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CITY TRIBUNE

Making waves with The Mighty Ocean

Judy Murphy

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Recording The Mighty Ocean in St Nicholas' Collegiate Church.

A piece of music which Máirtín O’Connor composed for an international Whale and Dolphin Conference, held in Galway almost a decade ago provided the creative spark for his latest work, The Mighty Ocean, which will premiere on TG4 this Sunday, April 25, at 9.30pm.

Leo Hallissey, the founder of Conamara Bog and Sea Week and one of the organisers of that 2012 conference, commissioned the renowned composer and accordion player to write the original piece.

Then, when Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture was being programmed, Máirtín expanded on that original work. The result is a suite that fuses traditional Irish sounds with influences from other genres as he invites listeners to contemplate what humanity is doing to our oceans and earth. “But it also offers hope,” says this warm, witty man who is not naturally given to gloom.

Máirtín, who was reared in Galway City and lives in Annaghdown, has been a trailblazer in Irish music for many decades. He began playing accordion at the age of nine and through the years has been a key member of groups including De Dannan and Arcady, as well as being in the original Riverdance orchestra in the mid-1990s.  He’s an extraordinary composer and collaborator too. Among those he’s worked with across musical genres are Galway’s Ensemble in Residence, the ConTempo Quartet. His relationship with the classically trained quartet from Romania goes back nearly two decades and led to the release of the 2007 album, Spiccato Junction. That album also featured guitarist, mandocello and keyboard player Garry Ó Briain and fiddler Cathal Hayden. All are now involved in the Mighty Ocean.

The former manager of De Dannan and the Saw Doctors, Ollie Jennings was involved in developing this commission for Galway 2020 and, as Máirtín explains, it was originally intended as part of a concert to be performed at the city’s Town Hall Theatre last Summer. He’d intended having a vocal element, to be provided by singer Mary McPartlan, his great friend. Sadly, she died a year ago and there’s sorrow in Máirtín’s voice as he recalls Mary and other friends, including Joe Burke, who passed away during Covid.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Glass roof over Latin Quarter among raft of proposals to Galway City Council

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to put a roof over the Latin Quarter – with outdoor heaters to combat Galway’s changeable weather – is among a raft of suggestions that will be considered by the Council as it draws up the next City Development Plan.

The widespread use of outdoor theatre and extended opening hours for retail and cultural attractions are also on the cards as members of the public and lobby groups push for a city that offers the broadest range of tourist attractions.

As part of series of measures put forward to improve the outdoor offering in the city, one submission – which is understood to have been noted by the Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath in his report on plan, which is at ‘pre-draft’ stage – is to put a glass ceiling on the city centre’s main commercial thoroughfares.

Planners are currently considering the proposal as part of more than 500 submissions made to Council in the first public consultation for the document, which will shape development in the city for six years after 2023.

It’s proposed that by covering the length of Quay Street/Latin Quarter in high retractable glass panes ‘mounted on decorative supports’, and installing street heaters, ‘a comfortable outdoor ambiance could be created’.

This is one of almost 50 submissions made in the area of economic development, where the theme of improving the city’s night-time economy and tourism offering feature prominently.

In another submission from Fáilte Ireland, the tourism authority expresses its desire that the next City Development Plan should have a chapter dedicated to tourism, such is its importance to the city’s economic success.

As well as developing Galway’s growing reputation as a ‘foodie destination’, developing the night-time economy is identified as being ‘an important aspect of ensuring a vibrant city centre and means more than just developing a bar and restaurant culture’.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

100 new jobs for Galway City Sports Direct outlet

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Sports Direct retail giant is set to create up to 100 new jobs when it takes over the former Debenhams department store in the Corrib Shopping Centre.

And the company’s sister outlet Heatons looks set to make a return to the city – possibly in the same building, although management are remaining tight-lipped.

Sports Direct has taken a lease on the Debenhams premises, which has been vacant since before the pandemic, and it will open in June.

“The 65,000 sq ft store will comprise four floors and will consist of Sports Direct, USC and Brand Max. 100 jobs for the store will be created,” a spokesperson confirmed to the Galway City Tribune.

The spokesperson could not confirm that the Heatons brand – which is also owned by English billionaire Mike Ashley – will also be opening as part of the move. The group is currently advertising for staff to work at a new Heatons store in Galway.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Forty firefighters tackle major blaze at Galway golf shop

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Up to 40 firefighters from across the city and county fought a major fire at the GolfStyle superstore off the Tuam Road for around six hours on Thursday morning.

Gardaí on routine patrol in the Liosbán Business Park shortly before 3am noticed smoke coming from the roof of the building and immediately alerted the fire service.

The building, which was unoccupied at the time, is understood to have suffered major structural and roof damage in the fire that started in the first floor.

At one point, 11 fire engines from the city, Athenry, Loughrea, Carraroe and Gort fought the blaze, using water tankers and aerial ladders, as well as having a command unit in place.

Firemen equipped with breathing apparatus also had to force their way into the building to tackle the source of the fire, that possibly could have been caused by an electrical problem.

The fire was brought under control at around 7.30am, but the Fire Brigade remained at the scene for a number of hours afterwards in case of any secondary outbreak.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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