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Galway’s tourist season shoehorned into two months

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Exactly one third of overseas visitors to Galway come during just two months of the summer.

The Fáilte Ireland analysis of the visitor numbers to counties on the Wild Atlantic Way, proves that the tourism industry in Galway is heavily reliant on July and August.

Some 18% of all visitors to Galway come during August and some 15% of them come during July, which shows how highly seasonal the industry here is.

The figures were released by Fáilte Ireland, as part of its public consultation process regarding the Wild Atlantic Way, which also outlines the threats to the environment that tourism poses.

The next busiest months were June (12%) and September (12%), meaning that almost two thirds of all visitors come to Galway during the four months from June to September. The figures, compiled for 2014, show January (3%) is the slowest month for tourism in Galway.

The Wild Atlantic Way encompasses the coastline and hinterland of the nine coastal counties of the West of Ireland – Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Cork.

The route stretches for almost 2,500km from the village of Muff on the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal to Kinsale in West Cork.

In Galway it includes the city, as a gateway, and encompasses Kinvara in the south, along the coast and through to Clifden and North Connemara, and the border with Mayo.

Fáilte Ireland gives an analysis of the accommodation stock along the Wild Atlantic Way and reveals that it is mostly concentrated in Cork and Kerry which account for over half of properties and 44% of beds along the route.

Galway has the most hotels in the region (80), but it has relatively fewer self-catering apartments. Galway, according to the report has ten times fewer self-catering apartments than the Wild Atlantic Way in Kerry, for example.

An Environmental Assessment has been published by Fáilte Ireland and it details all the sensitive areas in Galway that are affected by the Wild Atlantic Way.

The report, which is available online, outlines what measures, if any, may need to be taken to mitigate against any risk to the environment, as well as outline the potential risks.

It lists the threats to certain areas as a result of increased tourism.

In relation to Inner Galway Bay, it said: “While there are no imminent threats to the birds, a concern is that sewage effluent and detritus of the aquaculture industry could be deleterious to benthic communities and could affect food stocks of divers, seaduck and other birds. Bird populations may also be disturbed by aquaculture activities. Owing to the proximity of Galway City, shoreline and terrestrial habitats are under pressure from urban expansion and recreational activities.”

It also identifies threats to Kilkieran Bay, in Connemara. “The Department of Fisheries has designated Kilkieran Bay as an aquaculture area. It is possible that consequent increased siltation and eutrophication will have a deleterious effect on the benthic communities and on the Raspailia ramosa/Corella parallelogramma communities in the deep littoral reef. The effects of Invermectin and other biocides on adjacent fauna have not been studied

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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