Long-awaited works to Eyre Square’s Browne Doorway could begin before the end of the year – with its much-criticised Perspex surround to be removed in the short term.
In the City Council’s annual budget for 2017, an allowance of €170,000 was made for the protection of a number of historical structures around the city – including the iconic doorway.
Those hoping that there would have been an improvement in optics before the summer have been disappointed – with no restoration works taking place to date.
However, news that its deteriorating surround will soon be removed from the famed landmark has been welcomed.
Independent Galway City Councillor, Terry O’Flaherty, said that the removal of this “ugly” Perspex will improve the appearance of one of Galway’s most prominent historical structures.
“I have been assured that the Perspex will be removed shortly and the doorway will be secured until such time that works will commence on this iconic doorway.
“The Perspex around it is a disgrace – it’s meaningless the way it is and something needs to be done,” she said.
The semi-transparent cage that served as protection for the ailing structure has stood around the doorway since the redevelopment of Eyre Square in the mid-2000s.
Calls over the years to have it restored as a focal point in Kennedy Park have fallen by the wayside as City Hall lacked the necessary funds.
The doorway has been dubbed an “eye sore” in recent years and suggestions for its future have included moving it to Galway City Museum.
Cllr O’Flaherty believes that the time had come to make a decision on the future of the doorway – before it falls into total disrepair.
“A decision needs to be made on it – whether it will be left there or moved,” she exclaimed. “I would be in favour of keeping it where it is.”
A report released last September outlined a necessary spend of €1.2 million to protect the Browne Doorway, Menlo, Terryland and Merlin Park Castles – all structures owned by the Council.
In the absence of this level of funding, the Council has committed to carrying out remedial works for which tenders will be issued this summer.
The specialist works on the Browne Doorway will “take place at a time when activity in the area surrounding the doorway is at a minimum” and when “there is a minimum disturbance to public enjoyment of the square”.
Cllr O’Flaherty reiterated previous calls to create a garden similar to the one in Chicgo that surrounds the Maurice Harron statue, ‘Gráinne’ – gifted by the people of Galway to its sister city in 2007.
“It is an iconic landmark and I wouldn’t like to see it shifted – we should keep it maintained and put railings and a nice garden around it – and have a plaque that explains the history of it.
“It is in a great location and if you go back on old photographs, you can see that before the square was renovated, it was surrounded by high black railings,” she said.
The Browne Doorway has stood at the top of Eyre Square since 1904 but dates back to 1627 as the entrance to the Browne ‘mansion’ in Abbeygate Street.
Cllr O’Flaherty believes that the historical value of the doorway is being lost when it could be a source of pride for the city.
“I’m not proud of it at all the way it’s left there,” she exclaimed.
No end in sight for work on junction near Galway Clinic
From the Galway City Tribune – The City Council has declined to set a date for the completion of the Martin roundabout replacement near Galway Clinic – which was due to have opened more than a month ago.
In a statement, the Council would only confirm that the project was over 50 per cent completed.
“The project is now progressing to the surface type works including the installation of roadside kerbs, provision of footpaths and cycle lanes and road surfacing. These elements of the works will progress quite rapidly over the next month and there will be more of an appreciation for the progress on this project and the final layout will start to become apparent,” said a spokesperson.
“Ducting and preparatory works for the traffic signal installation is in progress and installation of the lights themselves will commence once the majority of surface works are complete. The final phase of the works will consist of significant landscaping of the junction.”
Work began on the junction in February, with an expected six-month schedule.
“There have been some delays to the programme as a result of industry-wide, supply-chain issues related to the war in Ukraine. There has also been further delays due to rock being encountered on site.
Rock was expected, however the hardness of the rock has been greater than anticipated and as such, has been slower to break and excavate on site,” according to the Council.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article and to support our journalism, see the October 7 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Galway Docklands Festival set to make a big splash in the city!
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The city’s link to the sea is to be celebrated later this month with the staging of the inaugural Galway Docklands Festival featuring a range of culinary treats, sea tours, demonstrations and talks.
Running from the weekend of Friday, October 21 to Sunday, October 23, the event has the aim of celebrating the city’s bond with the sea and the local waterways network.
Organised by the Galway Hooker Sailing Club, Galway Bay Boat Tours and Galway Bay Seafoods, the spectacle has a packed schedule of events – many of them free – through each of its three days.
The ‘pay events’ – ranging from €5 to €15 – include a coffee morning, beer and seafood sampling as well as an historical boat tour of the Claddagh and Galway Bay (€15).
Boatbuilder Cóilín Ó hIarnáin will be giving free demonstrations of his skills on each of the three days; Ciaran Oliver will give a walking tour of the seafront (€10); while there will also be a free Galway Hooker rigging demonstration.
For the more adventurous, there are supervised powerboard ‘taster spins’ (€10) while for ‘the foodies’ the Galway Bay Seafoods fish’n’chips, the Hooker beer and seafood sampling, as well as the family cooking demonstrations – all priced at €10 each – look set to be big attractions.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the October 7 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Mayor told to stay away from homecoming over funding snub
From the Galway City Tribune – The Mayor of Galway was asked to stay away from homecoming celebrations for extreme adventurer Damian Browne, the Galway City Tribune understands.
Mayor Clodagh Higgins was told that she was not to attend the event at the Docks on Tuesday as there had been disappointment in the ‘Project Empower’ camp that funding had not been made available from Galway City Council.
The Galway City Tribune has learned that Project Empower, which is led by Voluntary Manager MacDara Hosty, applied for €30,000 in funding from the local authority’s Marketing Fund in September 2021, but was deemed ineligible.
A spokesperson for Galway City Council confirmed this week that Project Empower did not meet the criteria set down by the fund which seeks to support the holding of major events and festivals in the city.
In documents seen by this newspaper, Project Empower proposed that Galway City Council be the title partner at a cost of €30,000 plus VAT.
The Tribune understands that the Council’s refusal to provide this funding was at the root of the Mayor’s snub on Tuesday, which drew attention online as members of the public questioned her absence.
When contacted, the Mayor refused to be drawn on questions relating to the Marketing Fund, but said it was her intention to offer a Civic Reception to Damian Browne at the nearest opportunity.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story and extensive coverage of Damian Browne’s homecoming, see the October 7 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.