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City abuzz as it prepares for €60m boost from Races

Dara Bradley

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Galway Bookmakers Eddie and John Mulholland arrive at Ballybrit for the start of the Galway Racing festival.

The city is abuzz for the annual Galway Races Festival, which got underway yesterday.

Around 150,000 punters are expected to make the pilgrimage to Ballybrit racecourse for famous Galway Race week.

On course bookmakers are expected to turn over in excess of €8 million while the Tote will handle well over €4 million.

The biggest and best racing festival in the country, the Galway Races will pump more than €60 million into the local economy.

Sports Minister Michael Ring yesterday singled out the Galway Races as an event that has helped to boost the country’s overseas tourist numbers.

A total of 52 races will be run over the seven days, with a record number of UK entries declared.

One of the highlights of seven-day festival is Ladies Day, when around 40,000 punters are expected at the course.

The Galway Hurdle is the feature race but all eyes will be on the fashion with the best dressed lady competition sponsored this year again by Anthony Ryan’s.

The top prize is a diamond pendant and matching earrings worth €8,500 as well as €1,000 in cash, a €1,500 shopping spree at their Shop Street store as well as a Lancôme hamper worth €500 and a hospitality package for the Galway Races in October.

The Galway Plate, which goes to post Wednesday, is traditionally another big crowd puller. The prize fund for the Galway Hurdle is €250,000 while there is a €200,000 fund for the Galway Plate.

The Willie Mullins trained favourite for the hurdle, Pique Sous, to be ridden by Paul Townend, has pulled out of the race.

The festival got off to a flyer yesterday evening. Monday’s races were again sponsored by local hotels including Radisson, Galway Bay Hotel, Claregalway Hotel, Clayton Hotel, Connacht Hotel and Pillo Hotel.

Ireland rugby players, Conor Murray, David Kilcoyne, Fergus McFadden, and Robbie Henshaw, as well as former players Alan Quinlan and Stephen Ferris, were among the sports stars at the track for ‘sports hero’ evening.

Racing gets underway at 5.05pm today, Tuesday, and Friday. The first race is off at 3pm on Wednesday, 1.50pm on Thursday, 2.35pm on Saturday and 2.15pm on Sunday.

RTÉ will be showing five races on the first four days of the festival, while At The Races, Sky channel 415, will be showing every race throughout the week. Galway Bay FM will also provide live coverage of every race.

The Tote jackpots for each day of racing will be €30,000 Monday and Tuesday, €40,000 Wednesday and Thursday, €30,000 on Friday, and €20,000 on Saturday and Sunday.

Bus Éireann will operate a regular shuttle bus service from Eyre Square and Irish Rail have added additional trains to their schedule for Wednesday and Thursday.

Punters are advised that children under 12 will be admitted free of charge when accompanied by their parent.

Galway City Council has advised that its recycling centre at Liosbán Estate will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, and will open as normal the rest of eth week. The city’s dog pound is closed until Tuesday, August 5.

 

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Party-goers in Galway hit with Covid fines

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most senior Garda has issued a renewed appeal this week for young people to desist from organising or attending any house parties as the local Covid-19 situation worsens – last week Gardaí were called to break up a number of gatherings in different parts of the city.

A total of 15 people were found to be attending one house party in the Salthill area last weekend while Gardaí were called to two other smaller gatherings – one in the Doughiska area and the other in Rahoon.

Cautions and Fixed Payment Notices (fines) were issued to a number of those involved. This week, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley has pleaded with young people ‘to stay away at all costs’ from such gatherings.

“We have very high Covid incidence rates in the Galway area over the past week; death rates from the disease are at their highest ever level; and the last thing we need now is groups of people coming together in confined settings.

“If one person has Covid at such a gathering then, in all probability, most others there will pick it up too and spread it their contacts and family members. I am pleading for people just not to do this.

“We are entering into our most critical period in trying to contain the spread of Covid-19, with the next month or so absolutely vital in our efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe and to try and avoid further loss of life,” he said.
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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CITY TRIBUNE

Community gives new lease of life to Merlin allotments

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – In 2018, the allotments in Merlin Woods were in danger of falling by the wayside, with declining numbers and underuse blighting a facility that had huge potential.

Since then, the community has pulled together to create a space that locals are proud of and one that its advocates are hoping could be a template for other communities across the city.

Chairperson of the Committee behind this new lease of life is Michael Tully, who says the allotments have become a focal point for area, bringing together locals from all walks of life.

“It’s all about netting the community together and the response we’re getting has been unbelievable,” says Michael, who joined the committee in 2018.

“I started off as a user of Merlin Woods, walking by the allotments and thinking to myself that it would be great to grow my own fruit and veg.

“I started talking to a few of the plot-holders like John Rabbitte, Martin Lohan, Jim McCormack and Daithí O’Brien and they told me how to apply. I applied to the City Council and got my allotment in early 2018 and there were about eight allotments in use at that stage, all of us working away on our own.”

Two years later, all 42 allotments are in use, but it took the cooperation of Galway City Council and Trojan work from the community to get it to this point, explains Michael.

“We came down here every Saturday to clear the paths, dig out the weeds and make the place better. The sense of community was unbelievable. Anyone who couldn’t dig was bringing down flasks of tea and cakes to those that were,” he laughs.
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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CITY TRIBUNE

National Transport Authority to progress Galway’s Park and Ride

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A dedicated unit established within the National Transport Authority will look at the potential of Park and Ride to help solve Galway City’s traffic congestion problem.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, said that Park and Ride facilities should not be restricted to the east, and sites needed to be located to the west and north-west to take account of commuters from Connemara.

Mr McGrath said Park and Ride would be advanced this year as part of the Galway Transport Strategy. He said that the Council, in conjunction with the dedicated unit within the NTA, would investigate feasible sites for the location of Park and Ride facilities.

Mr McGrath said that site selection and acquisition of land could commence in the second quarter of this year. He said he expected that Park and Ride would be progressed well before the Galway City Ring Road was built.

Director of Services for Transport, Ruth McNally, also said that the NTA was looking at the potential of sites in the city for Park and Ride and she insisted that money – or a lack of it – was not halting progress.

“Money is not a major issue for capital projects,” she said.

They were responding at Monday’s City Council meeting to councillors who lamented the slow progress on developing Park and Ride.
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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