Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

News

Craftsman’s labour of love creates mini Cathedral

Avatar

Published

on

He worked on the actual construction of Galway Cathedral all of fifty years ago – and for its Golden Jubilee, Harry Lawton decided to do it all again….only this time in miniature and all on his own.

Now his perfectly proportioned scale model of the magnificent landmark will be on display for all to see during next week’s Solemn Novena, which runs from Monday next until Tuesday, February 23.

It squared the circle of the skilled carpenter from Fr. Griffin Road who started his apprenticeship on the Galway Cathedral build in 1958, at just sixteen years old.

John Sisk was the builder and Jack Lillis was the Site Manager or Foreman. Lillis, he remembers as “a hard man to work for”. Leniency was not his forte; he didn’t suffer fools gladly and ran a tight ship.

Harry recalls cycling to the site one morning arriving at 8:02am. The foreman overshadowed him and bellowed in his ear “Do you think this is a holiday camp?”

Later in life, he says the two became more acquainted and Jack admitted “I know I was hard on you” but maintained that it was for his own good – “you were never late for work again,” he said.

The building itself was made using local natural materials including two shades of local limestone. The high walls are in rock-faced stone, and a finely-chiselled light grey limestone accents the windows, doors, arches, columns and moulding. The coffered ceiling is in cedar and the altar, sanctuary and main passageway floors are in marble.

The arches of the cathedral are supported by great steel beams. Harry was present from the very beginning and informs that the first column and arch was erected in the nave of the Cathedral just outside the bookshop.

Four dedicated carpenters spent 18 months working on the beams and supporting arches; Harry Lawton, Tom Browne, Jimmy Comer, and Michael Garvey. They had to ensure its structural integrity.

The Cathedral took seven years to build, and for most of the time working there, they didn’t have a roof over their heads. On wet days, they were tasked with finding old bits of wood and yanking the nails from them.

The foreman would instruct them to do random odd jobs when the weather intervened, preventing productive work.

“They did this for three reasons,” explained Harry, “to prevent workers becoming lazy; to give them something to do, and to save on nails”.

The work ethic bred into Harry from a young age stayed with him for the remainder of his working days – and even into his retirement.

Harry and his wife Mai have five children; Shirley, Maria, Valerie, Harry Jr., and Brian; thirteen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Like his carpenter father Harry Sr., and son, Harry Jr. – Harry extends that he is happiest when engaged in something creative. Indeed Harry worked alongside his son Harry Jr. for twenty years.

Creating a build to scale model was a passion he harboured for a long time. “I always wanted to do it” he says.

The build took him two years to complete. Having just retired, he decided to take a nonchalant relaxed approach to work. On a typical day he would work from 11am to 3 or 4pm, allowing time for breaks and holidays.

“I did it for my own enjoyment,” he explains and describes the experience of model making as “a labour of love”. The completed model replica is done to ¼” scale.

The model is made from yellow pine – a wood with no knots that is also harder and heavier than other commercial species of pine.

The replica model is held together via glue, pins and nails, while this roof is made of perspex, allowing people to view the inside which is also replicated.

Around €2,500 worth of materials went into creating the mini cathedral. “All materials were sourced from local suppliers,” he says, mentioning local suppliers Thomas McDonagh and T Ó hUiginn.

Noel Fitzpatrick is the electrician responsible for lighting the model Cathedral.

The very able seventy-something year-old is already planning his next model – and while he won’t reveal details just yet as they wait approval, he does conceded that it will be another iconic Galway building.

The Galway Solemn Novena will run from Monday 15 February until Tuesday 23 February at Galway Cathedral. Week day Mass times are at 7:45am, 1:10pm, 3:30pm, 7:30pm, 9pm and mass will be said at 9am, 10:30am, 12:30pm, 4:30pm, 6:30pm and 8pm on Sunday.

The Candle Light meditation sessions will take place at 10pm on Wednesday 17 and Monday 22 and last about an hour.

CITY TRIBUNE

Outpatients’ concerns over reduced services at Merlin Park

Dara Bradley

Published

on

Patients who use ‘Hospital 1’ at Merlin Park face uncertainty over services after nurses were re-deployed to University Hospital Galway.

The hospital unit carries out infusion and transfusion services, as well as oncology and haematology.

Saolta University Hospital Group – which operates the public hospitals –has transferred nurses from Hospital 1 in recent weeks, so that it had sufficient staff available to reopen St Anthony’s Ward at UHG.

St Anthony’s is a 28-bed ward that had been closed all during Covid-19. It has now been re-opened, using redeployed nurses from Hospital 1, to cater for the return of essential procedures at UHG.

Saolta has argued that it is trying to maintain core services at UHG and it is re-deploying staff from elective areas in Merlin Park.

Merlin Park and UHG combined is Galway University Hospital – essentially the same workplace for industrial relations purposes – and is part of the same umbrella of hospitals in the West and North West run by Saolta.

A number of outpatients who have used Hospital 1 have told the Galway City Tribune they are concerned with the change, and the implications it might have on the services they receive.

Hospital 1 is a medical ward that offers a Monday to Friday service on the first floor of the main building on Merlin Park grounds.

They do infusions and transfusions and treat patients with MS, those who are anaemic, as well as oncology and haematology.

Those impacted by the reduced service at Hospital 1 also include people with blood disorders; people with blood cancers or leukaemia; and people with conditions such as myelodysplasia.

“Neurologists use it to observe patients who’ve had seizures. There’s a multitude of consultants who would’ve used Hospital 1 for various investigative procedures. Rather than going into hospital in UHG, occupying a bed, Hospital 1 is used for infusions, and you could be in and out in a day, or stay a couple of nights,” a source said.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called on Saolta to put in place a contingency plan.

Anne Burke, INMO, Industrial Relations Officer, Western Region, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that some of her members have been re-deployed from Merlin Park to UHG, because of a massive shortage of nurses at the Newcastle site.

“If they pulled the Hospital 1 nursing staff out of UHG today, St Anthony’s would have to close and that’s the nub of it. They simply do not have the staff to do it,” explained Ms Burke.

“The staff have redeployed. They were initially told it would be for two weeks. But clearly, that won’t be sustainable in the context of massive vacancies at the UHG site.

“There’s bound to be a very definitive impact on the service. We have members already working overtime, and part-time workers who have upped their hours. But you are only flogging a dead horse if you’re asking people to work over and above. There’s only so much overtime you can do – no matter what money is offered – in the context of the conditions on the wards,” she said.

Asked when Hospital 1 might return to ‘normal’ staffing levels, Ms Burke said: “When is it likely to revert? There’s a big question mark over it, and our position is that it’s an unanswered question in the context of the deficit of nurses at UHG site and the attempt by management to maintain core services.

“That might be of cold comfort to those who depend on transfusions in Hospital 1. But they are going to have to put in a contingency plan about all of this and how it’s going to be managed and how Joe and Mary Bloggs who is looking for an infusion or transfusion, how are they going to get that. They cannot just be left in abeyance. They have to receive some element of treatment. Whether that is done through engagement with the private hospitals again, we don’t know.”

The recent cyber attack on the HSE has hampered INMO’s ability to communicate with hospital management.

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Hundreds of new apartments in Galway will not be available to buy

Enda Cunningham

Published

on

The backer of the Crown Square scheme in Mervue is planning a massive ‘build to rent’ housing scheme as part of the development, with 345 apartments.

Padraic Rhatigan was previously granted permission for 288 apartments on the site but has now applied for a modified and higher-density development, with blocks ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

The plans include three blocks ranging from five to nine storeys in height, with garden courtyards.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, and there will be 1,200 secure bicycle parking spaces across the development.

The planning application was made directly to An Bord Pleanála under ‘Strategic Housing Development’ legislation, which allows for the Board to decide on applications residential developments of more than 100 units following initial consultations with the local authority.

According to Rhatigans, the property market has changed since it was granted permission in November 2019 for 288 apartments in three blocks ranging from five to eight storeys in height.

“The rationale behind this proposal stems from the changes to market modelling and the demand for residential accommodation which have arisen since the previously approved application.

“These amendments … are being proposed following a review of the economic viability of the overall scheme,” the applicant previously said.

According to the new application, the scheme is intended to create a “distinctive new city quarter”.

“Important pedestrian and cyclist connections are also incorporated into the design by creating links between Monivea Road and Joyces Road providing an accessible street network for walkers and cyclists. It is considered that the proposed development would bring significant socio-economic benefits to the community,” the application reads.

The apartments constitute Phase 2 of the Crown Square development. The first phase is already under construction and includes a 180-bed hotel with bar, restaurant and conference facilities and five office blocks with space for up to 3,500 workers.

Mr Rhatigan recently told An Bord Pleanála that despite uncertainty in the market with hotels at the moment due to Covid-19, there is still a plan to proceed with the hotel in Phase 1 “and broadly with the masterplan for the overall scheme”.

He explained that the substructure of the hotel was currently being put in and that Rhatigans are in discussions with a few potential operators, but are not as far along in the discussions due to the delays brought about by Covid-19, however, it is believed to be still viable.

It remains the intention to be a high-quality hotel with a good-branded operator on board, he told the Board.

Two of the buildings in Phase 1 are expected to be completed with landscaping and occupiers moving in at the end of this year.

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

City Council ‘does not outbid’ private buyers in housing market

Dara Bradley

Published

on

Charities that buy houses in Galway for homeless people are not distorting the property market, a senior official at City Hall has said.

Dermot Mahon, Acting Director of Services for Housing at Galway City Council, insisted that Approved Housing Bodies (AHB), which provide and manage rented social houses, do not outbid private buyers in the housing market.

He was responding to queries from elected members before they approved a loan of almost €1 million to facilitate three AHBs to buy four city homes.

“We don’t engage in a bidding process,” Mr Mahon said. “We take a value, and we will not exceed that value. If there are other purchasers we will not engage, and we will not exceed it [valuation].”

He said that there is a cap in all local authority areas set by Government regarding the maximum amount that can be paid to purchase houses for use as social housing rental properties.

Councillors agreed to approve loans of €930,000 for the purchase of four homes.

The agreement included €202,355 to Galway Simon for a two-bed house off the Western Distributor Road in Knocknacarra; some €189,264 to Cope Galway for a one-bed apartment on Dominick Street; and €246,528 and €292,279 respectively to Peter McVerry Trust for two-bed and four-bed houses in Doughiska.

Funding is provided by way of a grant from the Department of the Housing to the local authority who provides the funding to the relevant AHB in the form of a 30-year mortgage. Loan charges are waived provided the terms of the scheme are complied with.

“All properties have been supported by an independent valuation and represent good value for money,” said Mr Mahon.

He said that Simon and Cope were two organisations that had “excellent records” in Galway.

Mr Mahon said that Peter McVerry Trust is “in the market for more property” in Galway.

The Trust already operates the Modular Family Hub in Westside on behalf of the Council, which is a temporary facility to house people who are homeless in accommodation other than hotels and B&Bs.

Two families from the Westside Hub will be relocated to the two new properties bought in Doughiska.

In response to several questions from councillors, Mr Mahon insisted that the method of allocating housing was “transparent”.

“There is no queue skipping – it is done in consultation with us,” he said. It is based on need and length of time on the housing waiting list.

Cllr Alan Cheevers (FF) called on the Council to carry-out full surveys of houses before they are allocated to tenants.

He pointed to a recent situation in Doughiska where homes were allocated to tenants but the properties were ‘faulty from the get-go’, which was not acceptable. The issue was decided on in the courts, he said.

Mr Mahon said the four new properties being discussed were compliant with planning permission and had been assessed by engineers.

Continue Reading

Trending