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Charity shop’s fashion upcycling initiative



Fashion is constantly moving forward, with new trends arriving on the scene quicker than we can scrape the money together to invest in them.

But when all the high street stores are selling the same trend at different prices, it can be difficult to stand out – especially if you don’t want to break the bank. That’s where a number of Galway’s local charity shops come in. While trends will come and go in a flash, it’s in the charity shops that you’ll find the kind of fashion that will never die.

“Charity shops have one-off and unusual items, some brand new items, also some vintage if you’re lucky. It’s interesting to see what will come in next,” says Grace Light, Manager of the Cope Galway charity shop located on St Augustine Street.

“You can find quality fabrics such as silk, linen, leather, merino wool and cashmere and designer gear. These things are a fraction of the price you would pay for them new.”

But Cope Galway’s charity shop is sporting more than silk and cashmere at the moment. A recent collaboration with Missy Bonkers clothing designs has seen a number of unique and interesting dresses appear in the shop window.

Missy Bonkers, run by Tina O’Rourke and Alan Fitzpatrick, focuses exclusively on upcycling and redesigning secondhand clothing, creating an awareness of slow fashion that is both individual and unique.

‘The Shirt Project’ is Tina’s most recent design project, which embraces sustainable fashion and innovative pattern design to create unique, one-of-a-kind dresses exclusive to Cope Galway.

“Shirts are one of the main items that are unable to be resold in charity shops after donation, due to general wear and tear. Taking this into consideration, I thought what better way to reuse them than to take them back to their source material and design an entirely new garment?” says Tina.

“Partnering with the Cope shop in Galway allowed the idea to develop into the Shirt Project. Grace, the shop manager, supplied all of the unwanted shirts for the project and will host an exhibition of dresses in the Cope shop window alongside a sewing/up-cycling demo day this Saturday.”

The shop will also host a subtraction pattern shirt dress workshop on Thursday, May 21 from 7.30pm to 9pm. More information can be found at the shop or by calling 091 569715. The unique dresses are currently on display and for sale in the shop.

Not every charity shop has something as unique as the Shirt Project to help them stand out, but many of them have their own way of ensuring their message is heard.

“Over the past few weeks, we had a large number of clothing and accessory donations which were of exceptional quality and great designer labels – all in great, new condition or brand new with tags,” explains Carolyn Herbert, Supervisor with the Galway Simon Community charity shop on Sea Road.

Thanks to these generous donations, the Galway Simon Community was able to completely restock its Sea Road store, giving it a fresh new look for the launch of its ‘Style on a Shoestring’ extravaganza which saw labels such as Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY and Karen Millen on offer for a small price, as well as a number of beautiful vintage items.

“Anyone making a purchase in one of our shops is helping a good cause, as all our profits are ploughed back into the provision of local services,” says Carolyn. The Galway Simon Community currently provides accommodation for over 100 single men and women that, for one reason or another, became homeless.

“At some point over the next few months, we are looking to do some work with upcycling and would be interested to hear from customers who have upcycled any items of clothing or furniture that they have purchased from other outlets,” she adds, proving that the upcycling of clothing is becoming a trend in its own right.

The Galway Simon shops are always in need of good quality items, which can be sold in either the Sea Road or Briarhill shops: “Only with this support can we hope to realise our vision of bringing about a society where everyone has a home appropriate to their needs.”

For more information about the Galway Simon Community, visit

A charity shop generally isn’t the first place you’ll think of when you need to get kitted out for a wedding or special occasion. But Galway’s newest charity shop proves that it’s very easy to find something to suit every occasion if you look in the right places.

“We have just launched a Special Occasion Wear Department which stocks new and pre-loved debs dresses, smart and stylish evening wear, bridesmaid dresses, formal wear for wedding guests, flower girl dresses and beautiful, romantic wedding dresses,” says Gaye Moore, Fundraising Co-ordinator of Gorta – Self Help Africa, a charity which opened a shop on William Street West in November.

Despite being the new kid on the scene, the Gorta shop is really standing out, catering for different sizes and styles.

“A bride can outfit her entire wedding party, including bridesmaids, flower girl dresses and mother of the bride for a very reasonable price,” Gaye explains.

Gorta also provides “a unique service with a large designer dressing room, friendly staff and a colour co-ordinated range of clothes”. And as there is usually only one of each item, each co-ordinated look is unique to the customer.

“The shops provide excellent quality, nearly new, and some new clothes, shoes and accessories, and a wide variety of books at hugely discounted prices. An entire co-ordinated casual outfit including shoes can be purchased for less than €20,” says Gaye.

“The shop provides very good value for those on a limited budget who still wish to look well and dress their family. The shop also provides designer labels at knock-down prices for the fashion-loving bargain hunter.”

For more information on Gorta – Self Help Africa, visit or

Many people see charity shops as a place to put unwanted clothing when you’re making space in your wardrobe for the latest trends and fashion fads.

But thanks to the hard work of staff members, only the best will make it to the shelves, ensuring that you’ll find high-quality clothing to suit even the smallest of budgets, while also helping a deserving charity.

And with so many interesting charity shops to choose from in Galway, there’s bound to be something to suit all tastes.


Concerns over reopening of Middle Arch on Tuesday



A Galway City Councillor has given a cautious welcome but has also raised concerns over the reopening of the ‘Middle Arch’ beside the Claddagh Basin next Tuesday.

Access was closed to the public last May following requests from the Gardai due to large crowds that had gathered in the days previously amid fears of it becoming a serious health and safety risk.

The concerns were raised by Cllr. Niall McNelis who said that a cautious welcome should be given but that the possibility of closing it in evenings needs to be seriously looked at.

He said “The decision to close it was earlier in year was due to it had become an area where large groups had gathered drinking and had led to calls by locals that it had become a serious health and safety risk. The area also does not have safety barriers and this has led to persons falling into the water in the past.

“Recently there has been a large number of calls made that the area should be reopened and that public space be made available to the public.”

Cllr. McNelis also said that a cautious welcome should be given but that the possibility of closing it in evenings needs to be seriously looked at.

“We can not have the same scenes repeated as we did earlier this year and in previous years. House gardens and Claddagh church grounds were used as toilets and large amounts of litter mainly drink, was left behind. I have met a number of residents this weekend who are not happy with decision and calls have been made by them to have it closed in evenings by City Council and Gardai should assist in clearing area if needs be.

“We do not have enough Garda personnel to have proper policing in our city, we need more resources for the city to tackle and enforce anti social behaviour.

“I have met this week with Gardai and have been given assurances that this will be closely monitored and occasions such as exam results nights, freshers week and good weather will be monitored,” he said.

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Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
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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Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault



Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
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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