A new project has been launched which aims to transform small plots of land along the Eglinton Canal into a ‘permaculture trail’ – bringing art, culture, preservation and food into the public realm.
The project, which has been initiated Third Space Galway in conjunction with the Galway Tidy Towns, aims to create experimental sites where alternative means and methods of growing food can be used to engage the public in conversation about the pitfalls of chemically orientated farming.
According to Project Manager, Martina Finn, the idea for the trail emerged from looking at actions that can be taken locally to combat climate change – in particular, examining the possibility of growing food for local consumption.
“It’s one of the things that we can, as a community, on an everyday level do something about; we can grow food locally for ourselves rather than for the export market.
“We wanted to bring that conversation alive and look at how we can use the creative arts platform to actually engage the city in a conversation around it so we approached the City Council initially, looking for a piece of land to start a food-growing project for educational awareness,” explains Martina.
The group were seeking something in the city centre so that the initiative would be visible to a large number of people.
Galway City Council gave them an experimental site at Westside Amenity Park which has been transformed into an edible food forest.
Following on from its success, they approached Galway Tidy Towns with their plans – with a specific focus on ensuring that what is planted will feed the soil, as well as people.
“Tidy Towns were trying to meet certain criteria because they have climate change as part of their programme and they have a sustainability aspect and a land use aspect.
“We approached Cllr Niall McNelis who is heading up the Tidy Towns and asked him if he was willing to engage in food awareness and food growing – a sustainable living programme as part of this year’s project.
“Niall was delighted and embraced the possibilities – he was very open to it and we got Local Agenda 21 funding for it and GRETB funding for our tutors, our agro-ecologist and food forest advisors,” says Martina.
She says that there is ongoing co-operation with Galway Volunteer Centre and that they hope to get as many local people as possible involved.
“Niall identified these sites that are vacant and derelict along the canal – these set-down areas are a little bit of a neglected part of the city.
“People walk though it but don’t necessarily appreciate being there and we thought it would be great to plant it up with predominantly edibles with the key element within permaculture being that you are looking at yourself as part of an ecosystem,” says Martina.
As a result of the project, Martina says that it will be the first time there will be apple trees in the city centre where children can go along and pick their own apples.
“There are seven layers – the upper canopies which are the larger fruit trees or even nut trees like sweet chestnut. The next canopy is the apple trees and then underneath that, you have shrubs and bushes so you’d have your blackcurrants, raspberries and your gooseberries and then underneath that, you have what they call climbers.
“Then you have the root and ground cover so there are many layers that can work co-operatively together.”
They will also plant kale and chard to demonstrate the use of winter greens and they have planted a herb garden next to An Tobar Nua on Dominick Street.
The group have worked with Irish Seed Savers in Clare to source native Irish seeds and apple trees – ensuring that they grow harmoniously in the local environment.
Underlining all of their work is the regenerative process that plants can have on the ecosystem – eliminating the use of chemicals.
“It’s not just for yourself but you feed the soil with certain plants, you feed the bees, you feed the birds and you feed the ecosystem so it is self-sustaining.
“We are hoping to feed into the National Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 and we are not just identifying edible food spaces for ourselves but also edible food spaces for our wildlife and our bees.
“Some say that there are only 60 harvests left, that the soil has been so depleted after millions of years – that the way we have been farming it has been so do depleting and we need to make major changes,” says Martina.
She believes that it is an opportunity to make the canal a more attractive part of the city – providing an education in local food production and also a social space for the people of Galway.
“This is trying to create another beautiful green space and with the water, what is called a blue space. They are like nature spaces for the city to try and re-animate the canal as a place to go for a quiet nature walk.
“I think the more people that are in a space socially, the less neglect and abuse it gets because people have more of a connection with it and they want to keep it nice and keep it clean – people will pick up the litter rather than throw it,” says Martina.
Titans return to the national league for coming season
TITANS BC is returning to the national league for the upcoming 2020/21 season, one of four new teams that will compete in the Men’s Division 1 this year.
The city side will play in the Northern Conference of the league alongside fellow new sides, Drogheda Wolves and Malahide, along with Ulster University from Belfast; LYIT from Donegal; Sligo All-Stars; and Dublin Lions and Tolka Rovers from Dublin.
That looks to be the easier of the two conferences: Dublin Lions were relegated from the Super League at the end of last season, LYIT finished 5th in Division 1, Sligo finished 8th, Ulster University finished 9th, and Tolka Rovers finished 10th in a 12-team league competition that ran as a single league, rather than split into two conferences.
With four new teams for the coming season – Team Kerry are the 4th new side – Division 1 is returning to a split conference format, and all the heavy-hitters would appear to be in the Southern Conference.
Team Kerry will be joined by fellow Killarney side, St Paul’s, which finished second in the league last season, as well as Cork’s Fr Mathews and IT Carlow, who finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
Limerick Celtics and Limerick Eagles, who finished 6th and 7th, are also in the Southern Conference, as well as last season’s bottom two, WIT Waterford and Portlaoise Panthers.
Titans took a one-year hiatus from the league last season, having endured a torrid 2018/19 campaign when it finished with the worst record in the league, winning just two of its 23 league games to finish bottom of the Northern Conference.
Maree and Moycullen will once again represent Galway in the Men’s Super League, which is also being split into a two-conference format, with six teams in each conference. However, while Titans will be looking north for their main opposition, Maree and Moycullen will be looking in the opposite direction as both have been placed in the South Conference.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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Group hurling ties to be restricted to supporters of participating teams
NO neutrals will be allowed to attend the opening round of the revamped Galway senior hurling championship which is scheduled to start in little more than a fortnight’s time.
A gathering of 500 – likely to also include the rival players and mentors – will be restricted to each group game, with the participating clubs set to be allocated around 200 tickets each for sale/distribution ahead of the fixture.
A mechanism has still to be sorted for this process, but matches will be restricted to Galway’s three county grounds: Pearse Stadium, Kenny Park, Athenry and Duggan Park, Ballinasloe, along with Loughrea. Killimor was the fifth venue in consideration for hosting senior games, but redevelopment work at the ground has ruled out that prospect.
The full round of 12 group ties will go ahead on the weekend ending July 26, but there will be no double headers. Instead, games at the same venues will be staged four hours apart to allow sanitisation of the various grounds.
Only people with tickets will gain entry to the games and there will be no cash taken at the turnstiles.
Street fight thugs from viral video outside Garda HQ avoid jail
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two men and a woman who were involved in a ‘staged’ fistfight outside the new Garda HQ in Renmore were warned they will serve prison sentences if they don’t stay off social media for two years.
Suspended sentences were imposed on all three over the incident which was recorded on mobile phone and footage went viral on social media.
The altercation between John Maughan (27), formerly of Rinville Park, Oranmore, who now lives in Dublin, and Patrick Maughan (31), of 122 Laurel Park, Newcastle, was filmed on Patrick Maughan’s phone by his wife, Ellen Maughan (31), who is John Maughan’s sister.
The footage was uploaded that evening to YouTube, where it gained a lot of traction.
Galway District Court heard this week the trio were sitting in their cars when Gardaí arrived at the scene within a matter of minutes.
They were subsequently charged with affray at Dublin Road, Murrough, Renmore, on November 2, 2018, in that all three used or threatened to use violence towards each other, thereby putting other people present in fear for their own safety and the safety of others.
Both men were also charged with breaching the peace.
Garda Pat Casey told the sentence hearing the incident occurred at 2.30pm on the main road between GMIT and the Garda HQ.
He said the men’s cars met, whether by accident or design, at that location where they got out and had a fist fight in the middle of the road.
Judge Mary Fahy asked if the location chosen for the fight, right outside the new Garda HQ, was deliberate.
Garda Casey said the men claimed they met by accident, “but that was where they met”, he added.
“The inference is they did it deliberately outside the Station to make it even better on social media. They are an absolute disgrace to do that in public and to do it in front of their children,” Judge Fahy said.
This is a shortened preview version of this court report. To read the article in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.