Arts Week with Judy Murphy
Louis de Paor, poet and director of the Centre for Irish Studies at NUIG, will be exploring the issue of language and identity this Saturday at 3pm in the Aula Maxima NUIG, alongside journalist Manchán Magan and Regina Uí Chollatáin of UCD.
You Are What You Speak is part of the Arts Festival’s First Talk series which kick off this weekend, exploring the theme of identity. Cork-born Louis, who studied Irish at UCC, is well placed to discuss how our national language shapes our identity and the thorny issue of its place in Irish life.
He’s the editor of a newly published bilingual anthology, Leabhar na hAthghabhála, Poems of Repossession – the first comprehensive anthology of modern Irish-language poetry accompanied by English translations, it forms a sequel to Seán Ó Tuama and Thomas Kinsella’s ground-breaking 1981 anthology, An Duanaire, 1600-1900 / Poems of the Dispossessed.
Leabhar na hAthghabhála is published by Bloodaxe, which is the largest poetry publishing company in the UK and Ireland. That means that 26 leading Irish-language poets from the 20th century can take their place alongside their peers who write in English, in bookshops worldwide.
That was one of Louis’s aims with this anthology.
“Early Irish poetry is well served and poetry from the bardic era was well served but poetry from the 1890s to the present was a closed book to most people,” he explains
Poets such as Eoghan Ó Tuairisc and Máire Mhac an tSaoi as well as Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Biddy Jenkinson appear, alongside younger writers such as Gearóid Mac Lochlainn and the editor himself.
Their works have been translated by a skilled group including Paul Muldoon, Thomas Kinsella, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Brendan Kennelly Mary O’Donoghue, Alan Titley and David Wheatley.
People involved in translating the poems for this anthology were required to have sufficient Irish to engage directly with the original work, so “a high degree of linguistic competence as well as literary ability – and patience – was needed”, Louis says.
“The bottom line was that there should be nothing in translation that wouldn’t be in the original and nothing in the original that isn’t in the translation. A curious reader should be able to move from the English across the page to the Irish,” Louis says.
“An appropriate deference and as little difference as possible between the two – that was the ambition.”
Once that was achieved, the most important thing was that “Irish poets and their poetry would get a platform”.
Louis reads “books and books of poetry and even in the best poetry sections of the best bookshops, Irish language poetry is not there, so how do you get it out of the ghetto? It’s not the fault of Irish publishers that it’s difficult to get into shops internationally.”
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Galway City Council turns down Mad Yolk Farm site
An application to retain farming-related development on a site in Roscam has been turned down by Galway City Council.
The local authority has refused to grant retention permission to applicant Brian Dilleen for subsurface piping to be used for agricultural irrigation at ‘Mad Yolk Farm’ on Rosshill Road.
It also refused permission for the retention of a bore-hole well, water pump and concrete plinth; and two water holding tanks for 6,500 litres; and other associated site works.
In its written decision, the Planning Department at City Hall said: “The proposed development, would if permitted, facilitate the use of the site for the provision of sixty 15.5m high seed beds, which have been deemed by the planning authority not to be exempted development.
“Therefore a grant of permission for the proposed development would facilitate the unauthorised development and usage on the site, contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”
The site has been the subject of enforcement action by the local authority.
A lengthy Appropriate Assessment Screening report, submitted with the planning application, concluded “beyond reasonable scientific doubt, in view of the best scientific knowledge, on the basis of objective information and in light of the conservation objectives of the relevant European sites, that the proposed retention and development, individually or in combination with other plans and projects, has not and will not have a significant effect on any European site”.
A borehole Impact Assessment Report concluded that the proposed retention development “on the hydraulic properties of the aquifer is considered negligible”.
It said that there was “no potential for significant effects on water quality, groundwater dependent habitats or species associated with any European site”.
Six objections were lodged by neighbours, including one from the Roshill/Roscam Residents Association, which argued the Further Information submitted by the applicant did “little to allay our concerns” about the impact of the development on an “extremely sensitive site”.
The applicant has until June 29 to appeal the decision to An Bórd Pleanála.
NUIG student accommodation firm records loss
The property company which operates student accommodation on behalf of NUI Galway recorded a €3.4 million increase in turnover in 2019.
However, Atalia Student Residences DAC (Designated Activity Company), which is owned by the university, recorded a loss for the year of €6,300.
Accounts for the company for the year ended August 31, 2019, show that while there was a loss, retained profits are at more than €1.6 million. The accounts are the most up to date available from the Companies Registration Office.
The previous year, the company made a profit of more than €460,000.
Atalia Student Residences operates the 764-bed Corrib Village apartment complex and the 429-bed Goldcrest Village.
The figures show that the company’s overall turnover jumped by 52% – from €6.4m to €9.8m.
Turnover for accommodation services was up from €5.2m to €8.4m; and from conferences and events was up from €850,000 to €1.1m. Turnover from shops was down from almost €328,000 to €290,000.
Outside of the academic year, both complexes are used as accommodation for conference delegates, while Corrib Village is also used for short-term holiday lets.
The accounts show fixed assets – including fixtures and fittings, plant and machinery and office equipment – valued at €1.5m. Its current assets were valued at more than €7m, including ‘cash at bank and in hand’ of almost €6.9m (up from €5.6m last year).
The company owed creditors €6.9m, including €5.2m in deferred income.
It employed 38 people (which includes its five directors) last year, up from 31 the previous year.
As well as operating the student accommodation complexes, the company also markets conference facilities and services on behalf of the university.
It pays rent to NUIG but the figure is not included in the company accounts. In 2018, the rent figure was just over €2.25m.
In Corrib Village, a single bedroom with a private en suite for the academic year costs €5,950. For Goldcrest Village, the figure is €6,760.
Designated drinking zones in city centre are ‘only solution’
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Properly staffed designated areas are the only solution to out-of-control outdoor boozing, according to the city councillor who drafted the city’s drinking bylaws.
Cllr Peter Keane told the Galway City Tribune it was likely that councillors would seek to ‘tweak’ the existing bylaws in the near future to find a long-term solution that would enable young people to ‘enjoy a drink outdoors in a safe and controlled environment’, not just now, but in the future too.
To avoid a repeat of scenes around Spanish Arch over recent weekends, the Fianna Fáil councillor said providing areas where the consumption of alcohol was allowed would enable Gardaí to properly enforce the drinking bylaws throughout the rest of the city.
He said he could ‘absolutely appreciate the concerns of residents’ in the Claddagh and elsewhere where anti-social behaviour including urinating in gardens ‘and worse’ had been a blight in recent weeks, but said with proper control, those worst excesses could be avoided.
In the first ten days of June, 83 on-the-spot fines were issued in the city for drinking in a public place.
And last Saturday night, Gardaí closed off the Quincentenary Bridge after hundreds of young people gathered on the carriageway and turned it into a “highly-dangerous road traffic risk situation”.
“Control is the key word for me. Gardaí don’t have the resources, nor do they have the appetite as far as I can see, to deal with the lack of control there has been during the recent good weather.
“If you were to designate, say for example the Spanish Arch or a green area in Salthill, where the bylaws didn’t apply, you could put a number of wardens in place there to control the situation. You could provide adequate bins and toilets, and enough bodies to staff it, and that would allow gardaí to police the bylaws elsewhere,” said Cllr Keane.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and coverage of the re-opening of the hospitality sector and outdoor dining, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.