Building a new multi-storey car park is a central feature of the new vision for a modern cultural infrastructure to replace Black Box Theatre.
Galway City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath has confirmed for the first time that a car park over several levels will form part of proposals to overhaul the Dyke Road.
The existing Council car park is a cash-cow, with around 540 spaces. The new proposed multi-storey parking facility is likely to have the same, or possibly more spaces.
Local authority planners are in the middle of putting together a brief in relation to the Council-owned Black Box site, which encompasses the Dyke Road car park.
The project will soon go to tender and expressions of interest sought.
“The development will replace all existing car parking and do the other things we want to do on the site. It will involve a multi-storey car park as part of it. That will be part of the brief,” said Mr McGrath.
The City Council has committed to again speaking with local arts and cultural groups before finalising the brief.
This is to ensure the new infrastructure will met the needs of the city’s artistic community.
However, in broad terms the Council has agreed to knock the Black Box and replace it with modern, fit-for-purpose performance spaces. The new Black Box will also include a visual art space or gallery, and perhaps a dance studio.
The ongoing discussions with community groups will inform the final proposals, said Mr McGrath.
“We said to cultural groups we will go back and talk to them and see what they want. I don’t want to prejudge what will be in it. We want to see what their needs are rather than tell them what their needs are.
“I’d be confident we can deliver. It’s what I’m describing as an opportunity site, and there’s been an awful lot of interest, and I’d be confident that we can bring some positive proposal on it.”
Replacing Black Box is not directly part of the Galway’s City of Culture designation but it is included in a list of the cultural infrastructure the Council is hoping to deliver for 2020.
The Council has been awarded a €3.5 million grant under the designated urban grants scheme to deliver the project. In next Monday’s City Council Budget, City Councillors will be asked to rubberstamp loan repayments and borrowings to progress the plans.
Mr McGrath said: “That’s a creative, cultural piece of infrastructure. It’s likely there will be an exception allowed for us to borrow for that development, because it’s likely to involve private sector as well.”
Exploring the merits of moving into the west
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 www.connachttribune.ie
Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing
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 www.connachttribune.ie
Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat
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 www.connachttribune.ie
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 www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.