Galway City Council has acceded to a plea by businesspeople in the West End that the area no longer be “ignored” as the city continues to expand.
Councillors have voted in favour of including objectives in the Draft City Development plan 2017-23 for the West End, including improved signage, street lighting, street furniture, and for its promotion as a historical district.
Publican Simon Heaslip, Chairman of the West End Traders’ Association, made a submission to the Council ahead of the ongoing Development plan discussions.
“We would make an impassioned plea that the City Council would not continue to ignore our unique part of town which we all love so much, when deciding on Galway’s future.
“Don’t modernise without us, don’t pass us out, don’t leave us behind, look over the bridge and remember what helps make Galway unique, magical event.
“Tourists and locals love the way it makes you feel to wander our old streets, popping in and out of tiny shops full of character and characters. Any development of the city should look to protect our greatest assets.
“The West End is full of charm with its old narrow streets, buildings with special features, family-run shops that have been here forever, and award-winning restaurants.
“It is an arts hub with Galway’s main arts centre, the Blue Teapot Theatre Company, two award-winning music venues in Róisín Dubh and Monroes and lots more besides. We feel lucky to work in such a lovely place, it’s unlike anywhere else in the city.
“We need the City Council to help us let people know that the city does not end once you reach the Bridge Mills or Wolfe Tone Bridge,” the submission reads.
It has been agreed that specific objectives be included in the City Development Plan for the West End, include for improved signage, a bike docking station and a bus stop.
The area will also be promoted as an arts, cultural and historical district.
City Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said improvements to the Small Crane are included in the Plan.
“These civic improvements may include pedestrianisation, undergrounding of services and provision of high quality public space and an enhanced setting for the Small Crane weighing scales, a protected structure.
“The scheme will also investigate potential to re-establish the market and to facilitate community events. With regard to the transport network and traffic management in the area, improvements to transport in the city centre including the West area will arise through implementation of measures proposed in the Galway Transport Strategy (GTS).
“The GTS is a comprehensive strategy to address traffic problems in the city and its implementation will provide opportunities to improve accessibility and support environmental and public realm improvements.
“These measures combined with the proposed N6 Galway City Ring Road will reduce traffic volumes in the city centre, including the West area and allow opportunities to improve connectivity to the West with subsequent improvements in footfall,” said Mr McGrath.
Radio series a first for new An Spidéal production company
A host of Ireland’s finest musicians gathered in Galway’s new intimate arts space – and recorded ten weeks of special programmes that will go out on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta every Thursday, starting tonight.
Cuan an Cheoil is the first radio series produced by Stiúideo Cuan, the new arts venue and production company in the heart of An Spidéal.
The new ten-part series, kicking off tonight at 7pm, will feature ten of the country’s best-known musicians, who will join Hot House Flower Liam Ó Maonlaí each week to play and to chat with him about various aspects of music and life.
Liam describes the programmes as ‘a musical conversation’ between himself and his guests.
They were recorded in Stiúideo Cuan in An Spidéal in a relaxed and open atmosphere, an attempt to recreate the informality of a group of musicians playing together at home, as opposed to a concert setting. The idea is to allow the musicians the space to be creative, to improvise and to compose on the spot, and the musicians who took part in the series got great satisfaction and enjoyment out of the process.
Síle Denvir and Barry Kerr will join Liam for the first programme of the series on January 20. Síle, from Conamara, is a member of the group Líadan, and has also performed with the Chieftains. Barry Kerr, musician, composer and painter, is originally from Armagh but now living in Conamara.
Other musicians taking part in the series include Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh & Nia Byrne, Peadar Ó Riada & Mick O’Brien, Mary Bergin & Conor Connolly, Johnny Óg Connolly & Liam O’Connor, Róisín Chambers & Maitiú Ó Casaide, Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich & Niamh Varian-Barry, Rónán Ó Snodaigh & Myles O’Reilly, and Caoimhe & Séamus Ó Flatharta.
A visual stream for this programme will also be available online every week.
Stiúideo Cuan is a new creative arts and music centre based beside Ceardlann an Spidéil craft village in An Spidéal.
Founded by composer, fiddle-player and pianist Charlie Lennon and his daughter, fiddle-player Éilís Lennon, the studio has recently been redeveloped to enhance the facilities there which now include a performance venue, with rehearsal and production space, as well as recording and audio-visual post-production facilities.
Cuan an Cheoil will be broadcast on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta every Thursday from 7pm to 8.30pm, starting tonight. See www.rte.ie/rnag for further information or to listen back.
Athenry student makes wheelchair waves to create unique artwork
A young Athenry student has been making waves after his artistic endeavours endeared him to the nation.
Joshua Whelan, a First Year pupil at Clarin College in Athenry, has cerebral palsy – and a passion for art, which was revealed when he joined Serena Joyce’s art class a few months ago.
And he has now produced his first large artwork – an abstract interpretation of the Athenry town map, which he produced by using the wheels of his wheelchair to apply the paint.
It was testimony to Serena’s determination to find a way for him to make his mark – and she found inspiration from other wheelchair artists, like American artist Tom Hollenstein.
Serena enlisted the help of Martin O’Connell, Joshua’s special needs assistant, to produce the painting which now hangs proudly in Clarin College for all to see.
Martin steers the chair, but at Joshua’s direction as he tells Martin how he wants the wheelchair to move across the canvas.
When the painted was posted on social media, it drew a huge reaction and led to Joshua featuring on RTÉ News last week.
And Joshua’s mother Ingrid was understandably proud of her son.
“He’s amazing. It’s a credit to the school and Serena and Martin, and the support he’s had to help realise his skills and abilities,” she said.
NUIG distributing Covid test kits to students
Tens of thousands of antigen test kits are being provided to NUIG students alongside Project UniCoV as part of public health efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19.
From Monday 17 January, students will be able to collect packs at four locations across campus.
Professor Breda Smyth, Chief Investigator of Project UniCoV and HSE West Director of Public Health, urged students to avail of the kits as well as additional testing, by signing up to take part in Project UniCoV.
“Everyone attending campus needs to adhere to the basic public health measures in the first instance – including not coming to campus if you have symptoms and are supposed to be self-isolating or restricting movements.
“Being able to offer free antigen test kits on campus at NUI Galway and giving students the opportunity to take part in Project UniCov demonstrates how we can take a layered approach to public safety and the welfare of students and staff.”
Students can collect five tests at a time. They are being advised to test twice a week, three days apart. They are also being advised to self-isolate if they test positive or develop symptoms and to follow public health advice.
Students are also being encouraged to avail of the option for further free antigen and/or salvia PCR testing for twelve weeks in semester two. A special QR code is being made available to students to support the research.
NUI Galway students are also encouraged to get the vaccine booster, to continue to wear face coverings and sanitise hands. The University saw high levels of compliance from students with public health guidelines during the academic year and we thank them for that.
The distribution of free antigen test kits is funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.