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‘Give the castle back to Galway’ demands TD


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

‘Give the castle back to Galway’ demands TD ‘Give the castle back to Galway’ demands TD


A local TD has called on the City Council to create a civic space in Galway where important events can be held.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív has renewed his calls for the Council to begin negotiations with AIB, with a view to acquire Lynch’s Castle as a venue for receptions or other civic events.

Deputy Ó Cuív said: “The thing that Galway is missing, is a prestigious civic space in City Council ownership for such events, and that can also be hired out to other appropriate community events, charitable groups and such.

“We need a space for occasions such as conferrings of the Freedom of the City on notable people; receiving winning Galway teams and other famous sports people and also to hold civic receptions when prestigious conferences come to Galway.”

He noted that Dublin has Dublin Castle and the Royal Hospital, and other privately or State-owned prestigious venues, but Galway has nothing similar.

Deputy Ó Cuív said that Lynch’s Castle – parts of which date back to the 14th Century – was “bizarre and wasted as a mundane bank”.

“It is very urgent to hold negotiations now while the state still has a majority shareholding in AIB, before access to this important building is lost.”

According to Fáilte Ireland, business visitors can be worth two to three times as much to the local economy as a leisure tourist.

Business visitors tend to stay around the city, bringing in income for local businesses, while tourists head to surrounding areas for sightseeing.

Deputy Ó Cuív said his personal experience of business trips is never leaving the cities and not going beyond the main streets.

“We wouldn’t travel, because we were [there for] business, we were in a hurry, we had a council meeting and the night before a dinner, a reception, and by evening time we’d be back on a plane on the way home because that’s the way politics and business works. You wouldn’t have gone sightseeing, but you would have gone to town and bought something, spent some money.

“It is a shame that a building, with such a rich history, just sits there useless for the people of Galway, when it has so much potential, that would be so easy to harness.

“If Galway wishes to hold important events and invite important people, on the same level of some of the other major cities, it needs to provide the spaces to do so,” he stressed.

During the economic crash, Deputy Ó Cuív previously said Lynch’s Castle should be acquired at a nominal annual rent of €1 as a gesture of “atonement” and “repent for its sins” that contributed to the country’s financial collapse.

The Castle building dates from about 1320 and originally belonged to the Lynch family, who produced 84 Mayors of Galway, and was believed to be located right next to the exact centre of medieval Galway. Lynch’s Castle was rebuilt between 1493 and 1503 and was despoiled by Oliver Cromwell’s forces during the sacking of the city in 1652.

It was completely rebuilt after the trauma of Cromwell’s sacking and extended to the west before 1820. The exterior walls of the building have been unchanged since at least the 1810s and much of the walls date from the 15th century.



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