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Licence application lodged for expanded Christmas Market

Enda Cunningham



A special events licence application has been lodged at City Hall for an expanded Continental Christmas Market across three locations in Galway.

The plans will allow for up to 50 traders at Eyre Square, a further 42 at Spanish Arch and 30 for a weekend market in Woodquay.

However, the operating company has said it expects around 60 stalls in total, and the higher figures were to “provide for every possible eventuality” and the fact that food stalls require more space.

A bar licence has been sought for both Eyre Square and Spanish Arch – the Bier Keller will be located in the middle of Eyre Square with an open deck area to the front, while the traditional Windmill House will move to Fishmarket Square.

There will also be performances from bands, choirs and carollers on the Eyre Square stage, while kids’ arts and science workshops have been commissioned by Baboró, the international arts festival for children.

There will also be a ‘charity fringe programme’ with an open call for community and arts groups to perform.

Small scale vintage amusements will be placed on the hard surface at the top of Eyre Square, as well as at Fishmarket Square, while there will be a Santa’s Grotto on the grass area near the Skeff, will be adjacent to the ‘Christmas Train’ stop.

The backers of the market for the past five years, Milestone Inventive, have submitted the application to the Council, which is now being examined by local authority officials and will come before councillors for a vote in October.

The plans are for up to 50 stalls and other exhibitors at Eyre Square, using the raised hard surface and facing onto the paths and walkways within the grassed areas of the park and the pedestrianised pathway on the west side of the Square.

At Fishmarket Square, it is planned to use the hard surface in front of and behind the Arch itself, with up to 42 traders.

“In Woodquay, we will utilise the roadway and parking spaces, and retain one lane for traffic, inviting up to 30 traders to participate. The traders in all locations will be providing both food and craft/gift items,” the organisers say.

They add that last year, 40% of traders were local and 88% were Irish, and they envisage a similar mix this year.

According to the application, the market will run from November 20 to December 22 and will be located at Eyre Square, Fishmarket Square and Woodquay.

Woodquay will only operate on the weekends of November 28 and 29, December 5 and 6 and December 12 and 13.

“It will once again consist of a mix of international and local vendors, it offers a range of food and crafts. In addition to the traders, onsite entertainment will be provided, as well as a public bar,” it reads.

The organisers added that to combat damage caused to grass areas in Eyre Square, the overall footprint there has been reduced, while large structures will be builton blocks.

A spokesperson said that while the trader figures add up to more than 120, she expects there to be around 60 in total.

“It will be nowhere near that figure. It will be around 60 in total, because we will not be able to sell some cabins, hot food vendors will require more space. You have to prepare for every eventuality, but there will not be 120 cabins … there aren’t even 100 cabins in the country,” Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, Maria Moynihan Lee said.

Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell



Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell



Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara



Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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