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Burst of colour: local householders with the green-fingered touch




Mary Bennett and her dog Max, in her garden at Dr Mannix Road, winner of the Salthill area of the Tidy Towns.

The English poet, Alfred Austin, put it succinctly when he said: ‘Show me your garden, and I shall tell you what you are.’

The Galway Tidy Towns and Garden Competition 2015 recognises just that – those people who are dedicated to creating the best out of their little green patch.

Winners of the ‘Best Lawns’ category, Sean and Margaret Langan, of Castlelawn Heights, are no exception.

They say the secret to their success is feeding the lawn well, and giving it extra special attention, of course.

“Sean gets down with a screwdriver and takes out the weeds,” says Margaret.

“This year, the weather was so bad that Sean was going to dig it up, but I said: ‘No, just rake out the moss and re-seed it’. It came on great, even better than previous years.”

The bad weather did not derail overall winner, Patrick Mullins from Rockhill Avenue either – he won the ‘Front Garden Competition’ – and says that a variety of colour is the key to his success.

“I never put all the one colour in,” he says.

“I have begonias, geraniums, bedding plants…”

Retired from London, he spends up to an hour in his garden every day – less of a chore, and more of a hobby – but maybe spent a lot more time this year fixing what the wind and rain had damaged.

It is also a hobby for Carolyn Corless in Highfield, who won recognition in the ‘Window Boxes/Floral Display’ category.       When asked how much time she spends in the garden, she says she doesn’t count the hours because she loves it so much.

“I potter around the garden in my worst attire, and I’m a ‘divil’ for trying bulbs and seeds,” she says.

“I mix and match, I like bright colours, pinks and whites.”

Winner of the ‘Best First Time Entrant’ category, Aideen Hurley, Ballyloughane Road, has been gardening all her life, but started to dedicate more hours to it in the last few years.

“I’ve had more time to do it in the evenings,” she says.

“It’s quite colourful, I try to have something in flower all the year round.”

Aideen Ward in Knocknacarra, who won the ‘Best Eco Garden’ award, says that her small front patch of green is “friendly for nature.”

“I use the natural way of gardening, with no pesticides, and also not to have it too perfect,” she says.

“I encourage wildlife with birdfeeders, and one thing will follow the other – no pesticides will encourage wildlife. It’s messy, with lots of natural plants to encourage bees.”

Meanwhile, in the ‘Best Residential Area’ categories, the winners were: Oaklands (20-50 houses), Monivea Park (50-200 houses), and Castlelawn Heights/Ros Na Shí (200 houses+).

Barnacles Hostel was awarded ‘Best Registered Guest House’ while other winners included GMIT, The Ardilaun Hotel, St Mary’s Priory, Western Motors, The Huntsman Inn, Coral Haven Nursing Home, and Hartmann & Sons Ltd.

The ‘Best School Garden’ category was won by SN Bhríde, with Scoil Rois winning the ‘Best Floral Display’. The ‘Best Community Group Project’ prize went to Circle of Life Garden of Commemoration & Thanksgiving in Salthill.

“Galway City Council would like to commend all entrants for their efforts in enhancing their local area,” a spokesperson said.

“The Council acknowledges the amount of work carried out on a voluntary basis throughout Galway City to maintain and enhance the appearance of residential areas and estates.

“Continued support and interest in this local competition, which aims to encourage and promote householders and businesses to take a greater pride and interest in their own gardens, is vital for the further development and enhancement of the appearance of Galway City.

“Galway City Council would like to thank all those that supported the 2015 competition and would encourage more households and businesses to get involved in the Tidy Towns campaign in Galway City.”




Council to consider new pedestrian ‘plaza’ for Galway City

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors will be asked next month to consider a sweeping overhaul of traffic flow in the city centre as the local authority seeks to create a more pedestrian-friendly core in the wake of Covid-19.

Currently under proposal in City Hall are major alterations to traffic flow which will allow for restricted car access to Middle Street – creating additional outdoor seating space for businesses in the area struggling to cope amid social distancing requirements.

Senior Engineer at City Hall, Uinsinn Finn, said they are currently considering three different proposals to alter traffic flow on Merchants Road, Augustine Street and Flood Street to reduce the need for car access to Middle Street, while still maintaining access for residents.

“We already pedestrianised Cross Street and we will be maintaining that, and there will be a proposal for Middle Street and Augustine Street.

“Businesses in the area are very much in favour of pedestrianisation – one business has objections but the others are supportive. Another consideration is that there are residents there with parking spaces and we are trying to encourage people to live in the city centre,” said Mr Finn.

The Latin Quarter business group submitted proposals for the temporary pedestrianisation of Middle Street and Abbeygate Street Lower but Mr Finn said the proposals the Council were considering were more in the line of creating adequate space for pedestrians while still allowing residents vehicular access.

This would involve creating a circuit for car traffic moving through Merchants Road around onto Augustine Street and exiting at Flood Street.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Residents want laneway closed following pipe bomb scare

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in part of Knocknacarra are calling for the closure of a laneway and for more Community Gardaí to be put on the beat following the discovery of a ‘viable’ pipe-bomb type device in the area last weekend.

Up to 13 homes in the Cimín Mór and Manor Court estates had to be evacuated on Friday evening last when the incendiary device was discovered by Gardaí concealed in an unlit laneway, leading to the emergency services being notified.

An Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit was called to the scene and removed the device – according to local residents and councillors, the Gardaí have confirmed that the device was viable.

Gardaí have declined to comment on the detail of the case but have confirmed that the matter is being ‘actively and vigorously investigated’.

Chairman of the Cimín Mór Residents’ Association, Pat McCarthy, told the Galway City Tribune that the discovery of the viable device on the narrow laneway that links their estate to Manor Court was extremely frightening for all concerned.

“For the best part of the past 20 years, we have been seeking action to be taken on this laneway which has been used for dumping and unsociable behaviour on a repeated basis.

“But what happened last Friday evening was really the last straw for us. This could have resulted in serious injury to innocent people and what is also of concern to us is how close this was to the two schools in the area,” said Mr McCarthy.

He said that over the coming days, the residents’ association would be petitioning all residents in the three estates concerned – the other two being Manor Court and Garraí Dhónaill – for action to be taken on the laneway.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Galway designer’s necklace is fit for a princess!

Denise McNamara



Kate Middleton wearing the necklace designed by Aisling O'Brien

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A Galway jewellery designer is the latest to experience the ‘Kate effect’ after fans tracked down the woman who created a necklace for the Duchess of Cambridge which she has worn several times since it was gifted to her during her trip to the city last March.

Aisling O’Brien’s website crashed on Wednesday night when orders poured in for the piece from around the world. The necklace costs €109 with initials, while the earrings retail for €49.

“I’d never sold more than two things outside of Ireland before. I only had three of Kate’s necklaces in stock – and now I have orders for at least 50. I’ll have to start recruiting some elves,” laughs Aisling, who only set up her website during lockdown.

The 14-carat gold necklace and earrings set was designed by Aisling specially for Kate after examining her style – “understated, elegant, simplicity” is how the Tuam native describes it.

She was contacted about the commission by physiotherapist Thérèse Tully, who wanted to give the future queen a gift as she was using her room to change at Árus Bóthar na Trá beside Pearse Stadium when the royal couple were meeting with GAA teams.

(Photo: Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wearing the necklace)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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