Lifestyle – Transforming unused buildings into temporary art galleries is a skill Galway International Arts Festival has honed through the years out of necessity. In a city which still has no municipal gallery, Paul Fahy and Adam Fitzsimons tell JUDY MURPHY what’s involved and call for a permanent space.
Biscuits, cakes, a kettle and discarded coffee cups lie scattered on a crowded table located just inside the door of a long-abandoned space in the heart of Galway City that’s owned by An Post.
On another nearby table, tins of Dulux undercoat and trade-quality gloss paints sit alongside boxes of screws and an electric drill in what was once the plant and servicing garage for the State-owned postal service.
A couple of feet away, up on a cherry-picker, a man is carefully painting around the edges of large glass panelled doors. These impressive industrial-style folding doors, sourced from a long-closed garage in Dublin are getting a new lease of life. They will become the entrance to Galway International Arts Festival’s main art gallery for 2019 when this revitalised building officially opens on Sunday.
Located down a narrow laneway between Matt O’Flaherty Chemist and Premoli Shoes, the massive building yields none of its secrets when viewed from the street outside.
It’s massive, and it is unused. Owned by the Post Office – and also accessible by the laneway at the side of the GPO, it previously served as plant and servicing room for the nearby telephone exchange until rapidly changing technology made that service redundant.
Before that, at the turn of the 20th Century, it was a privately-owned garage – the first Ford garage in Ireland, according to the Arts Festival’s Artistic Director, Paul Fahy. And, adds Festival Production Manager Adam Fitzsimons, it also served as a theatre space and cinema as well as an ice-rink at different times.
Just two months ago, this once-busy space was run-down and semi-abandoned. The site might have been valuable but the dark and dreary space wouldn’t have inspired confidence in most people.
However, Paul Fahy, Adam Fitzsimons aren’t most people. When they first walked in here in April, with the blessing of the local Post Master Pat Dillane, they knew immediately that they’d struck gold.
At that time, the Arts Festival still had no gallery capable of housing its main exhibition for 2019, In the Flesh by renowned Australian sculptor Sam Jinks. This was the solution.
Every year, in a city renowned for its arts and creativity, the Arts Festival faces the same challenge because Galway still has no municipal gallery.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.
Influx of visitors heightens Covid fears
Local health chiefs are planning for the worst case scenario of a second surge of Coronavirus brought on by domestic tourism – as ‘staycationers’ from parts of the country where the virus is more prevalent carry it into the west.
There has been just one new confirmed case of Covid-19 in Galway in the past week, and just a handful of new cases in the past several weeks.
But the authorities fear tourists from parts of the country more affected by the virus will result in an increase here during August and September.
There are also concerns that there are not enough beds in the public health system to cope with a resurgence of Covid-19 alongside regular winter hospital admissions.
Tony Canavan, CEO of Saolta, which manages public hospitals in the West, at the HSE West Regional Health Forum this week, said health workers are anxious that the deadly virus will spread to the West, as the reopening of society continues.
“There are concerns among those working in the health system associated with Government plans to reopen society and the economy, even though we know that is absolutely necessary and important for the well-being of the population as a whole.
“But the concerns we have relate to the greater movement of people whether it’s going to and from work, or going about their business, whether it’s attending the shops or entertainment events and so on, and that greater movement of people creates an environment where the risk of the spread of Covid-19 is increased.
“We’re particularly concerned in the West and North West, that there would be a level of movement of people associated with tourism at this time of year,” said Mr Canavan.
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.
Chanelle McCoy unveils her clinically proven cannabinoid cure
The usage of CBD food supplements to treat a whole raft of illnesses and conditions in recent years has given rise to concern that many of the products currently on the market are being sold to consumers without any clinical trials to verify their safety.
It was the rise in demand for these products that first caught the attention of well-known Loughrea business woman Chanelle McCoy who this week, together with her business partner and fellow Galwegian Caroline Glynn, launched the first CBD product on the Irish market that has been clinically proven to be safe – Pureis.
Chanelle, whose family business Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea has a proven track record in the medical world, stepped back from that venture five years ago to focus on her own Chanelle McCoy Health.
“My family business in Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea and so I’ve worked there for about 18 years. When I joined the business, it was a veterinary business and my father and I co-founded the medical side of the business. Then I was lucky to have the opportunity to lead that medical business over the last 18 years with a great team and with Caroline working with me,” says Chanelle of the beginning of her working relationship with Caroline.
“We bought the medical business into 96 countries around the world and we got over 2,500 product licences granted across those 96 countries. We would be looking at products in terms of what to put into the R&D pipeline and I started looking at CBD back in 2015, probably inspired a bit by Vera Twomey and the inability for moms like her to access good quality CBD products for kids like Ava,” she says, explaining that Cork woman Vera Twomey’s plight to secure cannabidiol treatment for her daughter’s epilepsy was a real eye-opener.
Read the full feature in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.
State can’t leave Galway addiction services in limbo
Any further delay in setting up an alcohol addiction treatment service in Galway City will result in more deaths, including suicides, of problem drinkers – and cause ‘total devastation’ to local families, addiction experts have warned.
Addiction Counsellors of Ireland (ACI) has demanded that the Health Service Executive (HSE) immediately establishes an alcohol treatment service in the city.
The professional body which accredits counsellors claims that GPs in Galway are ‘flooded’ with drink-related patients, and the Emergency Department ‘can’t cope’ with the level of alcohol admissions.
It said the long-awaited alcohol addiction treatment service planned for the city would save lives and save tens of thousands of euro on alcohol-related emergency admissions at University Hospital Galway.
Some €470,000 a year funding for the service was announced by the previous Government last December; and a commitment for the service was contained in the Programme for Government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party.
This week, Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, a Minister of State in the new administration, confirmed that some €225,000 for the service from now to Christmas, is available in the 2020 HSE budget to get the service up and running.
Local addiction counsellors have now demanded that the HSE urgently hire the staff, and source a building, to roll out the alcohol addiction service, which has been absent for the past seven years.