesses and people getting back to work. This is an opportunity for us to explore outdoor dining and we’re looking to trial these public realm initiatives,” Ruairí Lehmann, the City Council’s Tourism Officer told the Galway City Tribune.

“There is an appetite for this; the indications we have from Government is it is going to be an outdoor summer and these proposals will support that,” he added.

Chairperson of Galway Branch of VFI, Johnny Duggan of Taylor’s Bar on Dominick Street, said the changes would be very positive and boost hospitality businesses in all areas.

Already, he said as many as 30 businesses have applied for licences to trade outside in the area known as the Westend.

The local authority wants to close to traffic The Small Crane and Raven Terrace 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from June 7 until September 30. Car parking spaces will be removed from Small Crane and one lane of traffic would be kept open, one-way. A decision on which side is still under review.

The Council intends to make Dominick Street Lower (Galway Arms to Monroe’s) a single-lane one-way traffic street to facilitate additional on-street dining. It’s understood this has hasn’t yet got the backing of taxi drivers who have concerns about access to and from the Bridge Street rank but alternative taxi space may be offered at another location in the Westend to assuage those fears.

The Council has signalled its intention to close Dominick Street Upper and William Street West from Small Crane to Munster Avenue, at night only, between 6pm and 11pm, from Monday June 7 until Thursday September 30.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and for full details of the proposals for the city centre and Salthill, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Council chief backs Salthill tidal pools proposal

Stephen Corrigan



Image Courtesy of Superfly Ireland

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Council is to consider including a specific objective to restore the tidal pools in Salthill in the new City Development Plan – with around one-fifth of the submissions made in a public consultation backing this ‘no-brainer’ proposal.

In a report to councillors on submissions received, Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said consideration of the proposal would be based on technical feasibility, funding, staff resources, climate change considerations and environmental factors.

“A large number of submissions were received requesting the restoration of the tidal pools in Salthill as a year-round public amenity and recreation facility accessible to all. The restoration of this facility would be a huge asset to the city and complement the existing facilities that are available at Salthill,” Mr McGrath states in the document seen by the Galway City Tribune.

Support for the reviving of the Ladies’ Beach facility grew legs after an online petition attracted over 4,500 signatures.

Up to 100 of the 518 submissions made to the Council’s pre-draft consultation supported reopening the pools that have been out of action since the late 1970s.

(Photo: How the pools might look. Image Courtesy of Superfly Ireland)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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GMIT in €9m bid for Galwegians’ Glenina grounds

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – GMIT has put in an offer – rumoured to be in the region of €9million – for the purchase of Galwegians RFC’s grounds at Glenina, the Galway City Tribune understands.

The offer will be presented for a vote at a Special General Meeting of club members set to take place on May 27.

The land at Crowley Park, located just two minutes’ walk from GMIT, had been earmarked for housing by property developer Neil Armstrong, and is zoned residential. However, this deal fell through.

A GMIT spokesperson told the Galway City Tribune they were “not yet in a position to comment”, while a spokesperson for Galwegians declined to comment.

It is understood that staff at GMIT were informed by the institution’s Vice President of Finance at a meeting this week that the ‘deal was done’ and that they awaited the rugby club’s signing off at its members’ meeting later in the month.

The sale would clear the way for the club to proceed with plans to develop a 22-acre site at Boleynasruhaun, Oranswell, where it is expected to make a second planning application after the County Council raised concerns over the scale of the development proposed initially.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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