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Galway’s 2020 bid gets through to next round

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Galway City and County’s joint bid to become the European Capital of Culture has made it through to the shortlist.

A panel of European judges in Dublin Castle announced this afternoon that three bids have been shortlisted – Galway, Limerick and the ‘Three Sisters’ (Kilkenny-Waterford-Wexford).

It was initially understood that two bids would be shortlisted from four (Dublin was eliminated today), but judges announced that three would go through to the next round. Dublin already held the title in 1991.

The teams now prepare a second bid book, and the winner will be selected next July.

The Galway 2020 team – made up of project manager and Galway City Council official Patricia Philbin and nine figures from across artistic and cultural life of the city – travelled to Bedford Hall in Dublin Castle yesterday afternoon to make their presentation on the bid book.

They included Galway City Chief Executive Brendan McGrath, Director of the Galway City Museum, Eithna Verling and children’s author Trish Forde.

Galway’s bid book – entitled ‘Making Waves’ – was presented as a love letter to Europe. The 30-minute presentation included a one-minute video followed by contributions from each of the 10-member team, before finishing with a two-minute video.

Mr McGrath said the presentation was positively received by the judges.

“We got quite a number of smiles, laughs and nods, we certainly struck a chord with them.”

They were then given deep and intensive questioning on 15 broad topics by the panel.

Speaking in Dublin Castle this afternoon (Friday), Project Manager Patricia Philbin said: “Galway is absolutely thrilled to have been shortlisted as finalists. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Galway to showcase its wealth of culture to the rest of Europe and the world. This amazing opportunity allows us to bring Galway’s vision of culture to a much greater level.

“Galway city and county have united and put their heart and soul into this bid. Being shortlisted is richly deserved to a region which has unofficially held the cultural title for many generations. Winning this bid allows Galway on the western periphery of Europe to become more central and showcase our distinctive heritage, culture, arts, people and more importantly our ability to rejuvenate and grow, to our European neighbours.

“The people of Galway have fought a passionate battle and showed their ingenuity all of which Galway is known for but now we’re ready to get to work and wow Europe with an amazing European Capital of Culture programme of events.”

Mr Mc Grath said “On behalf of the Galway 2020 Bid and on behalf of Galway City Council, I am delighted that the European Capital of Culture jury has shortlisted the Making Waves Bid. By recognising the quality and intention of our bid, the jury has set us on the way to preparing a final bid by next summer with the ultimate designation of Galway as European Capital of Culture 2020.

“I would like to commend the elected members, the business sector, the cultural community and all those who participated and contributed to our successful initial bid. I would like to particularly pay tribute today the Galway 2020 bid team led by Patricia Philbin who have motivated and inspired a swell of enthusiasm and pride in our city and county to get behind the bid.

We now look forward to the challenge set for us today for the final bid submission”.

Kevin Kelly CEO of Galway County Council, commented: “This announcement today is the culmination of months of enormous creative outpouring across the City and County and it is wonderful news for the people of Galway.”

Complimenting the rigorous work of the Galway 2020 team, he went onto say, “Patricia and her team have done a tremendous job in a short space of time, they have ignited an even greater passion for culture in all its guises across all communities in the City and County,  from our offshore islands to the heart of the city and have harnessed the enthusiasm and energy of the people  to develop a successful bid.

“We congratulate all the villages, towns communities, groups and individuals, who have supported and inspired this bid process. Tomorrow we get back to work to harness the next stage of the Galway 2020 bid.”

CEO of Galway International Arts Festival, John Crumlish said: “We are delighted that Galway has made the short list and I would like to thank the bid team for all their hard work and everyone who contributed in helping make this possible. We now look forward to an exciting nine months in which we will need everyone’s help and ideas in making sure Galway becomes European Capital of Culture 2020”.

The initial Galway 2020 bid book – an 80-page document answering a specific set of questions – was submitted on October 16.

 

Connacht Tribune

Galway historian’s 14 new books bring running total to 70!

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Steve Dolan.

There may be a book in everyone – but producing 18 of them for publication in one week is taking it to a different level. And yet that’s what Galway historian Steve Dolan has done for Heritage Week. . . adding 18 books this year to bring him up to 70 over the last seven years – and he’s firmly committed to hitting one hundred.

By day – and given the workload, increasingly by night – he is the chief executive of Galway Rural Development (GRD), but the Carrabane resident has had a lifelong passion for history. And that’s what he turns to as a form of relaxation which peaks at this time every year.

Not alone that; he already has the first five of next year’s publications completed – and he’s only starting!

This year’s booklets are all on the theme of Gaelic Games and every one of them is in aid of a different community group or charity. Theoretically, they are limited editions, but – given his own love of the subject matter – he won’t see anyone who shares that passion miss out.

While all eighteen new publications share that GAA theme, the diversity of subject matter within that is breath-taking – and an incredible achievement in terms of the workload and production.

From the story of the county title that Liam Mellows were robbed of in 1942 to the contribution of An Cath Gaedhealach to Galway GAA in 1947/48 or Galway’s 1923 and 1925 All-Ireland victories to sport in County Galway during the revolutionary years; the books are as much about social history as about sport.

See the full list of publications in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

And if they are of interest to you, you can contact Steve at sdolan@grd.ie to buy them.

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Connacht Tribune

Why did Galway suffer just half as many Covid deaths as Mayo?

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Galway and Mayo, two neighbouring counties, have had hugely contrasting experiences with Covid-19-related deaths.

Analysis of the latest figures reveals that Mayo’s Covid mortality rate is more than double that of Galway’s.

The disparity has prompted a Galway West TD to call for an investigation to see what caused the disparity.

Fresh data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) shows that Covid deaths in Galway have topped the 250 milestone.

Up to the end of July, HSPC has been notified of some 251 Covid deaths in Galway since the Pandemic was declared in 2020.

This gives a mortality rate of 97.3 per 100,000 population, which is the second lowest of any county in the Republic after Sligo.

During the same timeframe, neighbouring Mayo notified 296 Covid deaths, which gives a mortality rate of 226.8 per 100,000.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Hurling legend’s distillery plans for heart of Conamara

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Joe Connolly....Conamara vision.

Plans have been lodged to build a multi-million euro whiskey distillery on the Conamara coastline – the brainchild of Galway hurling legend Joe Connolly and his family.

And if it gets the green light, it will square a circle that has its roots firmly in the same Conamara soil – where both of the All-Ireland-winning Galway captain’s grandfathers were renowned distillers too . . . only of the illegal variety.

The plans for the Cnoc Buí Whiskey Distillery & Heritage Centre outside Carna – lodged by Údarás na Gaeltachta on behalf of Drioglann Iarthar na Gaillimhe Teoranta – describe a facility that will provide a first-class visitor experience and greatly enhance the local area’s tourism offering.

Once complete, Cnoc Buí will comprise the distillery itself, bonded warehousing, a bottling hall and tasting bar – as well as the heritage centre, shop and café.

That will create over 30 jobs in the first five years, with the heritage centre alone aiming to attract 16,000 visitors in the first year of operation – rising to at least 52,000 by year five in Iorras Aithneach, an area blighted by unemployment and emigration.

On top of that, their own economic analysis envisages the creation of another 130 jobs in the Carna/Cill Chiarain area – in leisure, hospitality and accommodation on foot of that significant increase in visitor numbers.

The Connollys see Cnoc Buí as ‘an asset which will enrich the entire community’.

“It will enhance the local tourism product and serve as a focal point for both the local community and visitors,” said Cnoc Buí director Barry Connolly.

“The building has been carefully designed to reflect the beauty of its surroundings, because we want our distillery to be an attractive hub, with its Visitors’ Centre and Tasting Bar. It will provide employment, draw in tourists and add value to other business in the area,” he added.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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