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Man made ‘nest’ sees five cygnets reared in estuary after years of failure

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Swan and cygnets on the raft at Oranmore. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

After the better part of a decade of their nests being washed away, Oranmore has this Spring seen five cygnets born to a set of swans thanks to a man made raft.
Peter Butler, who works in GMIT is the man behind the raft, having moved to Oranmore just last year. “We watched them build the nest [last year], but the tide came in and swamped the nest and the eggs got washed away. I got curious, thinking why would they build there?”
As it turns out the woes of the swans were well known locally and Mr Butler, a nature enthusiast, decided to intervene and try to find a solution.
Mr Butler got to work devising a floating raft that would offer the swans protection for their young, be near food sources and close to where they had always tried to unsuccessfully nest.
“I did some research into why the swans nested there, and the island on which they used to nest got eroded away over the years,” explains Peter.
A raft seemed the only viable option at this stage. Councils in England use plastic floatation devices in lakes and rivers for the same purpose, but these top-of-the-range rafts with moorings cost anywhere between €5,000 and €10,000.
“We were running against the clock, because the swans would be nesting again soon. This was August and we didn’t have the time to fundraise the €10,000 required to buy a raft, then I came across pictures of wooden rafts in Holland used in canals,” explains Peter.
So he got to work replicating the Dutch design in a cost-effective way. The process required expertise and his background in mechanical engineering was of huge benefit here.
With his work complete, he now had to lure the swans onto the raft. To do this they put nesting materials on top of the raft and bits of food, and, sure enough, a few days after the raft was launched, the swans had begun to put their stamp on it.
“Nine eggs were laid, eight hatched and sadly only five survived,” explains Peter. “People can see nesting swans and I always thought it was a lovely thing worth doing. It was a calculated gamble, there was no guarantee that the swans would use the raft or indeed lay and hatch eggs.”
For more on this story, see the Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Outdoor dining plans unveiled for Galway City

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A new plan to temporarily pedestrianise city streets to create more space for outdoor dining this summer was published this week.

Galway City Council has said it is planning to close six streets for four months to boost the hospitality sector and attract more custom ‘back the West’ and to Woodquay.

It has also signalled smaller changes for Salthill and around Eyre Square.

“We’re looking to support businesses and people getting back to work. This is an opportunity for us to explore outdoor dining and we’re looking to trial these public realm initiatives,” Ruairí Lehmann, the City Council’s Tourism Officer told the Galway City Tribune.

“There is an appetite for this; the indications we have from Government is it is going to be an outdoor summer and these proposals will support that,” he added.

Chairperson of Galway Branch of VFI, Johnny Duggan of Taylor’s Bar on Dominick Street, said the changes would be very positive and boost hospitality businesses in all areas.

Already, he said as many as 30 businesses have applied for licences to trade outside in the area known as the Westend.

The local authority wants to close to traffic The Small Crane and Raven Terrace 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from June 7 until September 30. Car parking spaces will be removed from Small Crane and one lane of traffic would be kept open, one-way. A decision on which side is still under review.

The Council intends to make Dominick Street Lower (Galway Arms to Monroe’s) a single-lane one-way traffic street to facilitate additional on-street dining. It’s understood this has hasn’t yet got the backing of taxi drivers who have concerns about access to and from the Bridge Street rank but alternative taxi space may be offered at another location in the Westend to assuage those fears.

The Council has signalled its intention to close Dominick Street Upper and William Street West from Small Crane to Munster Avenue, at night only, between 6pm and 11pm, from Monday June 7 until Thursday September 30.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and for full details of the proposals for the city centre and Salthill, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council chief backs Salthill tidal pools proposal

Stephen Corrigan

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Image Courtesy of Superfly Ireland

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Council is to consider including a specific objective to restore the tidal pools in Salthill in the new City Development Plan – with around one-fifth of the submissions made in a public consultation backing this ‘no-brainer’ proposal.

In a report to councillors on submissions received, Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said consideration of the proposal would be based on technical feasibility, funding, staff resources, climate change considerations and environmental factors.

“A large number of submissions were received requesting the restoration of the tidal pools in Salthill as a year-round public amenity and recreation facility accessible to all. The restoration of this facility would be a huge asset to the city and complement the existing facilities that are available at Salthill,” Mr McGrath states in the document seen by the Galway City Tribune.

Support for the reviving of the Ladies’ Beach facility grew legs after an online petition attracted over 4,500 signatures.

Up to 100 of the 518 submissions made to the Council’s pre-draft consultation supported reopening the pools that have been out of action since the late 1970s.

(Photo: How the pools might look. Image Courtesy of Superfly Ireland)
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

GMIT in €9m bid for Galwegians’ Glenina grounds

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – GMIT has put in an offer – rumoured to be in the region of €9million – for the purchase of Galwegians RFC’s grounds at Glenina, the Galway City Tribune understands.

The offer will be presented for a vote at a Special General Meeting of club members set to take place on May 27.

The land at Crowley Park, located just two minutes’ walk from GMIT, had been earmarked for housing by property developer Neil Armstrong, and is zoned residential. However, this deal fell through.

A GMIT spokesperson told the Galway City Tribune they were “not yet in a position to comment”, while a spokesperson for Galwegians declined to comment.

It is understood that staff at GMIT were informed by the institution’s Vice President of Finance at a meeting this week that the ‘deal was done’ and that they awaited the rugby club’s signing off at its members’ meeting later in the month.

The sale would clear the way for the club to proceed with plans to develop a 22-acre site at Boleynasruhaun, Oranswell, where it is expected to make a second planning application after the County Council raised concerns over the scale of the development proposed initially.
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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