NUIG set to commission Nuns Island master plan

One of the NUIG buildings at Nuns Island

NUI Galway will commission a master plan for the Nuns Island area. The university has budgeted €250,000 for a ‘master plan and design project’ for its buildings at Nuns Island in the city centre.

Sanction for the master plan was approved at a Governing Body meeting in February, minutes of which were released to this newspaper under Freedom of Information (FOI).

NUIG’s Education Building is located at Nuns Island, beside the Bish secondary school and at the entrance to the Poor Clare’s convent. It also owns the adjacent building.

Meanwhile, the Governing Body has also approved expenditure of €600,000 on NUIG’s Quadrangle Building.

This included a budget of €500,000 for the first phase of the development of the eastern wing of the Quad; and some €100,000 for the preparation of a master plan.

Other contracts approved at the Governing Body meeting earlier this year included: €600,000 for telephony upgrade service; €275,000 for firewall replacement service; and some €130,000 for “media monitoring services” over three years approximately.

In an interview with Cois Coiribe, the university’s magazine for alumni and friends, President James Browne, earlier this year, said he wants NUIG’s famous Quadrangle building to become a visitor attraction for tourists.

Modelled on Christ Church at University of Oxford, the Quad was built in a Tudor Gothic style and was opened in 1849. The historic building is the most recognisable on the city campus.

Dr Browne revealed the Buildings Office at the university is actively exploring the possibility of using the Quad as a visitor centre, after it is vacated when other staff move to new buildings.

“The university’s historic Quadrangle is unique in the West of Ireland. Why couldn’t we make something out of that and link it with the (Wild) Atlantic Way and Capital of Culture? This Quadrangle can be a place that can welcome distinguished visitors and it could become a significant visitor attraction for visitors to the West of Ireland.

“Let’s face it, tourists to the West of Ireland aren’t coming for the weather. They are largely cultural tourists. They are interested in culture, scenery, history. This (Quad) could be a part of that . . . It speaks to an agenda of the university and the city and the region all working together to make it a really attractive place. We’re going to work on getting that idea articulated properly over the coming months and bring it to the Governing Body,” he added.