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Gort demands second exit off new N18



Date Published: 12-May-2010

Campaigners are threatening to stage mass protests on the new N18 motorway when it opens later this year unless a second access point is built for Gort on the southern end of the town – without which businesses say trade could plummet by at least half.

Although the NRA agreed to build and fund a second junction for Gort off the new motorway, it did so on condition that Galway County Council would fund the upgrade of the Tubber Road to cope with the extra traffic that would be generated by the junction.

However officials in the Galway National Roads Design Office, which includes engineers from Galway County Council, who work in conjunction with the National Roads Authority (NRA), were always adamant that a second junction was not necessary because of the traffic flows and refused to approve the local road upgrade.

This work was estimated to cost around €500,000 in 2008 second junction, which would have involved building two slip roads from a bridge over the Tubber Road, was costed at around the same price at that time.

Now it is likely to cost more as it would need fresh planning permission and would involve dispatching new contractors and equipment.

The campaign, formerly led by GRACE (Gort Regional Alliance for Community and Environment), to build a second junction was most vociferous between 2006 and 2008 when the design of the Gort bypass was being finalised and building began on the Crusheen to Gort scheme. However it appeared to fizzle out after failing to win the support of the council. It has been reignited with word that the project is near the finish line.

The Crusheen to Gort project is expected to open well ahead of its 2010 schedule with some locals tipping it to be unveiled in time for the Galway Races.

The only junction between the motorway and Gort will be from the bad bend on the Galway side of the entrance to Gort, which is known locally as Ballinger’s Corner.

This will deter the 30 tour buses a day which stop in Gort for refreshments because it means they will have to drive past the town to gain entrance only to double back to continue their journey, insists local hotelier Michael O’Grady.

“I spent €6m on the hotel to put an extension and leisure centre two years ago and the NRA won’t spend €1m for us – all the towns on the M6 have two exits and some of them are not as big as Gort.

“The politicians are hiding behind the NRA but they do have the power to influence the NRA. It’s getting to the stage we’re even considering some sort of opposition to the new road. If we have to, we’ll stage protests when it opens. We certainly haven’t ruled it out,” remarked the owner of the Lady Gregory Hotel.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

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

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

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.

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