Date Published: 17-Sep-2009
The Irish Hotels Federation has defended the record of Galway hotels in providing good value for money in the face of a survey which shows rooms in the city are dearer than most top European destinations including Barce-lona, Amsterdam, Rome, Madrid and even London.
For the third year in a row, Galway hotel prices are the highest in Ireland at an average of €110 per room a night.
This is despite a 26% fall in the first six months of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008, according to the latest figures released in the hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI).
Galway was 39% more expensive than Cork, where the average room cost €79, and 45% dearer than Dublin, where the average room on the website fetched €76. The capital of the west was also a whopping 70% above Limerick, which had the cheapest city hotel rooms in the country.
Dublin experienced the steepest price fall of any of the major European cities, along with Barcelona where hotel prices slumped by 27% and room rates averaged at €76 per night, compared to €105 a year previous.
As a nation, Ireland experienced the largest drop in hotel prices of the major European countries (down 26% on the same period last year), ahead of Norway and Austria which experienced a hotel price drop of 24% and 23% respectively.
The average price of €80 paid for a hotel room in Ireland in the first six months of 2009, compared to €108 paid for the same period in 2008, also made Ireland the least expensive Western European nation, following the three Eastern European nations of Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic where the lowest hotel rooms prices were recorded in the Eurozone.
The survey tracks the real prices paid per hotel room rather than advertised rates. It is based on the money handed over by customers on booking over the website for 78,000 hotels across 13,000 locations around the world.
Paul Gill, chairman of the Galway branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF|) said in real terms revenue for Galway hotels was down by closer to 40%, with figures due out this month showing a 12% drop in footfall into the city.
“We don’t feel we’re price gouging. We do feel we’re offering good value for money, if we weren’t people wouldn’t be coming. Around 60% of business to Galway hotels is repeat business so we’re doing something right,” the owner of the Claregalway Hotel stated.
He also pointed out that there were more four-star hotels in Galway than in other cities, which would distort the figures. There was also a massive increase in the availability of hotels rooms in other cities over the last three years compared to Galway – in Limerick availability has increased by 100% (1,000 rooms to 2,200); in Cork there has been a 60% jump, while in Dublin the hike was 48%. During the same period availability in Galway has gone up 15-20%, with a number of hotels such as the Corrib Great Southern and the Sacre Coeur closing down.
“In Galway most of the hotels are owner-operated so we put a lot of pride into our hotels, our service is very personal, which may not be the same for internationally branded hotels,” he enthused.
“I think getting a four-star room on a Saturday night in the city for €120 is exceptional value.”
And Mr Gill urged punters wishing to book accommodation in Galway to go directly to hotel websites rather than booking through Hotels.com, which charges a commission of 25%.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.
Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.
She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.
Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.
Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.
When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.
Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.
And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.
All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.
“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”
That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.
For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup
Date Published: 29-Jan-2013
Athenry FC 1
Kilbarrack United 2
(After extra time)
For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.
On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.
An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.
However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.
They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.
With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.
Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.
Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.
Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.