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Connacht Tribune

Building a better future

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Frank Monahan. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Lifestyle – Everyone loves looking behind other people’s hall door – but not as many really consider what role architecture can play in improving our environment and community. Architecture at the Edge looks at the big and small picture – and BERNIE NÍ FHLATHARTA spoke to its organiser to find out more.

Architecture is about more than bricks and mortar – it’s about designing spaces for us to live better lives as individuals and as a community. It’s also about connections and future proofing – but more importantly in the current climate crisis, it is an opportunity to adapt, reuse and re-imagine existing buildings.

And while many of us only ever think about the space we call home, the buildings in our community are probably just as important, as they reflect the way we live. Yet most of us never stop to think that we may have a say in how our villages, towns and cities are planned and designed.

For anyone who has any interest in the role all this plays in our daily lives, a visit to the Architecture at the Edge Festival in Galway next month is a must. And even for those who never stopped to think about this up to now, it is an opportunity to engage in a process that may indeed change their lives.

The two day festival on October 12 and 13, will include talks and discussions on ways that disused buildings could be adapted into cultural or community hubs that would inspire as well as meeting an ever growing demand for such spaces.

Frank Monahan, a Galway-based architect and director of the festival, is passionate about creating spaces which can be used for the public good whether they are creative hubs, food markets, art galleries or performance areas.

He was the man behind Ghost Chapel in the Claddagh for the Arts Festival in 2018, he has worked as a set-designer in London and he is about to start a lecturing post in GMIT.

Frank believes the theme of this year’s third annual event, ‘Adaptive Reuse’ is topical and one that will engage the wider community because of the current debate about the need for a multi-purpose arts space for the city and arts centres further afield in the county.

He points out that Inis Óirr is the only location in the county with a dedicated arts centre and that it’s time to ‘make it happen’ simply by people taking an interest and engaging with local authorities.

“This year we are focussing on looking at how old vacant buildings have been re-purposed and how some more could be put to use. We saw this year how the International Galway Arts Festival turned a former telephone exchange building in the centre of the city into a fantastic gallery.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.


Connacht Tribune

Two arrested in Galway over spate of burglaries

Enda Cunningham



Two men in County Galway have been arrested as part of a Garda investigation into a series of burglaries in businesses in Limerick and Tipperary.

As part of the operation, three houses were searched yesterday (Saturday) morning in Co Galway and two men in their 20s were arrested. They were brought to Henry Street and Roxboro Road Garda stations in Limerick, where they were detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007.

During the search operation, two vehicles were also seized for technical examination.

The eight burglaries were carried out in the Limerick and Tipperary area in the early hours of last Wednesday morning.

As part of these investigations, an operation was put in place by detective Gardaí from Henry Street Garda station with the assistance of the Armed Support Unit in the Western Region and Gardaí from Tipperary, Limerick and Galway.

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Connacht Tribune

Branar reaching for skies at former airport

Judy Murphy



Marc Mac Lochlainn, the director of Branar Téatar do Pháistí.

Lifestyle – The disused terminal at Galway Airport is being transformed for Sruth na Teanga, an immersive journey through centuries of Irish language and culture. Created by theatre company Branar, it was commissioned by Galway 2020 and will use puppetry, music, video and live performance to give audiences a fresh insight into the oldest vernacular language in Western Europe. Its creator and director, Marc Mac Lochlainn talks to JUDY MURPHY.

Entering the terminal of Galway Airport is like visiting the place that time forgot.

The desks for Avis and Budget Travel are still in place, exactly as they were when the facility closed nine years ago. So too are signs saying ‘Departures’ and ‘Garda and Customs only’, while the yellow pay-machines for the empty car-park stand abandoned by the main door and wind howls through the deserted building.

At the reception desk, a dog-eared copy of Dan Brown’s novel, Deception, is a lonesome reminder of the days when people thronged through this airport, carrying reading material for their flights.

“It’s a bit like the Mary Celeste,” says Marc Mac Lochlainn, the director of Branar Téatar do Pháistí with a mischievous grin. He’s referring to the American shipwreck that was found abandoned off the Azores in 1872, with everything perfectly intact but its crew missing.

At the height of Storm Brendan, with the rain lashing and wind howling, the space does feel eerie, but from March 2-29, thanks to Branar, it will become home to magical forests, streams and islands for one of the main events of Galway 2020 – European Capital of Culture.

Branar’s new show, Sruth na Teanga, was commissioned by 2020 as one of its flagship productions.  Now the theatre company has just over a month to transform the abandoned terminal building into a space for an immersive journey capturing the evolution of Western Europe’s oldest written, and still spoken, language. That language is Irish – a subject which caused so many people so much angst at school.

Marc is aware of this difficult legacy, but points out that Irish language and its culture far predates what has happened to it in the 20th Century at the hands of the Irish education system.

And that’s what Sruth na Teanga – based on the metaphor of a river – is all about. With puppetry, music, video mapping and live performance, it’s for children and adults and Marc hopes it will give people a fresh appreciation for Irish and its ongoing role in shaping us as a nation, through our place-names, our stories, our songs and the way we view the world.

Transforming the deserted airport terminal for this production will be no small feat but then Branar have never been short of ambition, as anyone who has seen their magical productions, such as How to Catch a Star and Woolly’s Quest, will be aware.

Sruth na Teanga has been evolving since 2015 when Galway first sought the European Capital of Culture designation and invited people such as Marc to dream big.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Corofin stand 60 minutes away from club football crowning glory

John McIntyre



Corofin's Colin Brady is tackled by Paul Kerrigan of Nemo Rangers in the All-Ireland club semi-final. The reigning champions face Kilcoo of Down in Sunday's showdown at Croke Park.

IT’S a date with destiny like none other in the history of club Gaelic football. A team from Galway trying to go where no parish team has gone before.

Protecting a remarkable 35-match unbeaten run, Corofin stand on the threshold of becoming the first team to win three All-Ireland club senior titles on the trot.

It would represent a phenomenal achievement and the crowning glory for the Galway champions who have been such a compelling force over the past decade.

Standing in their way are All-Ireland final debutants, Kilcoo from Down, and while Corofin are red-hot favourite, the biggest occasion on the club GAA calendar has been littered with upsets down through the years.

It’s not in the nature of Kevin O’Brien’s charges to take anything for granted, however, and if they bring their A-game to Croke Park for the third year running, Corofin will have secured a cherished place in the record books on Sunday night.

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